Project Blackbird’s ‘Baby Giant’ is a track from their album If This Is The End which I reviewed for its release back in March this year. The song has a gentle bounce to it moving from an opening which sounds like the susurration of a stream to a syncopated groove that bubbles throughout the track. The band handle the dynamic aspects of the song and allow vocalist Ming Nagel to utilise the velvet of her voice to full effect when narrating or singing the lyrics. Along with Nagel, the band are core members Jon Read (keyboards, Flugelhorn, vocals), Alan Roberts (guitar) and Jamie Varley (bass) and the track also includes tablas from Hari Trivedi. ‘Baby Giant’ also shows what a fine guitar player Alan Roberts is and, as well as hanging back on the track playing tiny accented chords, he gets to unfurl his wings and soar with a solo that would no doubt get a nod of approval from Larry Carlton, the soloist in Steely Dan’s ‘Don’t Take Me Alive’.
The video was born out of the fact that the band don’t always feel comfortable being in front of the camera and so they turned to the work of puppet maker Tony Sinnet. He was originally contacted back in 2020 when Project Blackbird were producing their album, and given choice of three tracks to work on. The fact that the song was inspired by Leonora Carrington’s surrealist painting The Giantess and the Egg sparked Sinnet’s imagination and he has produced a video in which a hooded figure drinks a potion and goes on a fantastical journey through space, a monochromatic woodland and so much more. Dark hues of brown and black pervade the video and you can almost smell the smoke from the fire and the petrichor of the forest. In a world where CGI dominates it’s great that there are still people who are willing to move plasticine millimetres at a time or, like Sinnet, create amazing puppets and, with the help of Amy Pilling, build wonderfully detailed sets to put them in. Ming says of Sinnet’s puppetry: “Like the best fairy tales your style juxtaposes whimsy and darkness, wonder and pain. I think much of the beauty is in that balance”.
There is also a version of the video which also contains an interview with Tony which you can see here. It’s an insightful look at the art of the puppet maker and the creative, laborious, and ultimately rewarding process that leads from idea to execution.
Review by Paul F Cook