C Nelson-Lifson helms a serene parable for our collective capacity to grow.
UPDATE: Due to unforeseen circumstances the TS Foss release show that was originally scheduled for BarleyPop Live has been moved to Mickey’s Tavern. There will be a $10 suggested donation to support the traveling bands.
Two nights ago in Madison, it snowed. A few days after the first day of spring, we woke up to fresh powder on the ground. There’s an element of uncertainty when it comes to the turning of the seasons here, and that’s occasionally impacted the art Madisonians make. TS Foss’ new video for the excellent 2022 single “Grown Used To It“—which arrived well ahead of the project’s forthcoming album, Everything Finished—capitalizes on this dynamic to a gorgeous, naturalistic effect.
There’s an emphasis on nature in the “Grown Used To It” video from the opening shot. A decorative floral background gets some stop-motion treatment by way of block lettering that dances across the flowers to spell out the name of the production studio (Nebulous They), artist, and track. Nearly all of the floral illustrations are presented in a pale green (there are a few more pronounced petals of a much darker green) and set against a white backdrop. It’s a thesis that subtly teases the video’s focus on seasonal blurring while expertly keying viewers’ attention towards detail.
TS Foss’ Tyler Fassnacht and Nebulous They’s C Nelson-Lifson (who also writes about film for Tone Madison) have a long and proven history of collaboration, most notably as members of Proud Parents. Their innate understanding of each other’s material and creative impulses is central to what makes the video work; there’s a level of understatement and searing honesty to “Grown Used To It” that only comes by way of trust. When one of the central points of a piece is the seemingly all-encompassing quietude of personal uncertainty, one wrong step can shatter the effect. Here, that never happens, as Nelson-Lifson honors Fassnacht’s vision via a steady, knowing calmness that never wavers throughout many cuts and movements.
From a cinematography standpoint, the visuals are frequently lush and always expansive, capturing the enormity of Fassnacht’s environment while frequently downplaying his size within the composition. Yet, the way the environments function are shaped by Fassnacht’s movement, highlighting a back-and-forth between place and subject that doubles as a metaphor for realizing the impact of one’s self. For most of “Grown Used To It,” Fassnacht either travels toward or away from the camera, occasionally shown in side-profile. Structurally, this again plays into the recurrent themes of navigating change before finding acceptance.
“In some ways, I’ve grown used to it,” Fassnacht sings in the song’s chorus, “the silence after I speak.” Like the track itself, the sentiment is plaintive, expressive, and taps into a grounded, folksy type of wisdom. We’re all collectively plagued with moments of doubt. Whether we think about our inherent worth, our impermanence, our relationships to others, or our impact, most of us will be forced into moments of reckoning with how little we matter in the grand scale of the universe. But we can make peace with that, if we understand that in the present, we can genuinely make a difference among the lives of our friends, family, and community. Our time here is finite, so making the most of it for ourselves and those we care for remains essential.
“Grown Used To It” touches on as much by its dedication to nature itself; the trails Fassnacht traverses throughout the video have been here for some time. They’ll be here for some time longer. Their own nature, much like ours, is to change. To adjust. To persevere through passages of continuous growth. To push forward with time. By tenaciously cutting between the stark white of winter and the vibrant greens of the warmer months, “Grown Used To It” succeeds in drawing the parallels between our personal evolution and the evolution of the worlds we inhabit. “Grown Used To It” underscores the importance of embracing our place in the world and the importance the world plays as a silent, unflinching companion. Few things could be more comforting, or more beautiful.
TS Foss’ release show for Everything Finished is set to take place at Mickey’s Tavern on Friday, May 12, where the project (which is occasionally presented in a solo capacity) will be appearing as a six-piece. Chicago act Tommy Goodroad & The Highway Birds, Loveblaster, and Dusk will join them on the bill. There will be a $10 suggested donation to support the traveling bands. It’ll be well worth attendees’ time.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story contained different venue and pricing information for the release show. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the show has been moved and the piece has been updated to reflect those changes.