With the full version on the album featuring a major contribution from the Elysian Quartet and running to just over 17 minutes, The Bell That Never Rang, the title track of Lau’s new album, has been stripped back for a radio edit to the song segment at it’s heart. A dramatic video has now been created to add visual impact and you can see that exclusively here. It gives a first taste of the album to come, which find Lau taking their art to a whole new level and a full album review will follow imminently.
The original suite of The Bell That Never Rang was commissioned for Celtic Connections in the lead up to Glasgow staging the Commonwealth Games. The title refers to the city’s Coat Of Arms, which wraps up religious symbolism and the legends of St. Mungo with folklore and includes, the bell that never rang, the tree that never grew, the fish that never swam and the bird that never flew.
Kris’ lyrics relate in particular to the fish, but are also much more personal and inspired by the sudden, unexpected death of a close friend. The coda reminds us of that we are all mortal with the lines, “Nobody knows when you’ll go, And no one thinks to tell you.”
The video was created by their good friend and photographer David Liddell, collaborating with Ruth Paxton and Caroline Bridges, featuring the actor Martin Docherty. I managed to grab a few minutes of David’s time to discuss the commission and the dramatic film that you will see.
David filled me in on his professional background and his developing relationship with Lau telling me, “My main profession is as a Director Of Photography (lighting and framing) I shoot drama, commercials, music promos, documentaries and visual arts films. I also edit, grade and take photographs but usually just on personal projects.
I met Lau through Ruth Paxton and over the years I’ve taken some photographs, made little videos of live gigs and a couple of documentaries for them about their work and process. I’m a huge, huge fan and I have never heard anything like their sound before. Kris has the most beautiful voice and the complexity and intensity of their music is astounding. It’s such a cinematic sound anyway as it constantly evokes images in your mind.”
Explaining how the commission came about he reveals how that cinematic feel fed into the film revealing, “The music inspired the film. It’s an epic piece of music and I wanted to take it seriously and do it justice. The idea and structure came after listening to it over and over again one weekend. I knew that the verses would show resistance and the chorus would be about release and letting go. It’s a simple premise but it gave us the opportunity to let the images reflect on the music.”
Having got the basic ideas he explains how the creative team came together and tells me, “I got in touch with Martin Docherty (the actor) through his agent and we met and I knew he’d be fantastic at evoking these feelings. Ruth Paxton is an incredibly talented writer and director that I work with a lot. She is amazing at coaxing very sensitive and raw performances out of actors. Caroline Bridges is a very talented Director Of Photography in her own right, but also a fantastically beautiful Choreographer, dancer and dance theatre expert.
“I wanted this to be as good as it possibly could and live up to the stirring intense emotional music that inspired it. And I wanted to focus my energy during the shoot on the images to tell the story. The three of us decided very early on to collaborate on this project as three co-directors with myself focusing on the images, Ruth focusing on emotional performance and Caroline focusing on movement and dance to create a unique physical portrait.”
He’s generous in concluding, “Needless to say, they have both elevated the idea I had beyond what I could have ever hoped for.”
Released 4th May via Reveal Records
Lau will tour the new album from May with support from Siobhan Wilson
The Bell That Never Rang Tour
14 – Glasgow, St Andrews in the Square
15 – Perth, Concert Hall
16 – Liverpool, Epstein Theatre
17 – Manchester, Dancehouse Theatre
19 – Leeds, Howard Assembly Room
20 – Brighton, Komedia
21 – London, Union Chapel
23 – Truro, Hall For Cornwall
24 – Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre
26 – Lerwick, Mareel
27 – Aberdeen, Music Hall
28 – Stirling, Tolbooth
You can order the album now, on deluxe CD with art print, double vinyl and download from the Reveal Records store here.
Or the Lau store here http://laumusic.bigcartel.com/
Main Image Photo credit: Genevieve Stevenson