It’s a feverish, pounding acid nightmare – in a cathartic way. Get knocked back in your chair for Vee’s “Litha” on Failed Units, as we meet the artists.
“Litha” is the latest release from the aggressive, underground up-and-comer label Failed Units, a collaboration between musician Vee and visual artist ZOR.
This is perhaps even unintentionally on-zeitgeist; the music video combines moshed-to-death, AI-mangled hyperactive disintegrating visuals with relentless acid madness. It’s a digitally dying flow of imagery with echoes of a 2020 update to Emergency Broadcast Network. (see below to see what I’m talking about)
Watch. Crank up the volume. Obviously.
ZOR, short for Zion of Rudeness, sends along a statement and some idea of how this video came together. ZOR shares with us:
STATEMENT. Destroyed by overstimulation. The over-stimulation of the media propaganda machine. The system of enslavement in which we all play our part. The mainstream masses are kept going by torrents of fear and see-through fake happiness, like lab rats in an experiment.
PROCESS. In order to represent the everyday sensory overload, a rough cut was created for the first level, matching the music of Vee. This first level was then gradually cut or additional cut-outs and animated 3D objects were added so that the story played out on many different image levels at the same time.
The various levels were partially processed using data-moshing. I also worked with pixel sorting and other digital glitch processes. In one setting, the Google DeepDream AI [background] was used, for example, and alienated in the further process. After the files were destroyed, they were digitally cut out again and inserted into the overall picture. Finally, I digitally destroyed the work in several rounds in order to regain a certain consistency.
ZOR’s artist page: https://www.facebook.com/ZionOfRudeness/
And the release, from September – the label is centered between Manchester and Berlin, with the secretive Vee coming out of Manchester.
☨: This one’s come out wrong too
Ϟ: FUCK! This is not looking good…
☨: Who knows about all of this?
Ϟ: The directors will be expecting our report.
Ϟ: But what is going on?
☨: I don’t know. We’ve been following the protocol. I’ve run through the data again, there’s been no deviation…
Ϟ: … My head hurts.
☨: So what do we do now?
Ϟ: Put it with the other one.
Ϟ: We can’t let any of this filter out. I hope you understand?
☨: All clear. What do we tell them?
Failed Units makes these releases in a sort of sequential narrative, if you want to follow along.
We too often watch new media without any sense of history. Just as appropriate for the pandemic information meltdown is Emergency Broadcast Network’s “Channel Zero.” This early 90s group out of Providence, Rhode Island looks pioneering in its deconstruction of propaganda through audiovisual mayhem. And yeah, it seems the time is right for just this kind of resonance across the decades – EBN to Vee.
Of course, now we have AI and streaming alongside satellite dishes and television. Well, and no more channels.
Oh yeah, we actually have to do that now. Hey, as they say, there’s nothing wrong with that.
On that note, here’s the video ZOR produced last year for the ear-catching Daniel Ruane outing that debuted the label:
Failed Units lives exclusively on Bandcamp – and yes, should continue purchasing downloads there if you have the money; it still makes a big difference for artists and labels even minus Bandcamp’s own (minor) take:
Addendum, if it’s more glitch-y eye candy you’re after, the USA-based label Detroit Underground has a full channel crammed with nonstop music and visuals, running right in-browser, much of it also in a similar aesthetic musical and optical vein: