Have you ever awoken from a dream that you couldn’t explain or understand, but you felt it had such haunting specificity that it stuck with you long after you’d risen? Almost as if an artifact from a memory you’ve long forgotten, it feels so impactful in its lucidity yet you just can’t quite place it. Hescher’s new video for “The Rift,” premiering for the first time right here on FPH, feels tantamount to such an experience.
Described to me over the phone by Hescher — alias of Cory Sinclair, a Houston-based cinematic-electronica musician and former co-creator of the late progressive rock outfit, The Manichean — as a “ghost story without being remotely like a ghost story,” the video is an ephemeral journey through the subconscious as we follow the loose narrative of a character, played by Sinclair, as he seemingly waits for something or someone while traveling in a distant land.
Complementing the underlying track’s stirring and brooding piano riffs and richly echoing vocals stretched almost beyond comprehension, the video features long tracking shots of foreign cityscapes and waterways, indiscriminate bodies and vehicles moving to-and-fro, and poignant portraits of the character, often obscured, in scenes of isolation or, quite literally, self-reflection.
The video is intentionally ambiguous regarding its motivations.
“If the character is waiting for something,” wonders Sinclair, “are they real? Are they a future love? Are they a past love? ‘The Rift’ [itself] is this concept that is a combination of spirituality and love and depth and religion and uncertainty, and meant to express core emotions like fear and anger. It’s a vast concept that has a very specific impact.”
“It could also be the rift between you and I, or the character and who he is searching/waiting for or is longing for,” he continues. “’The rift above,’ [quoting the songs distorted lyrics], is supposed to be this constant vastness that floats above us that is ever divine. It has an echo of religious undertones, but I believe true divinity comes from within and oneself.”
Shot in Budapest (and meant to be a sort of “love letter to the city”) on a Sony A6000 with an antique Asahi 50mm lens, the recording makes prominent display of local landmarks like the Buda Castle, Gellert Hill, the Citadella, and multiple shots along various points of the Danube river. Sinclair was inspired to write the track itself by his experiences in the city, having traveled there on a whim after “throwing a dart on a map and just going.”
“I wanted to get something that was in an ethereal documentary style,” he tells me about his cinematic inspirations for “The Rift,” reminiscent of something like the travelogues of Chris Marker or the films of Ron Fricke. “I had never really shot and edited anything myself before. I was learning how to use Adobe Premiere suite on the fly.” He also had assistance from Alejandro Sescosse, who has worked on all Hescher film and video projects since “Scarlet Shell.”
While much of his recorded material is similarly contemplative, fans might be in for a surprise if they catch him at Day for Night this weekend, where he will be performing with a full band made up of Thomas Mumford, Chris Landry, and Omar Al-Bochi (who has assisted with the production on most Hescher recordings).
“The live performance is drastically different,” he warns, excitedly. “The sound we have is not orchestral and essentially cinematic like the releases. That’s intentional. It’s meant to make people have an idea of what’s going to happen and then they see it and it’s the complete opposite. If they’re looking for something speculative and something introspective, they’ll get it but now it’s packaged in the dynamic of a rock show. It’s a half-hour of power.”
Looking beyond Day for Night, Sinclair has no shortage of ambition when it comes to future projects. He has ideas for two EP’s right not, but that’s not all that’s brewing.
The artist says he might start working on an additional third EP sometime next year that is primarily visual. “It’s gonna be a five song EP that has a unifying narrative, but with each song having its own self-contained video,” he says. “I want to film some of it in Galveston, some of it in the mountains of Colorado, maybe some of it in Numbers on an empty dance floor with nobody in the room.”
And while Sinclair says he is going to continue to create his more contemplative, score-oriented music as Hescher, he hints that what the audience will see when he performs at Day for Night this weekend might morph into a project of its own.
“This rock-electronica concept that I’m doing with the live show might actually become its own thing,” he says. “More immediately, there might even be a new band.”