The inundation of influencers and advertisers alongside the laborious, soul-sucking ruse of the social media game take center stage in the brand new video clip for “Artificial Light,” a single from Earth World’s second album, Y.R.U.
The project is helmed by Ray Rude, who you probably recognize as a founding member of The Builders and the Butchers, or perhaps less likely, for his chiptunes solo project Operation Mission. Or you might recognize him for his podcast Tour Punisher (featured in the newest issue of Vortex!). In his offshoots from the Builders, Rude’s experimentation with electronics, synths and navigating through futuristic aural wormholes makes for engaging listens.
Edited and produced by Rude (with some assistance from filmmakers Joe Bowden and Travis Visscher at Desert Island Studios), the video for “Artificial Light” tracks the arc of an artist attempting to buy into the “premium content” process of social media marketing. “It seems like the good art/music/comedy accounts are being pushed down and replaced with accounts with money to burn,” explains Rude. “The video tagline is: ‘Man tries desperately to get more views/subscribers on YouTube, fails.’”
What follows is an amusing montage of attempts by Earth World to poke the viral vein of Instagram stories and YouTube videos with crazy costumes, juggling and even solving a Rubik’s cube. When this all fails, a wayward jaunt through the backroads of internet drug-buying results in a groovy cosmic sojourn that features some interstellar travel and some '80s-style digital shifts between scenes—another cool hack performed by Rude for the video.
“Fun fact about the video: The outer space shots were taken from NASA. All their video content is royalty-free,” reports Rude. “And the trippy, glitchy effect I did is a technique called Datamoshing (not sure who coined that), but it’s where you intentionally break the image frames from a video codec, causing it to glitch out between cuts. It’s really nerdy and time consuming, but I think it’s neat!”
As Rude explains, the record was going for an '80s/'90s computer hacker vibe. “So it's noisy/distorted at points, and the songs are all pretty long. I wanted each one to have a lot of long instrumental parts that take you on a journey. So it’s like... stonerwave? Or synthcedelic? I'm not a writer.”