On a day that should have boasted a performance by Squarepusher at Detroit's Majestic Theatre, the English electronic producer instead dropped visuals for “Detroit People Mover” — a love letter to an empty city.
Tom Jenkinson, who performs as Squarepusher, released “Detroit People Mover” on Thursday, a track from his Lamental EP, released last week and a followup to his 15th studio record, Be Up A Hello, also released this year.
Directed by Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman, the video was filmed last month after the city had been shut down due to the coronavirus. According to the press release, Jenkinson has had an affinity for the Motor City's neglected elevated transit car, but was struck by how the imagery of an empty train reflected scenes of barren cityscapes from all over the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced people to stay in their homes and leaving large gatherings, like Squarepusher's Detroit performance, to be postponed.
Described as a “cinematic synth odyssey,” the sorrowful track follows the People Mover as it travels through its downtown route with one passenger — a color printer, which autonomously prints photographs documenting Detroit's history, spanning parades, protests, and intimate moments of social connection.
Jenkinson says “Detroit People Mover” is a contrast to the recently released “Terminal Slam,” a high-energy, anxious glitchy time-lapse of a bustling Japan.
“I like the way both of these videos articulate salient points about our urban environments — in 'Terminal Slam' about the prevalence of advertising and possibilities for its subversion, and here regarding our zombie cities that despite the lack of everyday human contact continue marching on,” Jenkinson said in a release. “The track itself is part of a series begun in 1993 inspired by the music of Detroit.”
You can watch the video for “Detroit People Mover” below.
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