The video: On You Are All I See, Active Child’s debut LP, angelic harpist Pat Grossi strikes a unique balance between the studiousness of classically informed chamber-pop with explorations into contemporary R&B production. It’s the sort of thing that’s most often associated with fussy and rigorous studio tinkering, but for the title track, Grossi’s band gives us a look at how it blooms in open space with this live clip.
The director: Duncan Ferguson shot the video for “You Are All I See” at the Echo in Los Angeles during a month-long, Monday night residency that preceded the release of the LP.
The album: Grossi established himself as an intriguing (if a bit scattered) auteur on his 2010 EP Curtis Lane, evoking all manner of electronic pop from M83 to OMD. This year’s You Are All I See found him solidifying and mastering his aesthetic for one of 2011’s most arresting and breathtakingly gorgeous releases. The two aspects of Grossi’s background that make him easy to identify amongst his peers — his choirboy vocals and harp — are at the fore on the title track, a simply awestruck pledge of devotion.
If there’s any criticism to be lobbed at You Are All I See, it’s that its environment can feel a little bit too controlled, but Ferguson’s playful video treatment completely turns that on its head. Though Grossi is very much the focal point of Active Child, they’re a flesh-and-blood band that may be aligned with indie rock but are in no way opposed to the sonic or physical ostentation of pop. I was one of those cramped within the Echo Park club during the filming of this video and to be perfectly honest, “You Are All I See” felt like something of a taunt — though Grossi is a strikingly tall figure, hunched over his harp, he can actually be pretty tough to see. Finally, I get to see what I was missing: filmed in black and white and with many slow motion asides of their statue-dotted stage setup, “You Are All I See” shows Active Child as a graceful and genial unit. The song itself opens up completely, with Grossi’s falsetto sounding far more unhinged and humane than it does on the immaculate studio take.