Devil Eyes: Ultra Video Remix Hyperversion

Posted by othiym23 Wed, 02 Apr 2008 09:13:13 GMT

Courtesy of Joel Johnson, I found out that Paul Robertson has a new animation out. It’s a hearty 320MiB AVI file (I recommend downloading it via BitTorrent) and is a worthy sequel (this time in color) to Robertson’s indescribable masterpiece Pirate Baby Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006. To describe both videos as unholy apocalyptic freakouts is to do them inadequate justice; anyone who ever played Dodonpachi or Metal Slug X and felt that the boss battles just weren’t ridiculous enough needs to give this a look. It really makes former brainbursters like the Emergency Broadcast Network and Tetsuo: The Iron Man look tame. Impossibly dense seas of pixelated pop trash iconography flit by on torrents of blood at 30 hallucinatory, psychedelic frames per second; Paul is quite possibly the most skilled artist of Generation x-chan.

Integral to Robertson’s complex eschatological imagery is the soundtrack, both to Pirate Baby and (especially) to Kings of Power 4 Billion %, and fittingly enough, Robertson gives full credit to the soundtrack’s creator, Cornel Wilczek. Wilczek really goes balls-out on this one, producing disjointed industrial prog-metal electronica that wanders between amped up Clark and something like a more traditionally death metal version of Meshuggah. The guitars are a little rudimentary, but occasionally reach for a sort of Robert Fripp lunacy that, combined with the rest of the swampy, dense electronic mix and the eyeball-searing, brain-violating visuals creates a pure gestalt, a solid block of crushed and compacted pop culture that requires time, attention, and no predisposition towards epilepsy to decode.

Wilczek and Robertson are a natural team, and for a case study that is slanted more towards the Wilczek side of things, check out Devil Eyes. Left to his own devices, Wilczek has a much more pastoral folktronic sound, equally reminiscent of the aforementioned Clark and Dwayne Sodahberk’s second, superior album. Combined with Robertson’s sterile, disturbing vision of supercute zombies filtered through Alien Syndrome, the work as a whole strikes me as deeply melancholic and curiously affecting. There is no subject in these videos, only objects, and it strikes me that Robertson incidentally accomplishes what eluded Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick in AI (a movie that would itself work much better without dialogue): an evocation of a world where only our toys survive to carry out a degenerate pantomime of conscious existence.

(On a tangential note, for another, very different example of someone using gamer and anime culture to produce deeply personal pixel art, check out Jennifer Diane Reitz’s Unicorn Jelly. Almost nobody takes me seriously when I make this recommendation, but if you can get past the somewhat slow and obtuse beginning, you’re in for a novelistic experience of incomparable metaphysical depth. It’s very user-unfriendly, but it genuinely changed me, which is more than I can say for almost any other webcomic.)


Posted by othiym23 Thu, 31 Jan 2008 02:39:00 GMT

Stuck in my head this morning: Dan Deacon’s “Trippy Green Skull” and “Snake Mistakes”, both from his much-lauded Spiderman of the Rings. Both songs are incredibly poppy, bright and electronic, with childish Dada lyrics, and both have unexpected catchy bits near the end that get lodged in your head and just will not come out. I’m about six months late to be bringing up Mr. Deacon and Spiderman, but the album is just as fresh, charming and mildly brain-damaged now as it was when it was first released. Jess Harvell (whom I was abusing here just last week) wrote a great, perceptive review of Spiderman of the Rings over on Pitchfork that I endorse wholeheartedly.

Deacon’s faux naïf act works, paradoxically, because he’s got a master’s degree in composition and takes a deeply serious approach to his very silly songs. The dude can put together a 3-minute pop song like nobody’s business, but his command over his (sometimes self-made and often very primitive) gear is impressive, and – especially on longer, more elaborate songs like “Wham City” and “Jimmy Jay Roche” – there are obvious influences from the classic minimalists – Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Philip Glass – as well as an odd kinship with new wave schmooptronica acts like M83 and Ulrich Schnauss, even as his lyrics ramble a lot closer to Devendra Banhart’s childlike psychedelia or a particularly gentle version of Ween. I find the combination of minimalist restraint and sugar-addled weirdo pop super charming.

UPDATE: I have got to see this guy live.