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Glass animals agnes

Glass Animals use technology to replicate the physical effects of grief

02 August 2017, 14:09 | Written by Laurence Day

Glass Animals have shared the immense visuals for "Agnes", the latest single from their Mercury Prize-nominated record How To Be A Human Being.

This video follows a string of ambitious cinematic (and oftentimes interactive) accompaniments to Glass Animals' singles. It's one of the most eye-catching of them all - in part because of the power of the track (one of our favourites from one of our favourite records of 2016), and in part because of the sheer agony in frontman Dave Bayley's face.

Bayley - who's actually put through incredibly testing physical conditions in the Eoin Glaister-directed video - explains more in a statement posted to Facebook.

"It’s hard to explain exactly how it feels inside a Human Centrifuge. You sit in a small egg-like pod about the size of a horse which hangs off a 50-foot steel horizontal frame. It looks like something out of a Bond villain’s lair. It’s claustrophobic and uncomfortable and also incredibly hot.

"Slowly the whole thing starts to rotate like a helicopter blade. Faster and faster until every part of you becomes crushed under the extreme gravity. It's like being slowly sat on by an elephant, or like your whole body being punched in slow motion. You have to flex every muscle and use every ounce of strength you have to keep going. Breathing requires serious effort. movement becomes incredibly strained and almost painful. Everything that once weighed five kilograms now weighs 50. It's difficult even to keep your eyes open. it hurts in places you really didn’t know existed. Veins and capillaries burst under the pressure and bruising begins. It's a rapid physical overdrive.

"The blood rushes from your brain making it impossible to think rationally or focus. Your eyes are also drained and you get tunnel vision… only able to see small circles of the world directly infront of you and your sight goes completely greyscale… no more colour. Your balance and spatial awareness goes and the world begins to spin like you’ve had way too much to drink. But the most striking thing is the way that the machine pulls on your heart: you can actually feel it struggling to beat and changing shape… flattening inside of your chest. It's similar to that horrible sinking, tugging heartache that comes only with complete and overwhelming sadness. And then you pass out.

"We ran the centrifuge 18 times while I tried to sing along to a song which I find difficult to listen to at the best of times.

"This was probably the most intense video-making experience I’ll ever have. But it's the only way that we could just about begin to simulate for a moment what happens within 'Agnes'."

When we spoke with Bayley about the album last year, he kept the song's meanings close to his chest: "It's my favourite song on the record. It was very hard to write... it's epically sad. It's a dark one but there's optimism. It still makes me sad to think about... singing it during the recording I was tearing up. It came so easily though, writing it I mean. I put in a lot of references from my favourite novels and to biblical passages."

How To Be A Human Being is out now via Wolf Tone.
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