PHOTO COURTESY OF DUSTIN CONDREN.
Dave Hartley is best known as the bassist of the War on Drugs and for his many musical collaborations (with the likes of Sharon Van Etten and Torres), but under the name Nightlands, he creates landscapes, sonic and visual, that feel distinctly his own. His new music video for "Lost Moon," from his forthcoming album I Can Feel The Night Around Me (out May 5 via Western Vinyl) is a medley of vintage digital visuals. At the outset, you find yourself hovering near a purple waterfall, before suddenly being amongst the stars, flying through the Milky Way. Each scene only lasts a few seconds, which seamlessly transports you through an assortment of landscapes, both realistic and fantastical.
The inspiration for the video—which we're pleased to premiere below—began with a fascination of Hartley's: "Simpsonwave" YouTube videos, which are scenes from episodes of The Simpsons paired with vaporwave tracks. "The result is surprisingly moving and calming," says Hartley. "Like some of the best video game music from the '80s and '90s—images that I'd otherwise describe as quite mundane—can evoke deep emotional responses if paired with the right type of music." Hartley wanted to employ this same tactic when creating the video for "Lost Moon," and reached out to the creator of the Simpsonwave videos, Lucien Hughes, for assistance.
Watching "Lost Moon" is an experience similar to playing a video game, but the feeling of apprehension that's attached to accomplishing a task is nonexistent thanks to the music. The pairing of a slow, soothing melody with retro animation conveys a sense of tranquility and wistfulness. "I wanted to see if [Hughes] could take basically sterile images and make them feel magical," recalls Hartley. "He succeeded, in my opinion."
The cyberpunk aesthetic of "Lost Moon" is also partly informed by Hartley's yearning for a time when the digital realm was less pervasive. "Primitive CGI reminds me of a time when I had a much simpler relationship with technology," he says. "Like most people, I am both dependent on and extremely resentful of my digital existence." Hartley aims to express that same longing in his music. "Nostalgia has always been the currency I'm most interested in using musically," says Hartley. "It's a really complex thing, hard to pinpoint... it's almost a type of pain that one seeks out."
I CAN FEEL THE NIGHT AROUND ME (WESTERN VINYL) IS OUT MAY 5, 2017. FOR MORE ON DAVE HARTLEY'S MUSIC AS NIGHTLANDS, VISIT THIS FACEBOOK.