For each track on their latest album, Valtari, Sigur Rós is commissioning an original video by a different filmmaker -- giving each a "modest" budget and total creative freedom. Henry Jun Wah Lee's stunning cinematography of a remote Japanese island is just the latest in the series. Make sure to watch his Dauðalogn, below, full screen with the sound turned up!
Lee specializes in nature photography and time-lapse video; you can check out two of his previous videos about the American southwest and Iceland, and read about how he got into photography in an interview here. He describes the location in his director's statement on the band's site:
filming took place deep in the primeval forest of yakushima, a remote island in southern japan. i chose this location both for its unique beauty and because the story of yakushima was representative of the often fragile relationship between humans and nature. the giant trees on the island were once revered as sacred by locals. they lived for thousands of years but for the past 5 centuries they were logged to near extinction. the scarred landscape coupled with the dramatic way in which the forest has recovered made for a picturesque and magical atmosphere.
We asked him how he came to work with the Icelandic musicians and he told the story:
I'm a big fan of theirs so when they approached me about working on a video for their new album I was excited. They made no requests and asked no questions. Just choose a song from the album and here's a budget. I wish all my projects are like that! About 2 years ago, I released a short timelapse piece about the Perseid Meteor Shower. I used one of their songs, Samskeyti. It went viral. From then on, we stayed in touch. When their lead singer, Jonsi, toured for his solo album, I filmed his concert at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles. It was a combination of a bit of luck, timing, right place, right time, and a lot of passion.
Seven other videos have been released already, with five more to go. The band is also holding a contest in which one viewer-created video will be selected as an "official" music video and win $5,000. Watch the rest of the videos, like Ramin Bahrani's Ég anda, on the site.
For more videos by Henry Jun Wah Lee, visit http://www.evosiastudios.com/.