First Watch: Arc Iris, 'Moon Saloon'

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When the video for Arc Iris' song "Moon Saloon" opens, what you can see looks like a view of the moon from above. But when you looks closer, it's a vast winterscape, an empty field in rural Massachusetts, shot from above with a 360 degree camera. As the scene rotates and spirals, the figure of Jocie Adams, of the Rhode Island-based dream-folk band Arc Iris, appears: sometimes tiny, like a dot you would see from the view of an airplane, sometimes close enough to the camera that you can see a smile on her face and the yellow balloon she's carrying in contrast with the snow and the crest of a night sky in the background.

In an interview with NPR Music over email, Jocie Adams shared how this stunning video was made: "Using 6 cameras to capture a single 360 degree view of the scene, directors Julia Liu and Keith Heyward could distort our world into a surreal moon-like planet. The six cameras took about 48 hours to render as a single video, which meant we had days of suspense before learning what our work amounted to. I believe that this piece is philosophically a punk piece of art in that it makes use of modern technology but disregards the modern standards of attention."

Sonically, "Moon Saloon" is a wonderful slow burner. The instrumentation is sparse, just Adams' soprano and her band playing gorgeously reverberant cello and distorted guitar. The cello moves in slowly arcing crescendos that pair beautifully with Adams' lyrics. In a particularly powerful moment towards the end of the song, Adams sings: "With devotion there's pain / And the moon's not a toy / Nor is this beautiful boy. / What's going on?" As Adams notes, its a song about desire and alternate realities. "Moon Saloon" is what it feels like when you stay up late thinking about the way things could've gone. It's a heartbreaker enveloped in deeply beautiful and complicated textures and layers of sound.

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