Ane Brun and Jose Gonzalez's Undersea Funeral : All Songs Considered The video for the Norwegian pop artist's "Worship" is a mysterious piece of a bigger story of death, grief and whales.
NPR logo Ane Brun and Jose Gonzalez's Undersea Funeral

Ane Brun and Jose Gonzalez's Undersea Funeral

Norwegian-born pop singer-songwriter Ane Brun makes music that fits well into the cinematic world. Her songs are brimming with life and energy while still touching on feelings of loss and self-doubt. Brun's new song with folk-singer Jose González's, "Worship," a single from her 2011 album It All Starts With One, feels fragile without sacrificing its elegant orchestral nature. The instrumentation is sparse — a slight guitar melody, a slow marching drum beat, and slightly-creepy strings. The focus is placed almost entirely on the interplay between González's understated backing repetitions of "You never worship your life" and Brun's clean, powerful voice.

We asked Brun about collaborating with Gonzalez for "Worship":

I have been wanting to work with Josè González for years, but I haven't felt that I've had the right song. And when he accepted to feature on "Worship" it felt almost as if the song was written for him and me. And still it is an old song that I've been waiting to record for years in the right way. The string arrangements towards the end by Joakim Milder is one of my personal highlights on my album.

You'll notice right away that you're missing a lot of context of Magnus Renfors' video for "Worship" when it opens with a sign that reads, "Finale." Turns out, "Worship" is the final piece of "One," a four-part video project between Renfors and Brun that depicts the fall of a powerful military leader. While the first and second pieces have not been released yet — making the plot slightly difficult to understand — you can watch the third segment (the peppier but just as sad "Do You Remember") on Brun's website. "Worship's" final segment finds the old man coming to terms with his past and embracing his fate. We cut between the stage-like reality and his ocean-filled fantasy. All the images might not fully make sense, but they're all beautiful and rich.

In an email, director Magnus Renfors told us about visualizing Brun's music:

Ane's music is like a great ocean housed under the roof of a great old theater, where pictures are hung from the threads of the music shooting out, so it really does the job itself. That said, the images require a certain height at a substantively dramatic level, otherwise the music, sometimes so sublime and skin tingling, can rush over the head of the visual aspects. Ane and I have done stuff together since 2003 and already on the last album we talked about doing something bigger, more coherent, and this time it was really the one.

Brun's latest album, It All Starts with One, will be out in the US on May 1st from [PIAS] America.