PJ Harvey is due to release her new single ‘The Glorious Land’ on 18th April. The single is taken from her groundbreaking new album, Let England Shake. The video for the track was unveiled this week. Seamus Murphy, the award winning photographer/videographer behind the video has been on a revelatory journey of England as a result of this album and recently spoke about the inspiration behind the video:
As with the other films, I wanted to avoid too literal an interpretation of Polly’s lyrics, but to try to remain true to the spirit and feel of the track. ‘The Glorious Land’ was the third film we edited and completed in Berlin in the cycle of the 12 films, the first was ‘The Words That Maketh Murder’ and the second was ‘The Last Living Rose’. Both editor, Sebastian, and I loved this track, and for me the bugle blast and where it sits is truly a glorious thing. It has the courage to be discordant, out of place and yet perfect on its own terms, surely the quality of great Art? At the first London show at the Troxy last week, when the bugle came in as they played ‘The Glorious Land’ it was like experiencing the music floating high above the band and audience and hovering over all of us like a massive Jackson Pollack. And it swung.
I had noticed interesting things coming through the trees when driving around Dorset in October. Autumn colours, the sunlight streaming through the trees, the effect of movement during driving, how things changed if I speeded up or slowed down. How the angle at which the camera was held changed things so I started experimenting with shooting and driving. Some of this was shot through the car sunroof straight up into the sky, some deliberately overexposed and out of focus, to increase the abstraction. I particularly liked the white, washed-out look of the sky and how at times there are stretches of pure white. I originally had ‘All And Everyone’ in my head for these images, but knew visually it could work elsewhere. But when we started editing ‘The Glorious Land’ it became obvious it was made for it.
The videos for the tracks from Let England Shake are so connected to the music that you stare gawp-eyed at the complete immersion taking place between music and lens. The footage is also a top class documentary of England from a slight twist in angle that will have you looking at things in a very different light…
Photo Credit: Cat Stevens
Buy Album: Let England Shake