Rachel Grimes is well known for her work with the indie rock chamber ensemble Rachel’s, and her new project shows that she works best with others. Even among the crowded music-video field, the new video for “The Herald,” off of Rachel Grimes’ upcoming solo album The Clearing, stands out. To give a sense of the breadth of the imagery, it was shot in Amsterdam, Venice, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Bethlehem. The broad palette of locales and scenery fits well with the song, a haunting, spare number that practically has wanderlust encoded into its DNA. The locations change with the variations in the song, each one adding a new timbre to the sound, and a new place to ponder.
The improvised saxophone solo by Jacob Duncan of Liberation Prophecy adds a melancholy but propulsive edge, like the forgotten player in some old Charles Mingus bootleg. (Which is fitting, given that the track was recorded during a live performance in Louisville, KY, last year.) Grimes has said that she structured the song “similarly to a jazz chart, with a basic form, mode, and dynamic shape but with freedom for improv within the main verses.”
Grimes has been performing as a solo artist for a number of years, releasing the 2009 album Book Of Leaves and EPs in 2011 and 2013. Her new album is a collaboration among a number of musicians and groups with whom she has worked over the years, including the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Kyle Crabtree (Shipping News), Christian Frederickson (Rachel’s), Scott Morgan (a.k.a. Loscil), and others. It’s a new and more experimental phase in Grimes’ work, and you can hear the results for yourself when The Clearing is released May 26 through Temporary Residence Ltd. You can pre-order the album here.