VIDEO: eighth blackbird Releases Animated Short to Dessner's 'Pretty Polly'

To celebrate eighth blackbird's Grammy nomination for Filament, the group has released "Pretty Polly," a short animated film by Nathaniel Murphy, which uses Pretty Polly from Bryce Dessner's Murder Ballades (from Filament) as its soundtrack. In the murder ballad tradition, the music and film tell the macabre tale of a "melancholy" sailor who murders his young wife. Watch the short below!

Produced by Bryce Dessner, Filament centers around a live recording of Philip Glass's classic masterpiece Two Pages, and features world premiere recordings of music by Dessner, Nico Muhly, and Son Lux (Ryan Lott).

If Nathaniel Murphy's name sounds familiar, you may remember the charming monsters from his widely shared 2012 animation for Wilco's Sunloathe. He also animated an 18-minute film for live performance of Glenn Kotche's Monkey Chant and has done illustration and design for Wilco, Tweedy, Deerhoof/Raccoonists. (It also happens that he was a founding member of Lazer Crystal -- though he left to tour with Wilco as a technician -- and he performs his homemade electronics and tours his art internationally both solo and with his duo Loft, releasing records on his imprint, Seehrs.) The Chicago Reader ran a cover story on him and referred to his illustrations as "maniacally detailed" and "impressively meticulous", which you might notice especially in the trees of the "Pretty Polly" video.

eighth blackbird combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band, and the audacity of a storefront theater company. The Chicago-based, three-time GRAMMY Award-winning sextet has provoked and impressed audiences for 20 years across the country and around the world with impeccable precision and a signature style.

eighth blackbird's members (Nathalie Joachim, flutes; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets; Yvonne Lam, violin & viola; Nicholas Photinos, cello; Matthew Duvall, percussion; Lisa Kaplan, piano) hail from the Great Lakes, Keystone, Golden, EMPIRE and Bay states. The name "eighth blackbird" derives from the eighth stanza of Wallace Stevens's evocative, aphoristic poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (1917). eighth blackbird is managed by David Lieberman Artists. Nathalie Joachim is a Burkart Flutes & Piccolos artist, Michael J. Maccaferri is a D'Addario Woodwinds Artist. Matthew Duvall proudly endorses Pearl Drums and Adams Musical Instruments, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Zildjian Cymbals, and Black Swamp Percussion Accessories. Lisa Kaplan is a Steinway Artist. For more, visit

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