Following on from the impressionistic video for “Victory” by guitarist/ drummer/ vocalist Hope Robertson from the dark and dreamy debut by Death And The Maiden, here’s another video, this time for “Civilisation”, once again featuring the sleepy village of Port Chalmers.
This odd little 150+ year old port town mixes century old provincial New Zealand architecture with the industrial sprawl of a major shipping port and container terminal. The video is filmed in black and white on a fine sunny day, yet still manages to maintain the stealthy distance of surveillance footage, as if dispassionately observing life on a different planet.
There are also a couple of scenes of Chris Booth’s sculpture “Aramoana” from the Hotere Garden Oputae on the lookout overlooking the port and harbour. It’s a reminder that although this town is physically dominated by the maritime transport industry, it also has a strongly beating heart of art.
Two of the three members of Death And The Maiden live in Port Chalmers and the third is a regular visitor. In winter – or on cooler summer nights – the cold damp and fog or rain mixes with the clammy aerosol grey of diesel fume infused salty air. At night the sounds of the Port machinery hangs over the town, a repetitive hum of boat engines punctuated with the clang and thump of metal on metal as containers are loaded and unloaded.
It’s hard to avoid this all working its way into the subconscious of the residents, and into their music and art, whether it is through some kind of psychological osmosis or escapist rejection. This is Death And The Maiden’s “Civilisation” then: