Over the course of Old Earth‘s decade-long run, Todd Umhoefer’s personal project has managed to create some gorgeous and moving recordings in some rather unconventional locations. His 2012 effort, A Low Place At The Old Place, was written and captured in the basement of a generations-old Menomonee Falls home shrouded in recent loss. Not long after that, he gave Milwaukee a Scottish souvenir in the form of a series of field recordings be made on the streets of Edinburgh. Since then, he briefly relocated to northern California to write and release more music, before eventually winding up back in his native Wisconsin.
This September, Old Earth’s vast catalog will grow when Umhoefer releases his next movement, Beast Of Needs. Prior to that album’s September 4 release—and September 6 release show at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn—the thoughtful craftsman shot a music video for the record’s single. Fittingly, it was filmed somewhere unique and special.
A few weeks ago, while “church-sitting” at the Muza Church art studio of wetplate photographer Margaret Muza, Umhoefer was struck with a dash of inspiration. Enamored with the setting, he decided to make what he called “a dream recording session” out of his time at the South Milwaukee chapel-turned-creative space. He says he then called upon Nathaniel Heuer of Hello Death to film him, “not so much to document the process, but to see what we could come up with in the space.” After finding an aural sweet spot at the rear of the church, plans changed. They would shoot a music video.
With help of Heuer’s camerawork and audio engineering assistance from Lawton Hall of The Chair Company, Umhoefer was able to quickly turn around “I Saw The Light And I Liked It.” Noting the lyrics weren’t completed by the time his videographer arrived, the Old Earth mastermind says he “permissively cribbed” a few lines from Christopher Porterfield to tie loose ends. The final product is something stripped and sincere, blunt and beautiful, and something patently in Old Earth’s wheelhouse. Before Beast Of Needs is released, take a trip to church to watch the “I Saw The Light And I Liked It” music video now.