Listen to the new album ‘One Hundred Billion Sparks’: maxcooper.lnk.to/OHBS
Things got pretty mad on this one after I set the task of trying to visualise the Platonic realm of form underlying reality. And Páraic Mc Gloughlin has come up with something of a masterpiece I think, using a single day-long shot, whose time-based processing is linked to the more than 100 layers of audio I used to create the music…it’s fairly intense on the audio and visual as a result, but all so precisely carried out by Páraic. A huge amount of work has gone into this on all fronts, I hope you enjoy it.
This all links into my new album project, ‘One Hundred Billion Sparks’, about our hundred billion firing neurons which create who we are, all we know and experience (onehundredbillionsparks.net). As a sub-topic for one of the music/video projects, I’ve always found it fascinating how mathematicians and scientists talk about “discovering” laws of nature, never “creating” them, even when they’re working in entirely abstract realms with little or no link to the real world. The laws and structure are usually assumed to exist independently of us in a sense very much linked to Plato’s ancient idea of the realm of ideals, with only our minds giving us access to this realm.
I came across this idea delivered in stark form in the case of the “amplituhedron”, an entity whose structure encodes fundamental particle interactions, and whose creators claim it to yield space and time in an emergent manner, so that it can’t possibly exist out there in the real world that we’re familiar with. If it does exist, it is outside of time and space, whatever that means! All this might sound like I’m falling off the cliff a little in terms of anything to do with making music videos, but, as I often find to be the case with this sort of investigation of nature, it’s rich with beautiful visual forms and many ideas which are ripe for musical representation on emotive and structural grounds.
The general musical theme to attempt was that of a world of all (or at least as many as I could cram in) precise structures, with particular attention to the jagged complex form of the amplituhedron. Páraic also employed the same approach visually. It demanded a barrage of exact forms. Musically this was a lot of fun, and very much in fitting with what I like to attempt anyway, just requiring a greater devotion of time and more attention to detail than my norm.
Most of the 100-120 layers of different sounds were synthesised, each layer comprising a specific aesthetic musically, but with little repetition, so that I could have something like a world of independent forms, related, but each its own distinct entity, all mixed together to push the overall complexity in line with the concept. This included many layers of synth processing – I tried to take each part and force it into new, but related forms. I enforced strict quantisation, trying to keep everything rhythmically stuck to grid, to give that feeling of sharpness and precision despite the mess of many layers.
Páraic Mc Gloughlin
The idea for the Platonic video came from the thought of just how much is going on in one single day.
In the brief, Max wrote “Underneath all of this mess however, it needed a simple core, the constant chord progression.” So I thought it was fitting to have a simple core running through the entire video and it being made from one location shot over the space of one day, keeping up with the music’s “messy” energy as the track developed.
Aesthetically I love the mix of abstraction and realism and this was a great place for me to explore this. Using a fundamental image (a time lapse) to mask and cut into, I tried to show the variable possibilities within a limited time span, maintaining the integrity of each individual photograph while dissecting and rearranging the overall image.
In order to get as close a relationship from audio to visual as possible I tried to allocate a certain time of day or shape to each individual sound in the track , experimenting with animated sequences using platonic shapes, and referencing images based on the amplituhedron, later using mats and directly masking over many layers of photographs.
I tried to incorporate and inject a feeling of possibility, the unknown, hidden truths, and what might be.
I wanted the main focus of the video to be on time and space but I also I wanted to have an underlying human element. Choosing a motorway with two way traffic fit nicely, and didn’t over populate the scene.
Nineteen hours sitting on a bridge in Sligo town, and a good stint behind the computer and we’re done.