Chicago folk singer Angel Olsen, whose powerful voice belies her delicate looks, released one of the finest albums of 2012 in the spare and soulful Half Way Home, which was recently re-pressed by Bathetic Records.
Now she shares two new videos. "Tiniest Seed" appears on the new record, while "Sweet Dreams" made its debut last week. Olsen worked on the films with Randy Sterling Hunter, Ashley Connor, and Zia Anger.
The first is in black and white, the second in color—all were filmed in 16mm. For my money, Olsen's music was made for a monochromatic visual interpretation.
This excerpt from the press notes explains the production process.
A transatlantic collaboration between four friends. Two songs were...recorded in Chicago and then sent to Vienna. There they were translated into a film score. The score was mailed back across the Atlantic and then interpreted using a hand-wound 16mm camera... The final version is the documentation of an epistolary-exchange lasting nearly a year...an attempt to sync the unsyncable and our experiment at reconciling the space between us.
This exchange on the "Tiniest Seed" Vimeo page provides additional insight.
Al Benoit: "This very much reminds me of Bergman's Persona. Am I crazy for thinking that?" Hunter: "I don't think you're crazy for thinking that. Persona wasn't a conscious reference when we were making the film, but it's harder to speak for the subconscious."
If I were a DJ, I'd be tempted to segue from Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" to Olsen's "Sweet Dreams"—she sounds like the Texas troubadour's spiritual descendent.