Daily Dose: Braids, "Eclipse (Ashley)"

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Daily Dose: Braids, "Eclipse (Ashley)"

Daily Dose is your daily source for the song you absolutely, positively need to hear every day. Curated by the Paste Music Team.

Braids have released their first new song of this year, “Eclipse (Ashley),” which will appear on a yet-to-be-named forthcoming album coming next year on Secret City Records. The sublime song draws its influence from ideas as universal as the stars and as intimate as friendship to craft a uniquely divine single.

“Eclipse (Ashley)” is a song of devotion, not to a lover or a god, but to lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s best friend Ashely Obscura, after whom the song is named. Humbled by the sight of a solar eclipse, Standell-Preston uses this unique cosmic event to meditate on the human relationships that surround her. Over a meandering piano line, she gathers her grand thoughts with Björk-like exuberance, singing, “Myself, at the age of 27 / Questioning that the universe doesn’t trust in me, have a plan for me.” Despite the lack of universal structure, Standell-Preston finds solace in the company of her friend, which is arguably as spiritual as the skies.

The gorgeous video for the single, directed, lensed and edited by Nina Vroemen, uses its slowly moving shots to stress the importance of experiencing nature’s beauty in the present. Shots of Standell-Preston singing are separated by images of natural scenery—a group of dandelions, sunlight shining through a tree canopy, an insect flying from a branch. The video leads up to the song’s climax with a powerful shot of Standell-Preston and Obscura embracing in the midst of a forest with a transparent sheet draped over their heads, giving imagery to the song’s theme of friendship.

Standell-Preston explains where the celestial inspiration for this track was found. On a car ride to view the total solar eclipse, Obscura made a resonant observation to the group:

Amongst the chatter Ashley said, “We should take this opportunity to think about what eclipses us in our lives.” Bam. Refocus. We all took this sentiment with us as we sat on the side of the quarry, as the moon came to hug the sun. We sat in silence perched amongst the tall grass, the wildflowers, the rocks and glistening water, closed eyes, reflecting. Returning to the studio, the song poured out of us in one shot.

Watch the “Eclipse (Ashley)” video and listen to a 2010 Braids performance from the Paste archives below.