Like the accordion, mimes, handwritten letters…VHS has become something of a lost art, but, just like these other ghosts of creativity, when done well, it can still be incredibly effective. A new music video from upstate/NYC psych band Steady Sun utilizes the dated-looking to its advantage, evoking a timelessness reminiscent of spooky stories and forgotten loves, set against glimpses of HD reality that wakes you from the drunken dream of the past. The song, “Benthos,” emits the slow burn of reverb-coated guitar over a hushed and unhurried rhythm section. It’s strangely calming, strange only because you can’t put your finger on the presence of something “other” in the warbling tone. The visuals, directed by Luke Carr and Dylan Nowik and Elizabeth Ibarra, echo perfectly the dusty pace and queasy stomach produced by the track. The slowed-down, grainy look of VHS instills a ghostly resonance to its subjects. A man and a woman traverse the woods and fields of Palenville, NY (actually the site of a summer camp in the 50’s), themes of loss and longing laid on thick. Whitened face painting, melded mirror imagery and nighttime shots of a curiously lonely Virgin Mary make for a curiously lonely feeling in the pit of that stomach of yours. Brief moments of HD clarity make reality extra real, contrasted against the VHS, and it’s almost unsettling to be brought back. Definitely unique and purposeful and effective.
Check out another video Luke Carr here. It’s from Hunter Foldentree, and it’s just as beautifully melancholic as anything.