Last month, Marissa Nadler announced The Path of the Clouds, her ninth studio album, out 29th October via Bella Union / Sacred Bones. Today, she presents ‘If I Could Breathe Underwater’, the album’s second single/video following ‘Bessie, Did You Make It?’ ‘If I Could Breathe Underwater’ is a lush, cinematic composition with a pulsing rhythm and serpentine bass hooks. It features harp from Mary Lattimore, one of Nadler’s long-time friends.
“When I wrote ‘If I Could Breathe Underwater,’ I was contemplating the possibilities of possessing various superhuman powers: teleportation, shapeshifting, energy projection, aquatic breathing, extrasensory perception, and time travel to name a few,” says Nadler. “As a lyrical device, I married those powers with events in my life, wondering if and how they could change the past or predict the future. I loved working on the melody for this song and bringing the choruses to their climaxes. Mary’s layered, hallucinatory shimmers really echo the netherworld of the story.”
The accompanying video, beautifully directed and edited by Jenni Hensler with cinematography by Nick Fancher, serves to create a preternatural world where Nadler changes the colours of the sky and the water, floats weightlessly through seas, and becomes one with layers of colour and ink. It was shot on 16mm film (with the exception of the underwater shots).
“This song took on many meanings to me and I love that about it. How beauty and tragedy collide,” says Hensler. “Dreaming of having supernatural powers to change reality and have the ability to live and breathe underwater. It could also speak to the duality of existence. That we all have inner personas or shadow selves, and how we envision those different masks we wear. I chose to make something that touched on the idea of duality and the inner persona. To connect to the two worlds.” Watch here:
“The Path of the Clouds, Marissa Nadler’s ninth solo album, is the most stylistically adventurous, lyrically transfixing, and melodically sophisticated collection of songs in her already rich discography. Gripped by wanderlust while suddenly housebound at the start of the pandemic in 2020, Nadler escaped into writing, and came back with a stunning set of songs about metamorphosis, love, mysticism, and murder. Blurring the line between reality and fantasy and moving freely between past and present, these 11 deeply personal, self-produced songs find Nadler exploring new landscapes, both sonic and emotional.”
The Path of the Clouds artwork and tracklist:
- Bessie, Did You Make It
- The Path of the Clouds
- Couldn’t Have Done The Killing
- If I Could Breathe Underwater
- Well Sometimes You Just Can’t Stay
- From Vapor to Stardust
- Turned Into Air
- And I Dream Of Running
- Lemon Queen
Photocredit: Nick Fancher