Start, stop. Start, stop. Start again, then pause the video when you see the cartoon. You'll do that a lot watching James Blake's new video for "Can't Believe The Way We Flow" from his fourth studio album Assume Form. It's like a scrapbook of faces and places, gradually connecting together while bird poop rains from the sky and eggs get scrambled in pans. That's a wild description, but just keep playing and pausing the video at different points and you'll see.
There's a lot going on in "Can't Believe The Way We Flow" that opens your eyes, but perhaps its most shocking initial move is to show us a shiny leather jumpsuit that looks like it's straight out of a horror movie. Blake, who's only in the video for a few seconds, makes a quiet first appearance, sitting on a bench, pondering the intricacies of the universe. He looks up to the sky and gets bird pooped drizzled on his brow, and then we're taken into this vast Rolodex of spaces and faces.
The leather jumpsuit worn by an unidentified elderly man, an exotic dancer lacing up her heels, lovers saying their goodbyes for the day in the doorway while one holds a cat – these scenes and more are snapshots of the energy that exists within the world. Like a storm, faces begin swirling and flying in front of the camera at blinding speeds as if propelled by wind, showing an entire community of people. We're eventually shown faces coming together for kisses and other kinds of embraces. It's energy connecting to synthesize new beginnings and it's beautiful to watch. The bird poop manifests itself again at the end, quite possibly even grosser than before. But it's all in the magically realistic world that Blake has prepared for us.
Take a look at James Blake's "Can't Believe The Way We Flow" video up above.