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Video Premiere: Primitive Motion – ‘Portrait IV’, an experimental vision of urban & natural landscapes

Text by CLOT Magazine

Portrait IV, Primitive Motion(2022). Video still

Primitive Motion, the collaborative project of Brisbane artists Sandra Selig and Leighton Craig, are presenting the video for the track Portrait IV from their forthcoming album.

Over the past decade and a half, Primitive Motion has gently unlocked a uniquely divergent soundworld that haunts the fringes of folk, krautrock, lof-fi pop and foggy electronics. Their sound worlds are effortlessly deep and rich, and even when greatly reductive, the pair manage to create a sense of harmonic energy that is enveloping and deeply affective. Inhabiting the space between improvisation and song, they traverse electronic and acoustic soundscapes, lighting out for the borderlands of long-form exploration, echo-saturated fuzzy motorik groove.

Portrait of an Atmosphere, their new album, will be released on the A Guide To Saints imprint of Lawrence English‘s ROOM40 label. As its title suggests, it is one of their most free-floating editions. Each piece casts out a wide net, capturing their intimate sound interplays, song forms and melodic frameworks in a shifting palette of field recordings, radio materials, spatial elements and free-roaming improvisations.

At times almost drifting into methodologies of musique concrete, this edition expands their musical languages well beyond any previous works, offering an ever more porous and generous reading of their evolving musical project.

The video, produced by Primitive Motion themselves, is an experimental vision of urban and natural landscapes charged with emotional intensity and melancholy through the eyes that stare behind the lens.

Selig shares that they made the video for Primitive Motion’s Portrait IV with clips from our personal collections. They include footage shot from a phone, through a window on a train journey in Japan and various unoccupied benches in parks and train stations around Brisbane and Ferny Hills, where my studio is and where Primitive Motion sessions and recordings take place.

While we briefly appear in separate clips in front of the same window, and there are distant or lone figures in open landscapes or traversing through them, the video feels distinctly but gently depopulated. Rather the scenes are loaded with the slow, dissolving atmosphere surrounding the figures or environments, which cling to them like fog or accompany them in their anonymous terrain, as if in shadow or cloud.
As the piano slowly but steadily chimes its way along in the audio track as if a train were travelling underwater on a soft river bed, the video images flow above it in a partially remembered dream, at once achingly distant and deeply familiar.

(Media courtesy of the artists)
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