This is Video of the Week from Wales Arts Review. We’ll be showcasing some of the best art in Wales with a new video shared every week. From music to drama and everything in between, videos will not be limited by medium. Today’s video is ‘Amen’ by Gruff Rhys.
We’re taking a step back from the bustle of Christmas, with a reflective music release for this week’s Video of the Week. ‘Amen’ by Gruff Rhys is the lead track from his forthcoming album, The Almond and The Seahorse. The album, due for release in February 2023, is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, featuring a cast including Rebel Wilson, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Trine Dyrholm. The film, released this month in US cinemas, explores the story of an archaeologist and an architect who are left fighting to re-imagine a future after traumatic brain injury leaves them adrift from the people they love. Scenes from the film feature in the music video for ‘Amen’, which has a distinct and wistful tone.
Rhys is best known for performing as part of the Super Furry Animals and recorded the soundtrack to the film during 2021 and the earlier part of this year. The track features contributions from members of the National Orchestra of Wales, as well as Rhys’ vocals. The video is directed by Ryan Owen Eddleston.
Discussing the soundtrack in a statement to mark the release, Rhys commented on how the album’s complex production process: “the soundtrack for The Almond And The Seahorse was recorded largely in pandemic conditions so it was a matter of recording in bursts of possible activity in various friends’ studios, homes and even scout halls as chance permitted. It’s a varied quilt work as a result.”
This variety came together to create what Rhys sees as being a “colourful scrapbook of a soundtrack” which signifies “the film’s location in Liverpool and the Wirral by liberally, but hopefully not too obviously, using the Mellotron synthesiser (as famously used in ‘Strawberry Fields’ by the Beatles and therefore in my mind it represents that great city sonically) and the cello as a nod to its use by Gwen’s character in the film.” The effect is both soft and yearning, ideal listening as we reach the winter solstice.
‘Amen’ is available now and the soundtrack for The Almond and The Seahorse can be pre-ordered via Rough Trade.