New music: Beth Orton – Magpie

The distorted, sun-bleached video for this soaring new song transports us into a desert of heat strokes and hallucinations

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Talking to Rolling Stone about Magpie, the first single to be lifted from her new album Sugaring Season (her first since 2006's Comfort of Strangers), Beth Orton described her fascination with birds and how the song was her attempt at "keeping my voice and a sense of freedom alive".

Building slowly from delicately plucked acoustic guitar and distant cello, the song morphs into a soaring tribute to not being silenced, Orton's distinctive voice buffeted by skipping drums and intricate string arrangements.

Directed by frequent Sigur Rós collaborators Arni & Kinski and styled by avant-garde costume designer Hrafnhildur Hólmgeirsdóttir, the distorted, sun-bleached video – premiered here – takes its influence from Derek Jarman's In the Shadow of the Sun. "Inspired by Beth's song and feeling this film needed to be pushed into an unexpected, new, mysterious and exhilarating place, we took a trip to the high altitude desert of the great Colorado sand dunes," the directors explained about the video shoot. "A trip of trust, a trip into the unknown, heat strokes, hallucinations and magic."

• Both Magpie and Sugaring Season are released on 1 October via Anti- records.


Michael Cragg

The GuardianTramp

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