Sunday, February 22, 2009

Datamoshing: Ye and Chairlift.

The internet has been going apeshit about "datamoshing" since the Chairlift video dropped and even more so with Kanye following suit in less than a week, so it seems almost appropriate that the best way for me to even blog about the damn thing is to get all meta and quote my own Twitter post:

Over two videos in just as many weeks, datamoshing got big and got played. Seems like Ye really reduces the shelf life of non-music shit.

The awkwardly named technique is essentially forced digital compression artifacting and has been around for a few years. The two videos just happen to be attached to two of last year's biggest alt-music acts, which can account for the exaggerated cyber response.

As for my take, I'm not one to hate on dudes for taking avant garde techniques and applying them to commercial work as that's practically been my bread and butter. I do, however, dislike how the effect was pretty much an arbitrary stylistic choice on both videos (Ye's obviously the one that succeeds in using it and overusing it in one fell swoop). To be honest, I'm not sure what song, commercial concept, or narrative could even justify the technique's intentional use, but I'm pretty sure these two songs aren't the ones to do so. And if you want to know, I actually like Chairlift's video more than the Kanye one, despite me being on dude's nuts and him taking the technique to its logical end.

You can watch the videos and read a little more about datamoshing after the jump.

KANYE WEST "Welcome To Heartbreak" Directed by Nabil from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

Chairlift - "Evident Utensil" Music Video from Data Mosher on Vimeo.

Additional Reading:
A short rundown on the history of datamoshing. A more in-depth article about the making of Kanye's video.