Some of the best songs have nearly reached or broke the 10-minute mark. Bruce Springsteen serenaded in length on Born to Run‘s “Jungleland,” Nina Simone kept growling through “Sinnerman,” Bauhaus crept along on “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” there’s the lengthy crunch of Metallica’s “…And Justice for All,” Television nearly hit the 10-minute-mark on “Marquee Moon,” and David Bowie opened big on his final “Blackstar.” After a six-year hiatus, Marketa Irglova wasn’t following any three- to four-minute song length rules when she was crafting “Quintessence,” an ethereal ode to Mother Nature.
Running right on 10 minutes, “Quintessence” is the Czech-born Irglova’s “love poem to Mother Nature,” an orchestral track inspired by the Summer Solstice and The Ark, an environmental movement founded by her friend Mary Reynolds.
Recorded at Irglova’s Masterkey Studios studio in Iceland, which she built with her partner Sturla Mio Thorisson, “Quintessence,” which features guest appearances from German ambient artist Aukai (Markus Sieber) and Iceland’s Emiliana Torrini, unravels in a dreamlike state. Shimmering in its melancholic melodies, “Quintessence” is blanketed in textured orchestration that recaptures a nostalgia and innocence of childhood, and of pure wonderment.
Directed by Irglova, with additional footage by photographer Jónatan Grétarsson, the video was shot over several weeks in June 2020. Irglova’s two daughters Karítas Árný Sturludóttir and Árveig Mía Sturludóttir, who are prominently featured in the videos, drove with her to several locations outside of Reykjavík, where she captured them, naturally, in some of their favorites places.
“Given that the song is about our connection with nature, and the feeling of stillness, presence, and awareness wild places imbue our hearts with, it seemed only natural the visuals should invite those very feelings,” Irglova tells American Songwriter. “I remember them most intensely from my childhood, when spending all hours outdoors in warm summer days was the most magical and fun thing there was.”