Black Marble aka Chris Stewart shares the heartwarming video for the brightly arpeggiated new single “Preoccupation” which appears on the upcoming album Fast Idol, due out October 22, 2021 on Sacred Bones Records. Black Marble is set to tour the UK October as well as next spring.
“Preoccupation” is the beating heart of Fast Idol, wherein Stewart captures the loneliness of Ray Bradbury’s atomic-era sci-fi and the apocalyptic but revolutionary spirit of Godard’s Sympathy for the Devil, conjuring ambivalent scenes of an empty world and the comfort to be found in a shared humanity in lyrics that state: “What is gone only people and time/ standing tall covered cities and signs. Well I’ve wandered the west side and I’ve laughed at your broken roads but this feeling of preoccupation makes life whole.”
Black Marble worked with mixed-media collective Crack Cloud on the video for “Preoccupation,” ultimately embracing the song’s themes by running with a tenderly meta approach which resulted in a video within a video, beautifully capturing various intersections of creative pursuit and camaraderie; joyfully embracing the process over the product. These notes provided by Chris Stewart (which it so happens, appear in the video at the start via projector) served as a starting point:
“A kind of revolutionary spirit but back to nature post apocalyptic motif is what ‘Preoccupation’ is about. Sort of a return to barbarism, reclamation by nature over the state and the protagonists are observers of this going on and narrating it from an anthropological point of view…So anything that hints at these motifs but in your own way. “What is on the way?” is just questioning what is coming specifically but knowing what’s coming generally. I counted twice 1,2,3,4, but I reversed it, so it’s counting down – or counting up rather, but in reverse.”
Crack Cloud shares:
“‘What is on the way?’ is one of several thematic motifs in Black Marble’s ‘Preoccupation’ that grabbed our attention. Our world in recent years has been frozen in ambiguity, but from the perspective of an artist- such uncertainty goes hand in hand with the territory. The timing of this production felt like the end of a deep thaw; an invitation to start from square one. We entertained various concepts involving an observer and their connection to a shapeshifting world, but the excitement and shakiness of our own lives and as a group felt more tangible than any fiction we could commit to paper.
We contemplated our own creative process; what is the main motivating factor behind why we make art? In some sense it’s a means of creating a common ground or language to unite us. A sense of community and playfulness in all of life’s volatility. It’s this very essence that we sought to realize in our visual interpretation of the song.
The creative process for us is always clumsy, emotionally and in execution. Our storyboards are often half-baked and riffing off an idealistic notion rather than anything concrete. We wanted to share with the viewer as candidly as possible what this process looks like.
As day dreamers that wear our hearts on our sleeves, we made this video as a love letter to all artists, and the eternal optimism that they represent by nature of their own preoccupation.”
Watch & listen to “Preoccupation” here: