Postal Service Such Great Heights In Skyworks Factory

Postal Service has hit the blogosphere news in the last week with the release of an Apple TV commercial closely resembling their 2003 music video for ‘Such Great Heights’. (See my post at here for more on the Apple Intel Factory commercial.) The music video starts in darkness, with an electronic music loop. The lights come on to reveal a revolving disk in a machine. The camera cuts to a long white corridor. In a dressing room technicians put on their white space-suit-like clothes. It’s now we see that they’re working for Skyworks. See the pocket of the man as he zips up his suit and the name on his back as he walks down the corridor.

Postal Service Such Great Heights music video


Vocals begin, with a reference to mirror images connecting to the man’s reflection in the corridor’s walls. The two main characters, a male and female, interact with each other as they oversee wafer fabrication – building integrated circuits on silicon wafers. As the song refers to ‘such great heights’ the camera takes into a close up of a Skyworks chip, then zooms out to reveal its context, a satellite orbiting the Earth. In a Google-Earth kind of shot we zoom back down to Earth for an aerial shot of the Skyworks factory. The shot becomes a diagnostic view on a wafer inspection screen. The spot finishes with the woman inserting a disk back into its original place. The two inspectors walk off down different corridors.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)

Postal Service

Postal Service is an indietronic band featuring singer Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and producer Jimmy Tamborello of Dntel, Headset and Figurine. ‘Such Great Heights’ was released on January 21, 2003 and then featured on the album, “Give It Up” on February 18, 2003. The song has featured in television commercials and movie trailers.

The name of the band comes from the way in which the songs were composed by Gibbard in Seattle and Tamborello in Los Angeles. Tamborello created the beats and posted them to Gibbard on CD-Rs. Gibbard would edit them on his computer, add guitars, drums, keyboards and his melodies, then post them back. Once the tracks were finished Gibbard would write the lyrics.

The album ‘Give Up’ was released by label Sub Pop.

United States Postal Service sent the band a ‘cease and desist’ letter in 2004, demanding that they change their name. However after negotiations an arrangement was made to continue with the name in exchange for use of the band’s music in US Postal Service advertising. The US Postal Service in turn agreed to sell the band’s music on their web site.

When the band sold their first half a million CDs and won a Gold Record award in 2005 the USPS posted their congratulations in a news release (see it online). Azeezaly S. Jaffer, on behalf of USPS, wrote, “This achievement is clearly music to their ears and we in the Postal Service want them to know that they’ve clearly got our stamp of approval and best wishes for future success.”

Credits

Such Great Heights was shot by directors Josh & Xander (Josh Melnick and Xander Charity) via Partizan (now Radical Media).

Commercials

Many people have commented on the similarities between the Apple Intel ad and the Such Great Heights music video. In fact the coincidence is no coincidence. The directors of ‘Such Great Heights’ were also the directors of Apple ‘Factory’. Both the Apple ‘Intel’ commercial and the Postal Service music video were filmed on location at a Skyworks factory.

“Such Great Heights”, performed by Iron & Wine, was used on the Garden State film soundtrack in 2004 and in an M&M television commercial in 2005. “Such Great Heights” was also used in commercials for Kaiser Permanente and featured in the soundtrack for the TV series, Grey’s Anatomy. See the Garden State trailer here.

Postal Service Such Great Heights Music Video – Confide Music on iTunes

Iron and Wine: Such Great Heights on iTunes

Lyrics for Such Great Heights

I am thinking it’s a sign
that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images
and when we kiss they’re perfectly aligned.
And I have to speculate
that God himself did make
us into corresponding shapes
like puzzle pieces from the clay.

And true, it may seem like a stretch
but it’s thoughts like this that catch
my troubled head when you’re away
when I am missing you to death
when you are out there on the road
for several weeks of shows
and when you scan the radio
I hope this song will guide you home.

They will see us waving from such great heights,
“Come down now”, they’ll say
but everything looks perfect from far away,
“Come down now”, but we’ll stay…

I tried my best to leave
this all on your machine
but the persistent beat it sounded thin
upon listening
and that frankly will not fly.
You will hear the shrillest highs
and lowest lows with the windows down
when this is guiding you home.
They will see us waving from such great heights,
“Come down now”, they’ll say
but everything looks perfect from far away
“Come down now”, but we’ll stay…

  • Anonymous

    How certain are you that the Apple video was filmed at Skyworks? The video shows material handling equipment for 12″ wafers, when Skyworks only has a 4″ wafer fab.

  • Anonymous

    Intel said they provided the stock footage in an unrelated “interview” when they expressed a little disappointment at how the end of the Ad was worded

    the actor related material may have been shot at the same location, although the actors are handling the much larger wafer there as well.