All Songs Considered
Tue March 4, 2014
Hundred Waters, 'Cavity'
Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 11:26 am
Here's some great news: On May 27, the Gainesville, Fla. quartet Hundred Waters will release its second album (via OWSLA, the label run by Skrillex), and today the band has shared a brand new song, "Cavity," along with an eerily beautiful video.
"'Cavity' is like watering a field but so much it becomes muddy, or filling a bathtub with so much water it just floods the house," writes Hundred Waters' lead singer Nicole Miglis in an email. The song, and its video, are kind of like that quote — familiar but just out of reach. Is the band using real drums and strings or synthesizers? It doesn't matter much by the time Hundred Waters builds them into a pulsating chorus that lifts up Miglis's high shiver of a voice.
The video for "Cavity" works a similar magic. Miglis appears almost artificial, just slivers of her face lit in a slowly turning (and then multiplying) profile. A wave of lights suggests an alien invasion or hovering drones. The director, Michael Langan, says he wanted to "play with the idea of hollowness, attempting to define emptiness by its edges, visually." The effects in the clip were made not with computer graphics, but by using "a single flashlight, drawn slowly over the landscape and later 'echoed' up to 500 times to create patterns that fill the scene with light," Langan says. "We used a projector mounted on a motorized lazy Susan to achieve the 'sliver' shots of Nicole."
I obsessed over another new Hundred Waters song, "Down From the Rafters," when it popped up on SoundCloud a couple of weeks ago, trying to tease apart elements (one part of the song is backed by a beat made by recording footsteps in an empty hallway) that the musicians had carefully stretched and arranged. "Cavity" has the same ethereal, over-dilated layers of sound that made "Down From the Rafters" so replayable, but it's tighter and more driven, maybe less haunted. If these two dense, hypnotic songs are any indication, May 27 can't come fast enough.