Portsmouth, UK techno supergroup Mister Woo are not the sum of their parts. Separately, bandmates Reset Robot, Jon Gurd, and Tom Powell make techno music, but as Mister Woo their music isn’t as stylistically clear cut, as is evident on their new amorphous dance single “Black Eyes.” The track gets an equally impressionistic music video by Alex Beaumont, which he describes as a “voyeuristic monochromatic series of flashbacks presented through scarred channels,” producing altered states and unfamiliar landscapes.
Beaumont infuses the video with fractal tessellations, sacred geometry, and varied frame rates that combine to yield visuals that are like images coming in and out of focus in screen static. He tells The Creators Project, the final narrative is loose, but “it focuses on the introspective interaction between man and machine, specifically virtual reality and its psychological consequences.”
Beaumont used MaxMSP to generate the white graphic noise that builds in the video. He processed this using frequencies from the track to bring a dynamic reaction to percussive hits and other sonic elements. Beaumont wanted the pattern to mimic both natural and digital forms as a way of expressing the energy, so he recorded different “noise” layers then composited and layered them to achieve “the final hectic density of pattern.”
Beaumont collected the footage from a series of different stock films and science documentaries. He then edited the video using Premiere Pro and After Effects, masking over the processed graphics and combining them with some additional smoothing and degradation to give the video its final look.
“The switch between first and third person and erratic cuts of biological and mechanical reminiscence provide a disorientating experience but one that invites its audience to interpret the story and lyrics through the black eyes,” Beaumont says. “The current charge in VR and innocent exploration into the subject creates many questions into the direction of our global interaction with machine and whether it is so different from the sci-fi films that seem to prophesize our tech future.”
“Perhaps someday people will choose the life they want out of an Argos style catalog, followed by being plugged into an experience booth,” he adds. “I see this as some early experiment with the subject finishing thinking twice about engagement. Let’s not get lost—this current reality needs fixing first. We can’t just abort it.”