King Tuff’s first song in four years opens with the ringing of alarm-like bells, as if they’re announcing the arrival of something, summoning you to lean in close and offer your undivided attention. “The Other”, which was released by Sub Pop Records today, follows King Tuff, born Kyle Thomas, through an unraveling: first, he wanders, lost and directionless. Next, he hears the bells, too, and they beckon him: “No reason to be alive at all, as far as I can tell / Except for one small detail like a distant ringing bell / And it keeps on calling out to me like a lost forgotten lover.” Then, he embarks on the strenuous trek of attempting to reignite creativity and impose meaning on his life.
The 6-minute track is accompanied by a dream-like video directed by Cameron Dutra that portrays that narrative visually. Silhouetted against a burning orange sky, a wispy figure — “The Other” — meets a car in the middle of an empty road, grabs the hand of the driver, and guides him up a hill, slowly at first, then breaking into a run. When they arrive at the peak they find a piano, and as he sits down to play, the figure begins dancing and eventually disappears. The video starts off ambiguously but ends on a sure, graspable note, not far from the trajectory of conviction that King Tuff has found upon his long-awaited return to music.
‘The Other’ is basically where songs come from. It’s the hidden world. It’s the mystery. It’s the invisible hand that guides you whenever you make something. It’s the thing I had to rediscover –the sort of voice I had to follow — to bring me back to making music again in a way that felt true and good.”
Watch the video for “The Other” above.