Cautious Clay leaves us in a hypnotic trance as he strides down an endless, invisible path in his music video for “SIDEWINDER.”
Minimalism is the best quality of Cautious Clay’s song “SIDEWINDER.” Rather than opting for a vast instrumental ensemble, he capitalizes on a guitar, echoed and layered vocals, and a sporadically used drum to carry the song for almost three minutes. Utilizing intentional crescendos and backup singers, he allows the song to swell and build without it ever feeling cluttered much in Cautious Clay’s traditional, low-key style. His sound on “Sidewinder,” featured on the Table of Context EP, reflects his vibe on Blood Type.
However, the music video for this track underscores the song’s hollowness in a manner reminiscent of Clay’s “REASONS.” It’s trippy, eerie, lucid and vibrant all at once. Again opting for his signature minimalism, Cautious Clay leaves behind ornate graphics or an extensive backdrop in the video. Rather, the video is an array of neon lights bending across the screen as Cautious Clay walks in a continuous straight line in front of and through the backdrop. Intermittent shadows fade from foreground to background until minute two where Clay pulls a lighter from his pocket and a ghostly fire appears behind him; this moment is the first time he interacts with the screen while singing, “just another crimson light/making you side with me.” He continues towards the audience in a way that is never menacing but hypnotizing, much like the song itself. As he takes step after step, with the lighting fading into a deep sea green where the previously neon shapes—a car, a trophy, a flame—become solid black, melting in the background into a deep pool of dark figures and shadows. Cars and snakes slide across the screen, Cautious Clay changes direction and begins to walk sideways before turning his back to the screen and physically crumples like the shadow, which appears to be an object aflame, before him.
And it clicks. The constant trudging through a field of hazy imagery intentionally plays on the depth of field and perception in a way meant to play along with his lyrics “keep perspective out my timeline.” Moving forward or backward or in place is irrelevant when one’s timeline has no structure, no shape. He bends perspective free of the constraints of reality, moving forward without gaining traction towards a destination, fazing in and out of the foreground. In all the beauty and mysticism embedded in the video, the symbolism remains pertinent without being too heavy-handed. It’s ghostly, enchanting, and it impeccably highlights Cautious Clay’s artistic eye and lyricism.
Photo Credits: PickUp Music