If you haven’t seen it already, Meier & Erdmann absolutely nailed it with their video for the tune “Howler Monkey.” First, it doesn’t hurt that this is a crisp, funky, uncluttered earworm gem. Second, the video is dazzling.
Here’s the thing: there’s absolutely no reason why sound visualization needs to be so boring and familiar.
There’s a lot to learn here.
Even just change the colors goes a long way. Here, the familiar spectral view over time is carefully tuned to form fantastical landscapes, the camera panning around lazily. I keep re-watching the video partly because so much was carefully tuned (either intentionally or through happy accidents – I suspect some combination). Mapping surreal buildings or alien flower growths to particular frequencies highlights particular musical features. Persisting the landscape for a while after sounds occur more neatly mimics how we seem to hear music – the memory of what has just happened layering on top of our perception of what’s happening now.
And it’s all brought together into a compelling, coherent scene – a 290-second day-to-dusk-to-night cycle giving the track’s visualization a sense of real progression. Processing is a favorite tool.
The video side is the work of Víctor Doval, a prolific artist with a particular knack for generative work based in Valencia, Spain. See his generative work here – often made into Tumblr-friendly GIFs:
And his full project work here:
That includes some Processing.js stuff you can play in browser.
He writes about the process:
The whole sequence has been created in a procedural way where the definition of every part has been based on mathematical integrations.
To manage all this data flow I worked with Processing and Blender. The Blender add-on Sverchok has been the cornerstone in the creation and transformation of the geometry.
The initial idea came from the understanding of music as a temporal journey, a changing landscape that is perceived via the ears. The track Howler Monkey written and performed by Meier & Erdmann invites the listener to travel through the subjective/individual and the abstract.
Motion nerds: Sverchok is an amazing parametric tool, built in Python. Basically, it gives you the ability to bring in data easily, visualize that data, and otherwise modify geometry in some incredibly powerful ways. (It gets deeper than that from there.)
So, great music, dazzling video, getting lots of deserved attention, and the whole LP is brilli–
WAIT A MINUTE. Why did no one buy this LP? Please go buy this LP. (I don’t need vinyl, but I’m happy to cherish a download. Going to put my money where my mouth is.) The single sounds as such, but elsewhere there are eerie soundscapes that seem to have emerged from the vegetation in a Salvador Dalí landscape, perhaps as retold by a Japanese video game that fell through a wormhole from the future. Atop those are layered manic, weirdo synth lines.
The fact that the genius video and utterly original sound design and composition didn’t net album sales depresses me, but if you feel the same, you can help turn that around.
And here’s some extra news – the label will show you how to make delicious eggplant dishes, Pakistani-style.