Active Child Releases ‘1999’ Video

– by Hannah Nissen

Active Child’s sophomore release Mercy was unveiled earlier this month, and what better way to welcome the return of the man himself, Pat Grossi by giving the public a soothing conflation of light and dark manifestations, evident in the new music video for ‘1999’ that was released on the first of this month.

This surrealist clip is hauntingly beautiful for a theme so somber. It is adorable, in an eerie gloom sort of way. Think Where The Wild Things Are meets Spirited Away, but if someone added a Boy and Bear song, and a Valencia filter on it.

The cinematography is a heartbreaking blend of aesthetically pleasing palette against layers of emotive scenery. Balancing the composition of film-grain, juniper greens against chestnut grain and dirt, the clip perpetuates the bittersweet composure in the “life we’re living.” The holistic nuances bleed a rustic simplicity, leaving nothing but a pensive ambience for the music to reign supreme, in resonating proportions.

Even as I describe the plot, I realize it will come across as creepy, however, that’s why I believe the piece to be so well made. Opening in the woods with an anthropomorphic sheep creature carrying a beautiful young girl, going in and out of consciousness, dressed in very little down to the river bank. However, the girl is half naked…in the most innocent way imaginable. As I write this I can hear the connotations that we, as a society hear, however the clip sheds light on confronting situations, in this instance, death, in a childlike manner, and although we think it should be unsettling, it isn’t. A perfect mix between light and dark, good and evil. Balance.


The smog blocking the pine lingers, cutting through gorgeous landscapes and successfully awaking my desire for answers. As she opens her eyes slightly, to the creature rowing her down the bank to wade through dead pieces of fern, to meet three more unidentifiable beings, two of which look like the Kaonashi enigma from Spirited Away, except with a loyalty card to Spotlight. They all carry the girl across a mountain plain. While the lateral shots present characters absorbed in their surroundings, the pivoting and consistently centered camera shots work to highlight the stylized symmetry, and reminds me of the tableau styling Wes Anderson embraces in his work, except instead of jumping to shots, the tableus appear to float and meld into the next one.

1999 encompasses a harmonic melody and strong layered vocal similar to that of James Blake. I honestly have no answers to this video. I wish I did, but ultimately, I believe the aim is to support the music, and act as a way to encompasses patterns and palliative textures to an already rich-bodied tune. If you haven’t already, definitely check it out for yourself, maybe you will see it a completely different way…


That’s the beauty of it. It can be seen in any way by anyone.

(Side Note – does anyone else think the mop creatures nose looks suspiciously Wu-tanged? Hidden Wu-genda? Illuminati.)

Mercy – available on iTunes now.


Photo Credit: Active Child

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *