This is the music video I created for the song "I Lost You" by Marissa Paternoster, which is on her solo album Peacemeter. The video is my attempt to create a synesthetic experience of the music and the lyrics; there's this intense emotional, personal -- yet abstract and universal -- energy to the song which explodes outward by the end. The purely abstract visuals represent this energy, this burning soul fire twisting and frothing in agony and yearning.
This video is the first substantial work I've done with generative art driven by music. Each aspect of the animation, from the drawing of the lines, to the way they twist and curve and change color, is driven by a different track in the final song. I have always been interested in generative art, such as the experiments made by Zach Lieberman, but it felt out of reach for me for the longest time because I didn't know how to code. Slowly, though, I had been learning, starting with expressions in After Effects, which gave me a familiar framework and interface within which to work. The entire animation is driven by sets of expressions stacked up on top of each other.
Above: my animation interface involved dozens of variables controlling the animation, most tied to an aspect of the audio; I could start by having the program draw 10x10 rounded rectangles, and then use the pitch of the bass to twist them or iteratively rotate each column or row. Then I could have them scroll across the screen every time there's a kick drum, and change color based on the pitch of Marissa's voice or the volume of the guitars. The structure of this animation is directly inspired by the battle backgrounds in the video game Earthbound, as deconstructed by the YouTube channel Retro Game Mechanics Explained.
Below you can see an early test animation I did with my code:
Once I finished the animation I felt that there was a human element that was missing, so I decided I would film the animation on my display, finding interesting compositions within the composition, and editing that together. In the soft, shallow focus of the camera I found this quality of a disembodied eye, observing the animation, searching for something. Below are some of my favorite stills from the final video.