In 'Something Familiar,' A U.K. Duo Leaves The Past Behind

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A still from Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker's "Something Familiar" video.

I've been looking for just the right time and just the right way to present a song by BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, and here it is. This little film — featuring Clarke's diaphanous British voice and Walker's guitar work — feels both timeless and ephemeral. Clarke recently told us via email that "'Something Familiar' is about the evocative but elusive nature of memory. I've always been fascinated that within a moment, you can be transported backwards in time by a sight, sound or smell. It is fleeting and bittersweet that you never know when these glimpses of the past may leave you forever."

The video looks like found footage, but it's newly created and directed by Bob Gallagher. He told me in an email that what he loved about the music was how direct and simple it was. "The song doesn't use a note more or a note less than it needs to express the idea. There's something beautiful about that economy, so I wanted to reflect that in the video. We filmed on Super 8mm film to add a creative restriction to the process. I think the Super 8 aesthetic really suits the song, but it also totally changes the approach to filming. We had a limited supply of film, so we were sparing with our shots and minimized takes."

The film captures a simple journey to the sea, though it remains abstract. "The character is going through a journey and shedding off memories as she goes, things that might have been important to her once but aren't anymore," Gallagher writes. "Ultimately, everything succumbs to the elemental rhythm of the tide and the passage of time. Those are powerful constants and everything else, including the character herself, is transient." The film was shot in the west of Ireland.

"Something Familiar" is from what's turning into a favorite folk album of 2016. Titled Overnight, it comes out Oct. 14 via Rough Trade.

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