Experimental folk duo, Lean Year (Emilie Rex and filmmaker Rick Alverson) have returned with their new single “Panes” — an ethereal, pop lament about the paralysis of miscommunication and uncertainty, the condition of between stuck between states. “Panes” comes accompanied by a stark, haunting video directed by Alverson and produced in their living room during the early days of quarantine. It features Rex caked in white clay, both young and old, caught midway between the saintly and the monstrous.
Lean Year recorded “Panes” over the course of two sessions at label-mate Erik Hall’s rural Michigan studio, with Hall (whose recent rendition of Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians revisited the seminal work to great effect) engineering and playing bass, and Elephant Micah’s Matt O’Connell contributing drums. The song was produced by Alverson and Hall. The first session took place in the seeming stability of late fall 2019, the second in the early spring of 2020 as daily life in the U.S. unraveled into self-isolation. The single reflects the tension between these two seasons: ostensible security and a deep fragility that’s always present, yet easily ignored. “Panes” sees its release today via Western Vinyl and is available on all streaming platforms here.