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'Let England Shake' films by Seamus Murphy
May 5, 2011 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Dublin-raised photojournalist Seamus Murphy has received six World Press Photo awards and won widespread acclaim for his work in Afghanistan and the Middle East, including a World Understanding Award in 2005. Recently, he created short films for all twelve of the songs on PJ Harvey’s new album, Let England Shake, after a road trip across England during what he called “one of the worst winters in living memory.” The films have been released gradually since January (previously) and now you may watch all of them: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
posted by Houyhnhnm (11 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
I cannot say enough about how much I love these films. They are no ordinary rock videos but meditations on the state of modern England that are overflowing with beauty and feeling.
posted by jokeefe at 6:57 PM on May 5, 2011


These are pretty much the best thing I've seen all week.
posted by brennen at 7:56 PM on May 5, 2011


I have not stopped listening to this album since it came out, and have been following the videos as they came out as well. This whole project is a stunning piece of work, and I say that as someone who has been largely lukewarm about PJ Harvey's work over the years. This is easily the album of the year so far (and quite likely one for the ages), and the marriage of Murphy's visuals and PJ Harvey's songs evoke a knot of emotions inside of me that I'm still trying to untangle.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:44 PM on May 5, 2011


Damn! I've been meaning to buy this album for months!

Note to self: Get thy ass to a record store.

These are such beautiful films! As a person who has never been to England, they seem so very English. ;-)

Thanks so much for the post.
posted by jillithd at 7:12 AM on May 6, 2011


I think “The Words That Maketh Murder” is my favorite of the videos overall, but I really love the seagulls flying right above the camera in “Bitter Branches”.

As for the album, “Written on the Forehead” has got to be one of her greatest songs ever.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 10:11 AM on May 6, 2011


Yeah, Let England Shake-- and the title is a Joycean reference, apparently-- is one of the albums of the year for me; and the films which accompany it lifts the whole even further into the realm of art. And what I find particularly moving about the project is that Harvey is, in a way that I haven't really seen elsewhere, trying to seriously address the war and the impact it is having on British society. The fact that this appears so unusual and original throws even more strongly into light the fact that it is so little talked about in popular culture either in America or Britain.
posted by jokeefe at 10:44 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


the title is a Joycean reference, apparently

Explicate, please!
posted by Houyhnhnm at 1:13 PM on May 6, 2011


This is likely the one and only time I will ever find something useful in YouTube comments. This is from user owensound1000:

The West's Asleep is a great Irish poem by Thomas Davis which also inspired the lines "the west shall shake the east awake walk while ye have the night for morn" in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

Text of The West's Asleep; and the quote from Finnegan's Wake can be found here.
posted by jokeefe at 7:57 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is fucking brilliant
posted by criticalbill at 2:34 AM on May 8, 2011


Fantastic set of films. They made me listen again to the songs much more carefully, investigating the lyrics and the possible interpretations for the songs.

I can't add anything that isn't said better in some of the many worthwhile reviews of the album. I found this one, in The Quietus, one of the best. One of those records that opens up other things than itself, and right now, one of those moments where reflection on what war accomplishes is as relevant as ever.
posted by aesop at 3:14 AM on May 9, 2011


Post immediately after this one - "Last World War I combat vet dies in Australia". Fairly spooky timing for these posts.
posted by aesop at 3:16 AM on May 9, 2011


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