Jen Cloher releases a new remix and video of her much-loved track ‘Sensory Memory’, from her 2017 self-titled album that won her Double J Australian Artist of the Year, out today on Milk! Records/Remote Control. The track has been remixed by good pal Anika Ostendorf aka Hachiku and is accompanied by an animated clip directed by Celeste Mountjoy aka Filthy Ratbag, which premiered on YouTube last night.
Cloher says of the song and remix, “Sensory Memory was a song from my last album that seemed to connect with people, it’s often requested at live shows and from time to time I get DM’s from people saying how much the song has resonated with them. There’s a playfulness to the rhythm of Sensory Memory that reminded me of Hachiku’s music and so I asked Anika if she would remix it for me. I love what came back! My vocal comes forward drawing focus to the lyrics which have a circular quality to them. Anika uses her own vocal as an instrument which is something I would never think to do. I have always loved Anika’s approach to arranging and her ability to create an ethereal dream like quality to her sound”.
Ostendorf shares a similar fondness for the track, “When Jen released the self-titled album, Sensory Memory was my favourite song from the first listen. I told Jen, “Hey Jen, Sensory Memory is my favourite song on the album. I love it.” and Jen said, “Yes, you do because it’s the most Hachiku-esque song on the album”. Something about the way the melody and guitar phrasing chase each other always half a beat behind the other; something about the layers on top of layers on top of layers creating an almost meditative state.”
“When Jen asked me to remix the song maybe 2 years ago, I started and then forgot to ever finish it! Thanks to lockdown number 1, I went on a mission to finish all my half-finished projects and there you go. Production wise I wanted it to sound as if Chris Isaak and Jai Paul had a lo-fi child with I guess three heads that sing in choir. Bones’ bassline really stood out to me when Jen sent through the raw mix so I tried to highlight that by doubling it with a saw string bass. Sholaki’s drums were replaced with a Casio loop and while I love Courtney’s guitar part in the original recording I unfortunately had to get rid of it because it was too distinct. Sorry!!! Lastly because the original wasn’t recorded to click and gets a lot of energy from a slight tempo increase in the later half, I politely made everyone play and sing at 89 bpm with me.”
Of Mountjoy’s animated clip Cloher says, “On hearing the remix I knew that a traditional video clip wouldn’t be the right fit. I wanted it to be animated but still have a handcrafted, human touch to it. I have long been a fan of Celeste Mountjoy’s work, for it’s humour, both tragic and acerbic. There’s an unfussy approach to Celeste’s illustration, at its core is the vulnerability that has made her work as Filthy Ratbag known around the world. I have a feeling that were it not for lockdown I might never have been able to squeeze a 4 minute animation into Celeste’s schedule which just goes to show, there is always a silver lining to them clouds.”
It seems the admiration was mutual with Mountjoy adding, “I’ve been starry-eyed for Jen and her music since seeing her perform for the first time in 2017. Sensory Memory was actually the first song I ever heard of Jen’s! It’s been on heaps of my playlists since then, so I was very excited about that being the song I got to work with (also made things a lot easier coz I already knew all the words!). It’s a dreamy sweet song on its own but Anika really amplified that with her remix. I tried to take that sound and incorporate it into the clip with a lot of cloudy/flowy/dreamy bits.”
“I’d only done one very short animation prior to this so I found it pretty challenging to create something that went for 4 minutes, at some points I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to make it work. Thankfully Jen put me in touch with Clem Stamation who was a huge help in pulling the clip (and me) together. I’m not that used to having to be patient with creating because a lot my stuff is very quick and sketchy. Instant gratification drawings. This was a really different project for me, and a total pleasure to get to collaborate with some artists I really love and admire.“
Just shy of three years since it’s original release, the new life breathed into ‘Sensory Memory’ is testament to the song itself and collaboration brings us together even when the world is keeping us apart.
The song and clip for ‘Sensory Memory’ were made on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.
Jen Cloher x Hachiku – Sensory Memory (Official Video)