“You’d see a million colors / If you really looked,” declares Dave Longstreth, with his Björk-y propensity for twisty melodies, on “Gun Has No Trigger,” the first single from Dirty Projectors’ July 10 album Swing Lo Magellan. The video, Longstreth’s directorial debut, might come close to that many colors if you reaaaally look. The visuals flicker between Longstreth as well as fellow Dirty Projectors vocalists Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle, showing off their hoodies against a background of shifting hues.
The video gets more intense as the tightly wound, harmony-drenched track nears its climax, to really nice effect. It’s a bit less clear what these clips have to do with the song’s theme, which Longstreth explains in a statement has to do with “the possibility for true dissent” in 2012 — or lack thereof. The video is modeled, he says, on “the default profile image used by Facebook and Gmail, and also the look of the classic iPod commercials”; the background colors “are the ones I think of when hear the harmonies of Amber and Haley.” Here’s one possible interpretation, then: No matter how we try to mount a protest, we’re trapped inside the technologies we use — a YouTube video complaining about YouTube still generates revenue for YouTube. (Jean Baudrillard, the great French thinker cited in The Matrix, once said, “The Matrix is surely the kind of film about the matrix that the matrix would have been able to produce.” Whoa!)
Still with us? Good! Because “The Gun Has No Trigger” will be coming out on single-sided 8″ square single. Dubbed the “Gun Has No Trigger Tablet of Values,” the record will have on its B-side a cuneiform translation of the song’s lyrics, ancient Mesopotamian style. The limited-edition single is available for pre-order along with Swing Lo Magellan on Domino Records’ website.
The single is set for a June 19 release, which happens to be the night the pop experimentalists will perform “Gun Has No Trigger” on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Dirty Projectors will also be on tour this summer with Wye Oak, Purity Ring, and POP ETC. A July 10 record release show at Prospect Park Bandshell will be broadcast live via NPR Music. Check out the video below, and read SPIN’s full interview with Dirty Projectors about the album.