While the industry bosses worry about the prospect of music and AI becoming interchangeable terms, many artists don’t shy away from experimenting with the technology. The realm of visual art feels particularly accommodating to artificial intelligence. The Music Void keeps fingers on the pulse while AI-generated videos are still a trend. Although quite often the result can be seen as somewhat whacky, these works outline the intention of artists to reach the future. A manoeuvre that may be a bit similar to new-wave acts experimenting with synths in the late 70s. Here are a few examples.
Mickelson – “Jump Off The Earth”
San Francisco-based songwriter Scott Mickelson teamed up with German artist Soundfaenger to produce an AI-generated video for the musician’s forthcoming single “Jump Off The Earth”. Pondering over mortality, the adventurous folk-rock ballad resonates with the quirky aesthetics of the visual work that evokes the motion picture concept. The video was created with the help of Stable Diffusion, a deep learning, text-to-image model. Talking about the video, Mickelson said: “I was intrigued by Stable Diffusion in particular and envisioned a storyline to accompany the song “Jump Off The Earth”. I reached out to an animator in Germany named Soundfaengar and sent my outline and scene descriptions to him. We developed around thirty different scenes which I edited and put together in my video editor at home”.
Tungz – “Messages”
Bristol/London-based psych-pop quartet Tungz chose AI to deliver abstract and philosophical ideas behind their effervescent song. The video contains a sequence of images and stills that “are meant to signify how memory mutates and devolves into intangibility as time passes”. The concept was inspired by Alan Resnick who produced variant animation works utilising DALL-E 2. The retrofuturistic nature of images alludes to the theme of connection between different temporal dimensions and fantasy. “It’s a song about romanticising your past and trying to get back to some imaginary glory days that never actually existed”, Tungz say.
Róisín Murphy – “The Universe”
Irish maverick Róisín Murphy has recently shared an AI-generated artwork of her forthcoming album Hit Parade. Similarly to the cover, a visualiser for the latest single “Universe” features a quirky “moving” image designed by Canadian artist Beth Frey. With a female face shaped as if it was a urinal or litter bin, the video conjures up the sarcastic surrealism of Monty Python and the humorous realism of Martin Parr’s photography. This ties in with Murphy’s view of the universe as a paradox: “The universe at large is playful and terrifying. There is no discernible sense to it. The story that is always being told is on multiple levels, levels we don’t see or understand”.