"The greatest stories ask the biggest questions," budding animation artist Alex Sopp replied when I asked about the video she's created for "Sunset Boulevard," a song from First, the upcoming album by the new music sextet yMusic.
Sopp is better known as the group's flutist, but lately has been honing her considerable skill with quaint, and clever, stop-motion animation, creating and painting all of her characters, scenes and props. Be on the lookout for stratospheric jelly fish...
"Sunset Boulevard" threads together several storylines, each exploring concepts of rise and descent. There's Joe Kittinger, the U.S. Airforce captain who skydived from 102,000 feet in 1960, Sopp's own fascination with platform diving and her brother's penchant for deep ocean dives.
The music for "Sunset Boulevard," as with the rest of the album, is by longtime yMusic collaborator Ryan Lott, founder of the band Son Lux. The song's slow and tranquil trumpet theme solidly grounds the piece, while contrasting winds and strings flutter above and beneath; perfect for Sopp's earth, sea and sky motif. (Fans of mid-20th century French chamber music might even hear distant echoes of Darius Milhaud and Jean Francaix.)
So what are the "big questions" here? While crafting the video around the music, she came up with a few thoughts, which work equally well as aphorisms for good living: "Maybe we need to fall the fastest to feel the stillest. Maybe we need to dive the deepest to feel the nearest. Maybe we need to jump the highest to feel the realest."
(First, by yMusic, is released Feb. 17.)