While seeking inspiration and soaking up atmosphere for her upcoming album, The Hope Six Demolition Project (scheduled to be released on April 15), PJ Harvey traveled with photographer Seamus Murphy to a number of global locations rich in menace and melancholy. Not only did the disputed Eastern European territory of Kosovo contribute a great deal of the emotion found in the album’s first single, “The Wheel,” but it also provided snapshots of life — a child standing behind police in riot gear, a wedding guest with a glass of water on his head performing traditional dance, young people riding a rickety old amusement park ride — for the song’s newly released music video.
“The sight of a revolving fairground wheel in Fushe Kosove/Kosovo Polje near the capital Pristina is the concrete reference point for the title,” Murphy, the video’s director, said in a recent interview with Noisey. “Without being told the stories of people who had suffered during the war, without visiting villages abandoned through ethnic cleansing and cycles of vengeance, without experiencing the different perceptions of people with shared histories, could the song have been written?”
The video utilizes footage that Murphy took of the singer/songwriter rehearsing in London, images he collected during his and Harvey’s initial trip to the region in 2011, and newer footage shot in the midst of Europe’s latest refugee crisis with “the idea of cycles, wheels, and repetition once again being all too apparent and necessary to make,” according to the director.