Austin Crane, who records under Valley Maker, has shared a new single “Instrument” which is taken from his upcoming new album When the Day Leaves out February 19 via Frenchkiss Records. The music video, filmed and directed by Joseph Kolean and Zach Gutierrez, incorporates film footage that Austin captured on a Super 8 camera in the North Carolina mountains. They collaborated on the clip for previous single “Mockingbird” and Austin notes, “through mixing mediums and blending human and natural worlds, we wanted the ‘Instrument’ video to visually be in conversation with what we created for ‘Mockingbird,’ and with the landscape of the album cover.” He continues, “I wrote ‘Instrument’ as a meditation on the challenges of persevering, of loving the world and other people, and of maintaining a hopeful vision for the future in these times we’re living through. The uncertain future of our planet, with climate change and related natural disasters, always feels very present for me in these considerations. So the song and video reflect both upon anxieties and affections for our world; they explore what it means to remain a part of it all, to carry on amidst human and elemental uncertainty.”
The time commitment is a crucial component of When the Day Leaves. For 46 minutes, you feel like you’re sitting with Crane in an intricate, unified sound-world of his design. He offloads his observations about our tangled thicket of hope and fear, aspiration and exasperation.
When the Day Leaves is an uninterrupted sequence of reflections about the generational limbo of being awed by and worried for this world. The anxiety of uncertainty—always part of life but now seemingly omnipresent—can be vexing, a reality these songs acknowledge. Crane, as he sings at one point, is fully “aligned with my blues.” But these songs also affirm that life is an endless opportunity for renewal, for trying again.
Austin Crane has recorded three albums under the name Valley Maker, the most recent being 2018’s Rhododendron which was his first with Frenchkiss Records. He released When I Was A Child in 2015 and his eponymous debut in 2010. He currently lives in Columbia, SC, where he is teaching and writing his PhD dissertation in Human Geography.