The artist’s latest release combines footage shot on a bike ride from Brooklyn to an empty Times Square with electric animation to illustrate his song about “… going to the depths and end of yourself, where there is good hidden in the darkness”
In an era where news of every tragedy is pinged directly to our pockets, it’s not only hard to wrap your head around the horror but difficult to determine whether things are truly worse than ever or, well, whether we’re just more informed.
And goddamn, it certainly seems like the former. But while this period feels particularly unforgiving, relentless in its delivery of challenges and cruelties—and while the specifics of today’s crises are, by any standard, uniquely terrifying—as Brooklyn artist Jamison Wake begins his newest song, “Racing Heart”: “‘Terrible times we’re living in,’ says everyone who’s ever lived…”
In other words: Suffering is nothing new, and human feelings of fear and hopelessness are certainly nothing novel.
But there is a source of hope, and it comes in remembering that we’re not alone. That—even as we are bombarded by new fears, smothered by existing anxieties and dealing with both external and internal issues—we have deep inside us a place of power and peace to cope, reflect and imagine (+ do our part to create!) a better world.
That’s the idea, I believe, of “Racing Heart.” And while it may have been written pre-pandemic, the song feels custom-fitted to get through these strange times. Something to not only listen to, but—with a line that reads and repeats like a mantra (“Go, go, go to your racing heart…”) — meditate on, as we move through this weird world.
“‘Racing Heart’ is a song I wrote and recorded while experiencing some mental health mess,” Wake recently told me over email recently. “It’s about fear of life and death, wrestling with angels and demons, going to the depths and end of yourself, where there is good hidden in the darkness. I always intended to get it mixed by a true pro as part of an album, but late this spring I decided it felt right for these anxious times so I put in the work myself to let it out ahead of time. I hope it will encourage people that they’re not alone, to be unafraid to sit still with their fears, to investigate and travel to the source, to get underneath, where there is space for transformation.”
Along with the song’s beautiful message, the artist also filled us in on the “Racing Heart” music video (premiering here!), which features accelerated footage of the eerily empty streets of New York, flowing and flashing through floating and twisting pink and blue vessels.
“I took the video footage from atop my bike on a sunny day in early April when the streets of Manhattan were still mostly empty from our collective terror as tens of thousands of our neighbors perished. I took a route from my home in Brooklyn to the heart of New York City, which is to say to the heart of America in so many ways. I kept thinking ‘My God, Times Square, empty!’ How quickly we had been brought to the bottom. We had been silenced and made still by suffering. You could pause and take it all in, you could meander unrestrained, you could breathe, you could be –– right there in the center of the world’s circus. I wondered then what good might be waiting for us at the end of this as individuals and as a people, if only we would all go to our racing hearts. I worked with my friend Thaddaeus Andreades who added the animation; he did such great work and it is now a beautiful little piece of pandemic art. I hope you are encouraged. Be all manner of well, friends, and thanks for paying attention.”
“Racing Heart”––the song and the video!––are out everywhere now for your consumption, comfort, consideration and meditation.
Listen, watch, enjoy and be well, everyone. And please keep taking care of yourselves—
Check out the video on YouTube here! Buy music on Bandcamp, add Jamison Wake to your Spotify playlists, follow the artist on Instagram @jamisonwake and keep up with it all at jamisonwake.com.
Plus! Find Jamison’s Brooklyn itineraries for warm + cold weather here.