A Lonely Busker Performs to No One in Mountain Time's 'Empty Graves' Video
On the heels of releasing Music for Looking Animals, a new album under his solo project Mountain Time, Chris Simpson has released a wistful video for “Empty Graves.”
Directed by Gates Bradley, the black-and-white video features an accordion player busking in an empty town. Wearing a mask, she straps on her character shoes and plays the opening lines to the song: “I’m a sowing machine/Everything but what she needs/And God she knows just what I mean.” She travels through abandoned streets and fields, finally receiving a tip at the end.
“For me, the experience of making this video is an exercise in collaboration,” Simpson tells Rolling Stone. “I’ve known Gates [Bradley] a long time, and although our paths have had us in different cities and parts of the world over the years, I’ve always maintained an interest in working on something with him. Maybe collaboration isn’t even the right word — it’s something more akin to complete trust.”
“One of the most sacred things about songs to me has always been their ability to tell a completely different story to two different people, sometimes even in completely different eras of time,” he added. “[Gates] immediately had some ideas, and we talked of yielding to the creative limitations of having to use what (and who) were at hand during these strange times of quarantine, barren urban landscapes and clear, unpolluted skies. When everything just screeches to a halt like that and there’s this sudden clarity and almost a heaviness, like a blanket laying over everything, keeping it quiet and still. And then the signs of life carrying on across it — the birds slowly traversing the long shots.”
Simpson released Music for Looking Animals on June 26th; it was produced by his collaborator Doug Walseth. The album follows his previous solo project Zookeeper, in which he released a 2006 self-titled EP and two albums: 2007’s Becoming All Things and 2014’s Pink Chalk. Last year, Mineral celebrated its 25th anniversary with a two-song single accompanied by a book written by Mischa Pearlman.
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