David Gilmour’s new video “Rattle That Lock” pays homage to Gustave Doré and Milton’s “Paradise Lost”

By on August 3, 2015

Next month, David Gilmour will release Rattle That Lock on September 16, 2015 — it’s his first solo album since his 2006 #1 album On An Island, and he’ll also launch his first tour since 2008 to support it — and just a few days ago he released this ambitious animated video for the album’s title track.

Costa Book Of The Year Award

According to Rolling Stone, the hand-drawn animation depicts various facets from John Milton’s Paradise Lost, from which Gilmour’s long-term writing partner, novelist and wife Polly Samson, drew her inspiration. Paradise Lost‘s Book II also features in her own recently acclaimed novel, The Kindness. Milton’s poem itself encompasses twelve books, concerning the Biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.


The video was created by Alasdair Brotherston and Jock Mooney from London-based production house Trunk Animation, under the creative directorship of Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis, the design group that created iconic images for Dark Side of the Moon, Meddle, Atom Heart Mother, Obscured by Clouds, Wish You Were Here, Animals and other classic Pink Floyd albums. Brotherston and Mooney, alongside producer Richard Barnett, assembled a team of twelve animators, artists and compositors, who worked continuously over three months, taking their main inspiration from the first three books of Paradise Lost, while also drawing on details from across all twelve volumes. The film follows the fall of Satan from the kingdom of Heaven and his subsequent journey through Pandemonium, Purgatory and Chaos on his way to corrupt the virgin Earth.


The animation also pays homage to Gustave Doré, the French artist, engraver, illustrator and sculptor known for his illustrations of Poe, Cervantes, and Dante Alighieri’s epic poem The Divine Comedy.

“I think the animators have done a fine job: paying homage to Gustave Doré,” Samson said in a statement, “bringing his illustrations for Paradise Lost alive, making a powerful visual for the song.”


The song itself begins with the four notes, created by Michaël Boumendil, which precede announcements at French SNCF railway stations which David Gilmour recorded on his iPhone at Aix-en-Provence station. The single also features The Liberty Choir and singers Mica Paris and Louise Marshall.


The new album is co-produced by David Gilmour and Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera. Rattle That Lock’s striking cover has been art directed by Dave Stansbie from The Creative Corporation, under the creative directorship of Aubrey Powell from Hipgnosis.

David Gilmour will be undertaking some live dates in support of the album: across Europe in 2015 and in North America in March / April 2016. See Gilmour’s website for details.

More Doré: He was already the highest-paid illustrator in France, with popular editions of Rabelais and Balzac under his belt, but Doré was unable to convince his publisher, Louis Hachette, to finance such an ambitious and expensive project. The young artist decided to pay the publishing costs for the first book himself. When the illustrated Inferno came out in 1861, it sold out fast. Hachette summoned Doré back to his office with a telegram: “Success! Come quickly! I am an ass!”


Doré’s Eight Circle of Hell illustration for Dante Illigheri’s epic Inferno

(h/t Rolling Stone and Open Culture)

About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.