‘Her Eyes on Me’
MT. LOW is a London-based music duo, comprised of brothers Matt and Will Ritson. Matt is a pretty well-renowned photographer, and he and Will went on a roadtrip out West last year. Beginning at the church on the Hill of Prayer in Felicity, CA, the brothers had this kind of visualization/realization, at first realized through photo, but then they carried on, travelling east from Felicity to a town called Beatty, in Nevada. Matt’s rationale for this trip, as documented in the prominent photo magazine, Ignant, is worth reading in whole:
I’ve been taking photographs my whole life; my dad gave me my first camera to take pictures with on holiday and I never let it go. It’s my favourite way of recording. I wanted to capture the journey to Nevada almost like a diary, photographing each landscape we went through so I could remember how quiet and how empty it really was. Most of the people there have a story to tell, popping out of their shack, trailer, or truck, with invites to the local gun range and recounts of government bomb testing that wiped out a generation of ‘down-winders’. They seem to be okay with the comings and goings of everything around them, which appears to have either dried up or moved on, and won’t be back anytime soon.
With this came a profound realization, that what we tend to think of as emptiness is often harmful and a deeply personal vision. It felt like my brother and I were out to confront something together, there. Stood in the middle of nowhere with the reality of emptiness swallowing you up in every direction, with nowhere to go, nowhere else to be, and no self-delusion left to cling on to, you quickly learn to split your aces and accept that everything is going to be okay.
The photos from this trip are rather stunning, their muted, sun-faded colours perhaps not what one would expect in the desert, where we tend to think of browns and greens, not sun-muted blues. But it wasn’t just the stunning photography that came out of the roadtrip, but Matt and Will Ritson decided to make music together, and called themselves MT. LOW. They released their début single, ‘Fade (Into View),’ late last year, and dropped what they’re calling their début mixtape, Lost of Love, earlier this year.
‘Her Eyes on Me’ is a dreamy-sounding track, beginning with what sounds like the start of a film score, then supplemented by a thudding beat, a song slowly emerges. The song is anything but dreamy, though, as Will describes it:
This song is both heart-breaking and triumphant for me. The lyrics are based around a moment when my partner was taken into intensive care. I had to come to terms with a lot of things:loss, love and vulnerability.
Ouf. And yet, out of such a horrible time comes this beautiful song, a testament, perhaps to love.
The way in which the brothers make music is also of note, as they largely work separately, so the music is almost this documentation of what’s at hand to make the music, and then, as they put it together via email/WhatsApp/phone, the finished project emerges as a conservation between two brothers.
The visual for ‘Her Eyes on Me’ is rather stunning in and of itself. It features Matt dancing free form at sunset on the shoes of the Salton Sea in California. Forget all the stereotypes about Cali, the freedom, all that bullshit. Looking once again at that sky, the way the clouds are layered, the brilliance of the sunset colours, the ways in which those colours reflect on Matt, it does feel somewhat magical. The video was shot in a single take, by Will, with no music. Matt just danced. And there is a certain fragile beauty in that, in the human form, reflecting on the subject of the music, the alkaline flats of California, and the Earth itself.