Star Rover’s glitchy “Byron Bay” video explores presence, being, and ‘almost’ through dramatic sonic architecture and a day at the beach.
People generally like talking in absolutes because they make sense to us: I am here, they are in the water, and so forth; definitive statements assert place and establish structure in a world that lacks stability and permanence. The statement “I am here” speaks to a moment that’s already gone by the time one finishes its utterance. Life is transient; a vast series of almosts. Star Rover’s glitchy “Byron Bay” video explores presence, being, and ‘almost’ through dramatic sonic architecture and a day at the beach.
So close the waves almost
touching her toes, she knows
So far the waves almost
touching her toes, she knows
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “Byron Bay,” the opener off Star Rover’s recently-released debut album I May Be Lost But I’m Laughing (October 24, 2018 via 11A Records). The Brooklyn-based duo of Will Graefe (Okkervil River, Landlady) and Jeremy Gustin (Rubblebucket, Albert Hammond Jr.), Star Rover is not your average band. Their music is ephemeral and immediate, existential yet grounded; a sort of alternative electronic folk, it by and large defies any traditional concept of genre, imploring listeners on a sonic journey where acoustic and electric coalesce as much as they divide.
I May Be Lost But I’m Laughing is well worth the full listen – an album full of color and emotion, it resonates with the glow of an experiment gone right. It is everything and nothing, a boundaryless indulgence that goes where it wants to go with neither shame, nor expectation.
“Byron Bay” marks the beginning of this provocative, unusual journey. Propelled by driving guitar and bass counter-melodies and the single lyric, “So close the waves almost touching her toes, she knows,” the song splits its time between serenity and turmoil.
“In writing the music to ‘Byron Bay’, we took a simple melodic seed and tried to explore all of the spaces around it,” Star Rover explain of their songwriting process. “We often talked about how harmony and texture can evoke certain temperatures and climates. Later that year Jeremy was on tour in Australia and had a sweltering day off in Byron Bay,” they continue. “He noticed a solitary woman lying on the beach close to the water, almost daring the enormous waves breaking on the shore to reach her. But they never did. Our initial melody popped into his head and a lyric emerged: ‘So close, the waves almost touching her toes, she knows.”
A close friend of both band members, director Anna Roberts-Gevalt keyed in on the song’s inspiration and evanescent sonic states in crafting her video: “Jeremy shared the image with me, seeing a woman at the waters edge, and the words in the song… I got caught in that word almost, and the feeling of the beach being an almost feeling – looking out at this bigger thing, and not quite being a part of it – we are not ever sea creatures, after all, even if we plunge in for hours,” she tells Atwood Magazine. “In my growing studio practice, making videos, I keep coming back to this glitchy way of playing with green screen – I explore it for hours – a way of being between worlds maybe, a way of two times to happen on top of each other, a layering — I’ve been really inspired by the work and ideas of (the American artist) Joan Jonas, to dig into these experiments. So some of this video is from this summer, filming layers on the beach. And some of it was filmed this fall, sitting on my bedroom floor, and pretending to see the sea ahead of me. Some sort of feeling of almost?“
The “Byron Bay” video adds layers of meaning and appreciation to an already powerful listening experience, bringing us to that beach, and to that ocean – or a representation thereof. We feel that in-between-ness through glitchy shots that capture the transcendental nature of our existence – it’s as if we are shadows of ourselves at times.
Star Rover agree: “We really enjoyed the digital-deconstructionist aesthetic of some of [Roberts-Gevalt’s] video work and thought juxtaposing that with the natural setting of the ocean would be intriguing. Anna chose the shoot location and completed all of the filming and editing independently, and we loved what she came up with.”
Ultimately, “Byron Bay” is the perfect ice breaker not only for thinking about ‘almost,’ but also for getting into Star Rover and their unique artistry. Stream the new music video exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and dive deeper into Star Rover’s debut album I May Be Lost But I’m Laughing, out now!
Stream: “Byron Bay” – Star Rover
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📸 © Shervin Lainez dir. Anna Roberts-Gevalt