Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Thought Process Behind Brain Wave

Third in a series of music videos I created for Polyphasic for their upcoming DVD release on Magnanimous Records. I like being asked to interpret instrumental music because it is a purely musical interpretation; no lyrics to guide me.

Certain sound effects just before the turnaround in the song sound like spaceship thrusters. This and other bot-like noises throughout made me think of robots. So I set about sketching some robots (as seen in this previous post) with the idea that if I drew enough of them, these robots would start to tell me their story.

My first instinct was that the robots were invaders. I was in the 50's sci-fi thriller mode of thinking. But as I continued to work on these robots, they started to embody a sadness, an emptiness. Robots are, after all, hollow shells of men, and it's debated whether their "thoughts" will ever be legitimate, even once they cross the Turing threshold. These robots became, to me, a stand-in for the human condition; and because of their "everyman" appeal, became somehow more human than humans. Like meta-humans, trying to understand ... humans. My robot invaders had become robot archaeologists. Without giving too much away (as I like all of my pieces to be subject to endless interpretation) I will say that the final result contains a meditation on the nature of consciousness, albeit robot consciousness. It didn't occur to me until I was done that the title of the song - Brain Wave - fits perfectly in this respect, even though I hadn't considered it as a factor in my visual interpretation. Needless to say War is another primary theme, and a metaphysical aspect is presented at the end (after the homage to Powers of 10).

The song is very repetitive, almost trance-like, so I maintained a slow pacing (by today's standards) in the overall edit. Hopefully this reinforces the "meditative" quality of the piece, and doesn't just make it boring.

It was done in Photoshop and After Effects. The style is deceptively simplistic: it's actually quite the complex project from a technical standpoint, with nested compositions reaching almost twenty levels deep in places (the Motion Graphics geeks among you know what I'm talking about). I tried to keep everything feeling flat, even in the 3D shots, as a stylistic tie-in to the War Propaganda posters seen throughout.

Searchbot (seen here) is one of many digital "puppets" created for the project. I considered using Flash, but I rose to the challenge of figuring out puppets in After Effects. Having figured it out, next time I'll use Flash ;}

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