New animated music vid explores lockdown-exacerbated problems

London-based director and animator Matt Hutchings has created the dystopian CG music video for Orbiting, the new single from Brighton singer-songwriter Fable.

The video's concept is as a social commentary on the problems that Covid-19 lockdown has exacerbated and brought into sharp relief around mental health, domestic abuse, poverty, isolation among elderly people and general unrest.

"We decided to adopt an animated CG art style for the video, introducing a high contrast, neon-lit aesthetic to help sell the gritty theme of the song," says Hutchings. "Holly was very clear with her vision for the video, wanting to drift past different apartments and characters filled with metaphors exploring themes of disconnection and apathy."

These themes were addressed stylistically by giving the video the feel of having been shot as one long take, in which the viewer drifts through various rooms as a passive observer, rather than active participant.

According to Hutchings, one of the main challenges in creating the video was animated the faces of all of the supporting characters. The solution? Place helmets on their head, "removing their identity, and thus bolstering that sense of alienation whilst overcoming a technical hurdle."

The director adds, "I felt it would be a nice idea to bookend the video by having the Fable character end up detained back in the 'asylum' from the start of the video, almost promoting the idea that this is an endless cycle—'orbiting,' so to speak."

This is the second single released by Fable on Naim Records since her return to music last year, having taken some time out from making music following a period of depression and burnout. She is an ambassador for mental health charity My Black Dog. She says that she wanted the video to have "a feeling of captivity and apathy, but with a connection."

She adds, "I also wanted to comment on the world being viewed through the lens of social media, and the echo chamber of algorithmic opinion... we wanted to subvert the preconceptions of a 3D animation and clash it with dystopian themes that you wouldn't expect to be explored in that medium."


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