Considering the circumstances, you’ve probably been spending a significant amount of time staring into thin air recently. You know, gazing into the eye of nothingness, peering into the abyss… that kind of thing. Global pandemics, as I’m sure you’re well aware, can bring on a peaceful form of existential dread, or, in many cases, existential introspection.
With their newly formed songwriting project, The M1, Russell Webster and Jay Bird are soundtracking this particular form of introspection with sprawling, minimalist arrangements. And to aid them in this ambitious score, they’ve enlisted a roster of independent filmmakers to visualise their new compositions.
The M1, the new songwriting project of Russell Webster and Jay Bird, combines sprawling slices of ambient electronica with stunning visuals from independent filmmakers.
One of the most common conclusions to be drawn from our time locked inside, it seems, is that a lot more effort needs to be invested in developing creative communities and networks. The arts sector has been hit harder than almost any other during this pandemic, so going forward, it’s important to form strong collaborative relationships with fellow artists. Stronger together, as they say.
Fittingly, community and collaboration are the concepts from which this new audio-visual project was built. Even their band name hooks back towards a theme of connectedness — the M1 is, after all, a motorway connecting two cities.
For their first release, Webster (Shining Bird, Tropical Strength) and Bird (Tropical Strength, Jack Ladder, The Walking Who) have asked five filmmakers to make accompanying short films for each of their five new tracks.
For the first of these five tracks — Touching — they have enlisted William Robertson. Having previously shot music videos for likes of Shining Bird and The Pinheads, this is another stunning offering from the filmmaker. Featuring a spellbinding performance from Waangenga Blanco (Bangarra Dance Company), this dark and cinematic short film will have you hypnotised from start to finish.
This is just the first in a series of new releases from the M1, and judging by what we’ve seen and heard so far, I think we can safely expect plenty more great stuff.
In the meantime, do yourself a favour and watch the new video above.