It’s possible to over-emote how profound and evocative the connection between music and place can be. So first, just watch this:
Anyone who has read this blog knows of my love for canyons and the epiphanies that rock, water, and sky can beget. What Andrew Bird and Tyler Manson have done in this film is show the sacredness of a Canyon, how those cliff walls, how the slow trickle of time, how the austere span of a natural bridge (in this case, Coyote Natural Bridge in Coyote Gulch, Escalante, Utah) are manifestations of something divine. I love Andrew Bird’s music (how can you not love someone who does this and this?), but for me, his whistling and plucking in this film are secondary to the music of the place itself: his footsteps through the thin stream, his murmured awe when he enters the canyon, the silence of his scramble over slick rock. Even the way the light plays off the Navajo sandstone and filters through the cottonwoods is music. I look at the shadowy figure of Bird, dwarfed by the cottonwoods, themselves dwarfed by the canyon walls, and realize that music is equal to the task of the long arc of geologic time: an expression of the dwarfing nature of Sacredness, Divinity. I am in awe of this film. And, yes, awe is the proper word.