“Ecstasy Of An Ant” comes from Portland trio Woolen Men, whose sixth album, “Human to Human,” was just released Nov. 22. The song’s chugging bassline and melodic guitar make it a total earworm, while its midtempo pacing gives more space for vocalist Lawton Browning.
The trippy video was done by Portland projection artist Colin Manning, who uses all kinds of found footage – microscopic cells and volcanic eruptions, family vacations and science illustrations – played forwards and backwards and split by mirrors to create a florid visual accompaniment that underlines key lyrical moments of the song.
Lawton Browning: “I first met Colin Manning at the now defunct Projection Museum, his gallery/performance space off 82nd.. It instantly reminded me of the funky lost Portland of my youth, in particular the ‘everything’ store Wacky Willy’s, where I spent many happy hours as a child… Colin himself seemed like a kid too, the kind of hippy-punk hybrid you don’t see much around anymore… I was un-surprised when he told me of his own youth serving vegetarian food in a San Francisco Hare Krishna Temple.. In the case of this video his process involved wrangling 3 cantankerous 16mm projections machines and his signature mix of found footage to create film collage.. One of the machines caught on fire while we were filming, he was totally unfazed.. I loved the machines too, they seemed like his beloved pets to me, like the way an old car starts if you turn the key right. I was very happy to involve him in our projects, as a key element in Woolen Men videos is collaborative surprise…
“‘Ecstasy of an Ant’ comes from my own lingering obsessions with ‘downtown’ funky music, the ‘clean’ sounds of the 80’s (particularly Sade’s remarkable backing band) and a desire to step away from our usual musical habits as a group. The crucial elements are Rafael’s circular beat, which naturally responds to my repetitive guitar figure in a way the surprises me every time I listen to it and Alex G’s ‘session’ style restless funk bassline. I’m still not sure quite how we got so quickly to where we did… Lightning in a bottle I guess…”