Few music video directors working today have cultivated an aesthetic that’s as consistently grounded and visually appealing as Christopher Good, whose work this site’s featured numerous times (and who has been kind enough to join the contributors ranks of A Year’s Worth of Memories). Good’s most recent work, the freewheeling clip for Kevin Morby’s “Dorothy” saw a confident footing in a fluid approach that’s carried over into his latest clip, Quilt’s heartrending “Padova”.
Guitarist Shane Butler wrote “Padova” as a rumination on the passing of his mother and the wide range of feelings — not just sadness — that event invoked. The music video’s a visual interpretation of that emotional gamut as well as a commentary on mortality and the passage of time. It’s a beautiful video (with some gorgeous lensing, courtesy of Jeremy Osbern) that solidifies Good’s position as a top-tier director for the format and it honors Butler’s mother in a fashion that’s tasteful, respectful, and deeply moving. For more on that count, read the statement that Butler issued in tandem with the video’s release:
This song was written shortly after my mother passed away. It was written in Padova, Italy on a night where we were scheduled to perform there in the courtyard of a beautiful villa-like building on the outskirts of the city. There were old ceramic walls, chandeliers, Italian vines, and horses on the periphery of the property; it was idyllic to say the least. During this period of time, after my mother had passed, I would talk to her every day. Whether it was in imagination or in spirit doesn’t really matter; my experience was the same. That night in Padova my mother and I talked for a long time as I took a walk around the property. I then happened to come across an old busted up guitar in a giant wooden room with a chandelier in it, I tuned it to something that would work, and this song came out.
The experience of my mother’s death has not only been of grief, as our culture often solely represents death being. But, in my experience, death has taken on infinite voices. There are voices of beauty, melancholy, humor, rejuvenation, and freedom located in this experience. When talking with Christopher Good about making this video we talked about making a representation of this experience that involved some of these other aspects of death. Christopher has an incredible eye and mind to make abstract narratives, which is what we decided to go with for this video. This scene is only a detail on the vast canvas of representing life’s transition. As there is no finality to this experience, no static way to understand it, we chose to use abstraction, movement, color, and the elements to play with the ideas at hand.
Whether you believe in ‘soul’ business or not I’d like to leave with this quote of Kahlil Gibran’s that I read shortly after my mother passed. I think it is very beautiful and maybe provides a moment to reflect on another possible voice of death:
Death is an ending to the son of
The earth, but to the soul it is
The start, the triumph of life.
Watch “Padova” below and pick up Plaza from Mexican Summer here.