Doomtree Records releases a dramatic, black-and-white music video for “Velodrome,” recorded live on stage by Dessa and the Grammy-winning Minnesota Orchestra. The track is both elegant and menacing, as Dessa riffs deftly on free will, instinctive forces, and humans as social animals. It’s the first video release from her upcoming album Sound the Bells: Recorded Live at Orchestra Hall (Doomtree Records)—the ambitious reimagining of Dessa’s catalog, performed with full symphonic orchestration arranged by Andy Thompson and due November 8th.
The video for “Velodrome” (directed by Mercies May) is a grayscale meditation on determinism, that leans in for mesmeric close-ups and pulls back for aerial footage from a god’s eye view. The inspiration for “Velodrome” (dictionary definition: “a cycle-racing track, typically with steeply banked curves”) emerged from a conversation between Dessa and a bike messenger. Of the song, she says, “As far as I could tell, there was a whole subculture of riders–competitive, passionate, and full of nicknames–with obvious parallels in the world of independent musicians. I thought a velodrome would be a great setting for a set of lyrics about free will. The course is preordained. And we still go around in neat loops, every rider choosing left.”
As the cyclist in the video circles the velodrome, so goes a silver marble through sand, drawn by an invisible magnetic pull. Dessa herself makes a cameo, armed with both a hammer and a torch–symbols of human control that her lyrics slyly imply might be an illusion, as we loop through our daily routines. “All lines are curved in the velodrome/we pitch and roll/wheels flesh and bone/ total control and it’s ours alone.” Even big ideas are hefted easily in her confident, alto delivery.
Dessa will be joined by a string quartet at all the dates below, with the exception of the Cardiff concert where she’ll perform with the full BBC NOW Orchestra. Chicago’s deep-pop group MONAKR will also perform a set most dates as well.
Dessa Tour Dates:
Nov 7 – Cardiff, Wales, Millennium Center (w/ full BBC National Orchestra of Wales)
Nov 20 – NYC, The Greene Space, hosted by John Schaefer
Nov 21 – DC, Sixth & I
Nov 22 – Brooklyn, National Sawdust
Nov 23 – Boston, City Winery
Nov 24 – Philadelphia, City Winery
Jan 16 – San Francisco, The Chapel
Jan 18 – Seattle, Crocodile
Jan 19 – Portland, Aladdin Theater