Music Video Review: Purity Ring – ‘heartsigh’


Combining an art installation with the magic of 'heartsigh', a myriad of fairy lights enchantingly capture the track.

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Purity Ring’s video for ‘heartsigh’, the latest track to spill from Another Eternity is awash with sparkling fairy lights, strobes, and ghostly dancers. The video was conceptualised by the electronic duo, Megan James and Corin Roddick, directed by Cecil Frena and Alex Fischer.

The glittering myriad of LEDs and hanging bulbs is ‘Submergence’, an art piece by British collective Squidsoup, which can be seen at Kew Gardens, London, among other locations. Four Tet has previously worked with the installation, performing within their Ocean of Light rig at the ICA in August.

The video opens to the rosy, burning glow of a sunset as the backdrop, before a crane shot takes us over a view of the landscape, in which a spider-like dome is depicted at its centre. As the first chimes of ‘heartsigh’ tinker into clarity, we plunge into the darkness of the dome and icy blue diamonds light up as Roddick beats on them, the drums casting only a faint glow on his form. There’s something alluring about the unusual amount of black emptiness used within the video. It draws attention to the most important elements, the lights and the music, creating a magical setting for the track. Before the main body of the track comes into play, a ghostly figure plunges backwards through the dark space, recognisable as Megan James by her fiery red hair.

It’s the glittering strands of lightbulbs that take centre stage within the video. Hailing from Squidsoup’s ‘Submergence’, the lights seem to beautifully captivate the syncopating tone of the track. Purity Ring, translated into an image, would be an immersion in twinkling lights. Their electronic reverberations combined with delicate layers of sound, particularly on ‘heartsigh’, marry perfectly with the imagery, with the constant play between focus and lack of reflecting the plunges in the duo’s music. Every light appears timed with precision in relation to the music as James and Roddick are depicted on a stage within the darkness, a wall of lights as their backdrop.

The camera is constantly moving throughout this video, not giving the onlooker a moment to settle or focus. It rotates and reels, moving through lights and space as the duo perform on stage, before James falls backwards and plunges once again into darkness. A sequence, lit by softly pink strobes at either side, depicts her floating like an astronaut in mid-air, before her image is displaced by ghostly dancing figures in over-sized white costumes. Here, a sinister mood comes into play as quick flashes between the two sequences become unsettling. Then the sinister turns artful as the ghostly figures become the band’s dancing audience, their blue figures almost mirroring the diamond drums in the foreground.

The climax of the video leaves the dancing and music within the space of the dome, returning to the tranquility of the sunset scene. There’s something calming about this end that makes the light and movement of the dome all the more enchanting, as if that is the only space in which ‘heartsigh’ can come to be.

‘heartsigh’ is out now via 4AD, with the video available to watch below.


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Third year English student, Records Editor, list maker and lover of Kinder Buenos.

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