“Taliesin,” the first single and video from Humble Fire’s upcoming album Builder, is beautifully constructed. Considering the inspiration Humble Fire drew upon for the work, it isn’t surprising.
Humble Fire’s Nefra Faltas took a trip to Taliesin West, a home and architecture school in Scottsdale, AZ designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In the desert, surrounded by what Wright once described as “the top of the world,” Faltas was reminded of her late father, who also trained as an architect.
“The song took off from there as a reflection on the grieving process, which the video then sought to further interpret,” Faltas said.
In this case, grief is conveyed through dance. As the video opens, a woman returns home and releases a knowing, resigned sigh. Another woman is already sitting on her living room couch. That woman turns into five, each of whom dances with an understated simplicity that belies a deeper meaning.
“Coping with loss is part of the human experience,” said Sadie Leigh, director and choreographer for the video. “So we wanted to show the dancers as real people, which is why a lot of the movement is pedestrian and gestural.”
Sparse, but lived in, “Taliesin” sounds like what returning to an empty home after a loss feels like. A delicate guitar riff drops in and out, lonely keys appear from time to time, and it is surprising when the lower register is suddenly filled by a bass guitar. That’s not to say any of the instruments, or the emotionally charged vocal work from Faltas, are forgettable–they’re just woven so thoughtfully that the absence of any instrument speaks as deliberately as its presence.
Faltas would agree with that characterization. “In some ways, this is the most economical song we’ve written to date,” she explained of the song’s layering.
It’s intentionally left unclear whether the dancers represent the departed, those left behind, or the volatile process that defines grief. But as the dancers fill the living room with grace and make their way into a cozy bedroom, grief is revealed as a natural process that eventually passes.
Humble Fire will have a release show for “Taliesin” on May 11 at Black Cat. Doors 7:30 p.m./Tickets $12