Director’s Cut: Arcade Fire: "We Used to Wait"

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From Sean Paul’s “Gimme the Light” to Genesis’ “Land of Confusion”, great music videos are bursts of sound and vision that leave an indelible impression. Director’s Cut is a Pitchfork News feature in which we chat with music video directors about their creations. The men and women behind the camera are often overlooked in today’s YouTube era, but this feature aims to highlight their hard work while showcasing the best videos currently linking around the internet. A little behind-the-scenes dirt couldn’t hurt, too.

Arcade Fire‘s “We Used to Wait” is a different type of music-video experience. It’s one that you can only watch on a computer (and a high-functioning computer at that), but more importantly, one that brings the viewer’s own childhood associations into the work. “We Used to Wait”, which you can watch here, uses Google Street View images of your first house, turning old memories inside-out and drawing them into a series of images that won’t leave your head anytime soon. Simply from a technological standpoint, it’s pretty staggering, and it suggests lots of future possibilities for the medium. But it’s also a fiercely affecting piece of art, the sort of thing that can send your brain down all kinds of rabbit holes.

Director Chris Milk has been responsible for plenty of memorable clips in the past, like Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky” and Gnarls Barkley’s “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul?”, but he’s never done anything quite like this before. We talked with Milk over email about the ideas and challenges involved in putting a work like this together.

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