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Ought's New Video Captures The Beauty And Boredom Of The Everyday

The everyday is beautiful. The everyday is boring. In "Beautiful Blue Sky," from last year'sSun Coming Down, Ought braids the roots of daily pleasantries and terror into eight minutes of contemplative and gliding post-punk. In a video, movement artist holds a mirror to the hallways, bedrooms and parks where our plainest, loneliest experiences occur. Shot with long cuts that invade those spaces, his motion contains graceful quietude and frustration.

Director Bobby McHugh tells NPR that he wanted the video for Ought's song to evoke Tarkovsky's The Mirror and give Tim Darcy's lyrics a surreal quality.

Clarity, balance and happiness can be the direct result of movement and breath, while our obsession with development, consumerism and frustration with the banalities of our everyday experience can cause feelings of nihilism and depression that at their most extreme can render us immobile and constrained. In this video, I tried to weave together two dreamy, surreal storylines that reflect these two competing states of being.

Matt Drews is the subject of this piece. He has that perfect mix of seriousness and sensitivity that can easily move back and forth between agitated immobility and tender acceptance. We shot Matt in a series of locations common to all of our experience, creating dreamy portraits that mimic the feeling of the lyrics.

We wanted the camera work to feel like Tarkovsky's The Mirror, which employs long loose shots that work like a stream of consciousness, similar to Tim's lyrics in the song. And in the edit, we wanted to present a structure that felt like a surreal dream that paired with my interpretation of the ideas Ought presents in the song.

Light and flowers are two recurring visual elements. You'll notice the healthiest flowers occurring in scenes with natural light, along with breadth and movement. And the least healthy exist in lighting conditions similar to the devices (phones, laptops, TVs) that surround us. I really love the way the light in the bed works, since so many of us go to bed and wake up next to our phones and tablets. Tim's streaming list of concerns in this scene kind of mimic the internet news ticker. Or a Facebook feed, or whatever.

Sun Coming Down is out now on Constellation. Ought goes on tour with D.C. punk band Priests starting May 4.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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