PJ Harvey returns April 15 with the new album “The Hope Six Demolition Project,” her first release since “Let England Shake” in 2011. The video for the song “The Wheel” finds the 46-year-old singer-songwriter collaborating with Seamus Murphy, a photographer and filmmaker who has documented strife in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Murphy did the video series “12 Short Films” for that 2011 album, and his photographs accompanied Harvey’s collection of poems, “The Hollow of The Hand,” published last October.
“The song ‘The Wheel’ has the journey to Kosovo at its center. Who is to say what else has influenced and informed its creation? The sight of a revolving fairground wheel in Fushe Kosove/Kosovo Polje near the capital Pristina is the concrete reference point for the title,” Murphy says, recalling their 2011 trip there. “It was a passing observation of a commonplace image, one of many that day. … Was that sight alone the inspiration for the song? Without being told the stories of people who had suffered during the war, without visiting villages abandoned through ethnic cleansing and cycles of vengeance, without experiencing the different perceptions of people with shared histories, could the song have been written?”
The video mixes footage from that trip in 2011, Harvey’s rehearsals in London and another trip to Kosovo last year, when the refugee crisis was making headlines. Says Murphy: “The idea of cycles, wheels and repetition once again being all too apparent and necessary to make.”
||| Watch: The video for “The Wheel”