Music

Dried Spider translates his album, ‘Everything Is Touching’, through films

Coming from the release of his riveting album Everything Is Touching, Dried Spider dives deeper into his tracks, connecting them with films.

Throwing himself into the meaning behind his music, Chicago-based artist, Dried Spider, translates his album, Everything Is Touching through niche films.

It is one thing to create colour bursting, immersive tracks as Dried Spider has already done – but the singer/songwriter pushes the boundaries one step further, bringing to life his work through visual tones, themes and lyrics. Check out Dried Spider’s track-by-track film translation below:

Dried Spider

Movies. Today’s most direct link to the collective conscious. Seemed to me that referencing films might be a great way to give you a sense of what I’m singing about on each of the songs from my album, Everything Is Touching.

Cardio – ‘THE ABYSS’, Directed by James Cameron (1989)

Cardio is a song about the mystery of the heart. It was written after a friend told me that I needed to be more in my heart. I guess that writing it was an attempt to explore and understand just what is meant by being “in your heart”…. There is a lyric in the song; “bloods moving through the body in a circulating motion, where you and I first met was the middle of the ocean”, which I penned pretty early on in the writing process.

I didn’t really analyse it at the time, but it seemed to capture much of the feeling of the song. James Cameron’s, The Abyss, really runs with the metaphor of the deep recesses of the ocean being akin to the deep mysteries of the heart. It is such a beautiful film, which has that magical quality of being wondrous for all ages.

Everything Is Touching – ‘PATERSON’, Directed by Jim Jarmusch (2016)

This is a song about spiritual longing. It is about finding peace in the chaos. This is the job of the poets and scientists. Jim Jarmusch’s film, Paterson, is about the former of those two occupations. For me no other film for me pays tribute to the poet quite like this one.

It’s slow and delightful. This scene also fits really well because like the song lyrics it also is about walking around the streets at night with a level of openness.

Everybody Wins – ‘NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND’, Directed by Hayao Miyazaki (1984)

As you can probably summarise from the title, this song is about collective benefit. Miyazaki’s films are so refreshing to me in how they transcend the hero/villain good/evil narrative tropes, and invite us to consider more universal perspectives.

Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind as I understand it, was a huge hit in Japan when it came out, but I have observed it in my own circles that it seems overshadowed by Miyazaki’s later films; Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke. Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind is set in a post-apocalyptic future, where humans are trying to restore order in civilisation and the environment, by employing the same old methods of domination and warfare.

It’s a tale of healing, told through an epic scope, which never loses touch with its tender humanity. It invites us to look to a place where Everything Is Touching.

Your Real Name – ‘MOOD INDIGO’, Directed by Michel Gondry (2013)

OF COURSE there will be a Michel Gondry film on this list! This film exists within its own formula, which I would define as moving from opposing poles on a spectrum across the course of the film. It begins with bombastic joy and ends in devastating sadness.

What a clever trick to play on the viewer! Lucky for you the scene I’m referencing is one of the most joyful. The Biglemoi’ dance scene! Don’t be deterred by the fact that the youtube has no English subtitles; the joy transcends language. I chose this scene because the groove of Your Real Name feels very wobbly-legged to me.

Businessman Relaxes, Pt. 1 – ‘THE VISITOR’, Directed by Tom McCarthy (2007)

Businessman Relaxes, Pt. 1 is both highly sincere and very much tongue in cheek. It tells of a businessman who is generously trying to overcome his tendencies to centralise his problems on a ‘relaxing’ night with his partner. The scene I chose to accompany this song is from The Visitor. The film pays tribute to the rich gifts and lessons that multiculturalism offers the world, through the lens of a bored, white, older man, whose life is invigorated through a friendship that he has with an undocumented couple from Syria and Senegal. This scene in particular is so fitting to Businessman Relaxes, Pt. 1 that I couldn’t go beyond it. It’s cute and awkward.

Deepest Silence– ‘INTO THE WILD’, Directed by Sean Penn (2007)

I’m gonna go out on a limb here, and make an assumption that for all of you who have watched the film Into the Wild by Sean Penn, that reading this line: “happiness is only real when shared”, will provoke a visceral feeling of tragedy somewhere in your body……… Well? How was that? Any feels? Deepest Silence is a song about completely removing yourself from the world so that you can remember how much you love it. The song speaks of trekking alone in nature for five days, although my closest experience to this state of being is doing a ten-day Vipassana Meditation Course, which for nine days is carried out in complete silence. Into The Wild feels like a direct cinematic representation of this song. It’s almost like I watched it and then wrote a song about it (which I didn’t). If you haven’t seen the film, then please don’t watch this scene here as it’s a spoiler, but for those of you who have and wanna plunge back into the deep feels, then this is for you…..

Trees – ‘THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS’, by Stevie Wonder (1979)

Trees is a song of reverence for the unappreciated wisdom and intelligence of trees. I had a few ideas for which filmic moment would translate the energy of this song, but Stevie Wonder’s music video for The Secret Life Of Plants took the cake. The song is from Wonder’s album, Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants which is based on The Secret Life of Plants, a documentary and book which display how plants can be lie-detector tests, how the fern in your house reacts to your emotions, and how mustard seeds can communicate with distant galaxies. The music video is so unapologetic in its reverence for nature, and for that it’s truly refreshing to witness.

Dust Cloud – ‘RACHEL GETTING MARRIED’, Directed by Jonathan Demme (2008)

Dust Cloud takes place in an Australian future where climate change has turned the country to dust, and despite corporate political control a community of friends find hope through moments of communing in song and sharing meals. It would’ve been really easy to go with Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) for this one, but honestly, I haven’t seen it – and despite my Australian nationality I really don’t have much desire to. Instead, I chose a film which is a little less directly obvious.

It’s called Rachel Getting Married in which a young woman (Anne Hathaway) returns home from time spent in a psychiatric hospital to celebrate the wedding of her sister and musician groom. I chose this film as it captures the feeling of a community of musicians better than any film I can think of. The wedding takes place over numerous days and is littered with beautiful musical moments that convey such depth of connection The scene I’m sharing here is one of such moments…

The Cushion – ‘SAMSARA’, Directed by Pan Nalin (2001)

A song about doing the work on the meditation cushion to overcome inter-generational bad habits. Samsara is a film about a buddhist monk’s renunciation of a monastic life for the pursuit of an ordinary one. It’s a very literal exploration of the trappings of ‘samsara’; the cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound.

The scene I was looking for was one from the beginning of the film where the monk is collected from a cave where he’d been meditating continuously for 36 months. His body has become so frail and stiff that his hand joints have to be cracked by the people who collect him before his they can be used. Instead, I found a scene of a monk giving a lesson on the concept of samsara, where sketches of people making love turn to skeletons in lamplight.

Have a listen to Dried Spider’s Everything Is Touching with the hypnotic lenses of the these films: