Delicate Steve - "Redeemer"

Multi-instrumentalist Steve Marion makes ebullient, worldly music that’s propelled not by vocals (which are typically abstracted and peripheral, if present at all), but rather gliding lead-guitar work, phrased and delivered with a lyrical, often ecstatic clarity. It’s a polyglot aesthetic that’s lured David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, and one that’s packaged beautifully in “Redeemer,” the song for which Marion self-directed a video full of footage from a trip to India earlier this year. It’s a pastiche of imagery which overviews his time spent in the remote village of Shiswad, which, granted, isn’t the first place you’d think of when contemplating “ebullience”: The deeply substandard living conditions suffered by many small-village Indians are generally unfathomable if you aren’t forcibly exposed to them. And yet, or probably because of this, there’s a characteristic resilience of spirit and colorful embrace to everyday living (and fashion) in places like that, which is something vividly rendered in Delicate Steve’s videography, and reflected in “Redeemer”’s sunstruck and chanting uplift. As far as Delicate videos go, I’d put a notch above one-on-one basketball with Dirty Projector Nat Baldwin, though that framed “ecstatic hope born of struggle” in its own way. Watch:

Here’s a statement from Steve:

A lot of the footage (all the footage of the children) was from a small village called Shiswad that not a lot of people have ever been to. I got to spend some time there because a friend of mine works for a watershed development non profit organization that is working with the village. We were basically the first people to stay over night to test out their Eco tourism project they were working on. It was surreal. Spent 4 days there, it was one of the many highlights of my trip.

Positive Force is out via Luaka Bop. All of Steve’s friends posted it for streaming. As a bonus, here’s a remix of “Afria Talks To You” by Japanese artist Oorutaichi.

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