Gaspar Narby’s new single, ‘An Absentee’, is a soundtrack for today’s age of digital relations. The haiku-like lyrics point to a long-distance love relationship between Soho in London and SoHo in New York City conducted on WhatsApp phone calls.
“Today, we are connected like never before, which can create beautiful things, but paradoxically, I find myself feeling increasingly alone,” Narby says.
The music embodies such contradictions, with a grand piano and a ukulele delicately intertwining with heavy sub-bass and drums.
“Sometimes, the absence of someone can fill your entire existence. Their ghost just follows you everywhere. I wrote An Absentee to slow dance with my ghost.”
Swiss visual artist Yolane Rais directed the music video, which was shot in an indoor swimming pool. It explores loneliness by placing two characters in the same space, but at different times, with one of them swimming during the day and the other appearing at night. They both seem to be waiting for someone. Rais uses water to transform and blur the two characters. Her slow-motion shots make them appear almost inanimate and coexist with still-life imagery.
It’s the same name but a different Soho
I carved my relics out of our WhatsApp phone calls
You whisper ‘Go to sleep’ out of the blue
Drawing lines between my loneliness and you
This single follows Narby’s debut EP A Stare Makes Two published last December and included by Jamz Supernova and BBC Radio 1Xtra in their EP top-5 list.