Bon Iver Gets Chilly, Gives Chills with the ‘Holocene’ Video

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Published August 18, 2011

One of the things we like best about Bon Iver’s music is how aggressively un-digital it sounds: the emotions evoked by, say, “The Wolves (Act I & II)” aren’t the sort that could ever be captured by a camera-phone picture or a text or even, we regret to say, a well-intentioned blog post. It’s part of what makes his new music video—for “Holocene,” one of the prettiest, most delicate songs from Bon Iver—so charming, too. The entire six-minute video can be summed up pretty simply: a little boy wakes up, puts on a sweater, and goes outside to play. But think about it: when was the last time you saw a kid just go outside to play?

Of course, there’s something to be said for what “outside” means in this video: it was shot in rural Iceland, which means the boy has one stunning panorama after another to explore. The most striking thing about the video—assuming you’ve already listened to the song 400 times since its release, as we have—is the cinematography; if this video is to be believed, the light in Iceland falls mainly on the infinite, mossy fields, and the rocks, and the glaciers, and the waterfall, and the unaccountably cute little boy in the soft sweater.

We’ll admit this isn’t at all what we’d pictured when we first heard “Holocene”—we’ve been listening to it on the beach this summer, mostly—but we have to hand it to director Nabil Elderkin (who’s worked with Kanye West and Frank Ocean, among others). He’s created a vision that hits every beautiful note the song does.

[Consequence of Sound via Vulture]