There’s something that happens on the cab ride home at the end of a night out in New York. At certain moments during the ride, while going over any bridge, for instance, you will stop what you’re doing and look out the window–no matter whether your phone has full battery power or not. It’s the overwhelming insistence of all that steel and glass and the people living inside, despite how crowded it is and how much it costs to be there and the ongoing civil war over brunch. Something about driving around this metropolis at night makes you consider your place in it, though, and your place in the wider world. It’s a feeling that’s fully put into images in a new animated music video.
Ambient folk band The Sea The Sea recently released a clip called “Waiting,” that doubles as a cinematic love letter to the big city. Created by artist Zachary Johnson, a huge fan of US Weekly, the video is subtitled “New York At Night In 3,454 Paintings,” which is accurate. The rotoscoped oil paintings, which Johnson made by hand over a period of eight months, imbue the city with a dream-like haziness. We see the city as though driving through it, with police trucks and ambulances floating through the streets, emitting a warm red glow. As traffic goes by, amidst rows and rows of buildings, over bridges and alongside them, the paintings take on an underwater quality that mimics the swoon that occurs when New York has swept its citizens away from wherever they came from.