Prolific San Francisco psych-rocker Bill Baird is about to pull a Guns N’ Roses/Bright Eyes/Islands and release two albums on the very same day. Easy Machines (the morning record) and Baby Blue Abyss (the evening record) are both arriving 4/28, and now he’s shared a new video for “Muzak Of The Spheres,” a driving psych-rock track off of the latter. Directed by Elizabeth Abrams, the simple yet cinematic clip finds Baird stumbling around in the desert. As he explains:
The video was directed by my friend Elizabeth Abrams, shot by my friend Matthew Nauser and edited by Ted Feldman. I provide the costumes and the stumbling around. We shot over two days in the Dumont Dunes, this insane Bureau of Land Management site near Death Valley. The wind whips so fast through the dunes that they sing and hold notes. No, seriously. They’re called singing dunes and they really do sound like singing. I tried singing out there but got a mouth full of sand.
Thousands of dune buggies meet there each year for these surreal dune buggy rallies. I saw a few driving in endless circles, each vehicle blasting a different country song. I saw an RV pulling three dune buggies, pulling two smaller dune buggies, and inside the smaller dune buggies were several remote controlled dune buggies for the kiddies. It was a Russian-doll type situation.
The props in the video are from some of my various multi-media projects: the Bubble, an inflatable structure constructed out of 72 emergency blankets and covered in contact mics; the Magnetetractys, a nine-string electro-acoustic drone harp; and the headlight goggles and hazmat suit from “Mundus Novus,” a public access TV opera I perfumed last year in San Francisco. I liked the idea of including the symbols from this self-contained world I’m creating. Thankfully, Elizabeth and Ted glued it all together in a fun, strange way.
The suit reminds me of The Man Who Fell To Earth, one of my favorite movies.
A few words about the lyrics: there used to be a Muzak factory near my house in San Antonio, TX. They had the most incredible sign. They provide the canned music that soundtracks your dental appointments.
Pythagoras talked about music of the spheres, which basically says that the proportions we find pleasing in music are a microcosm of the proportions that guide the movement of the planets, the stars and the cosmos.
I thought Pythagoras’ concept could be applied to my dentist’s apparent love of Muzak. The proportions which lead Dr. Ron to enjoy a squeamishly slick samba version of the Beatles’ “Yesterday” are also the proportions which guide the motion of a planet somewhere. A planet perhaps made out of teeth. My tooth planet would be a bit coffee-stained. Dr. Ron’s tooth planet would be gleaming white.
Watch and listen below.
Easy Machines and Baby Blue Abyss are out 4/28 in the UK and 7/28 in the US on Talkshow Records. Pre-order is available here.