Kokofreakbean makes the kind of mind-frying videos that can take a while to recover from. Case in point is his newest music video for EPROM's track "Center of the Sun." The track itself is a glitchy wub of electronica and Koko's volatile visuals pulse and warp to the immersive beats.
Koko describes his style as "Bedazzled, funky fresh, spaghetti and meatball disco pixels with spiritual tendencies from Texas"—and if you're familair with his work, you'll know that's not a bad description. With "Center of the Sun," there's no slow build up or ease-you-in introduction; you're just thrown right in at the deep end of techno-shamanic pixelated psychedelia and a whirling Olmec sun god.
"The first minute of the video was heavily inspired by Alex Rutterford's video for Autechre's 'Gantz Graf,'" Koko explains. From there it stargates into a medley of shifting CG-forms that look hard enough to conceive, let alone design.
"I ended up using a spreadsheet technique where I would isolate chunks of the song, translate those chunks into frame ranges, and describe the camera movement and visual content of each segment," Kokoa says about his process behind the video. "Once I felt I had a decent chunk carved out, I would figure out how to execute the images using 3ds Max and After Effects. Because the song already had so many meaty, granular textures, images would almost immediately be conjured in my mind, so the conceptual stage was always the easiest."
The spinning, spewing Olmec sun god features prominently in the video, as flashing shapes oscillate around him, giving the whole thing a cosmic quality. "The title and tone of the song gave me these notions of a spiritual dimension or zone in a deep recess of space where energy collapses and reforms infinitely," the CGI artist explained. "In most of my work, there is a reverence for spirituality and the role of the shaman in guiding and molding that spirituality. People always assume I get my ideas from heavy drug use, but I don't do drugs (except for the occasional pain reliever). I don't even drink."
It's merging these Mesoamerica myths and cultural totems with a glitchy, digital aesthetic that defines a lot of Koko's work and keeps you, the viewer, spellbound (albeit slightly alarmed). "Imagining what the Mayans or Aztecs would do if they had access to 3ds Max or After Effects excites me immensely," he explains.
"Many artists in the contemporary world seem to have a disdain for overt spirituality or mysticism in their work, but they're disregarding a crucial component of the human experience. I don't subscribe to a particular religious ideology, but I relish the pageantry and undeniable power of religious performance. Combining that vague religiosity with a quasi-modern form like glitch, which glorifies digital flaws, seems appropriate."