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[Premiere] This Funky Music Video Was Danced into Existence

Hand on a tablet, artist Frederik Jassogne danced to STUFF's song "Axlotl" while drawing shapes, which he then set about animating.

Kevin Holmes

You might not have any idea of what you're looking at in this music video for Belgian five-piece STUFF's track "Axlotl"—but no matter, because that's all part of the fun. Plus, we'll explain. The song itself is taken from STUFF's latest, and second, album Old Dreams New Planets. An album that journeys across "broken hip-hop, electronica and jazz-influenced future funk."

The video for "Axlotl" features abstract shapes jiving to the song's snazzy, freeform, I'm-dancing-in-a-field-lost-in-an-MDMA-rush vibe. It's made by Frederik Jassogne, a Belgian artist, film editor, and theater stage designer.

For the video Jassogne based its playful, chromatic style on the Old Dreams New Planets album artwork by French artist Yto Barrada.

Cover art for Old Dreams New Planets. Image courtesy of Yto Barrada / STUFF

"For the animation, the idea I wanted to explore was creating spontaneous, imperfectly dancing abstract creatures, that were reacting to the very syncopated music of STUFF," explains Jassogne to Creators. "As if they heard the music for the first time and responded to it almost viscerally trying to keep up with all these rhythms (more or less like I myself react when I listen to them live). I started generating textures and elements based on this and resampling them into new forms. These elements I brought into Adobe After Effects for animating it to the music."

Jassogne notes an interesting technique for creating the shapes, which was playing back the song and then "'dancing to the music' with my hand and a graphic pen on a tablet." It's certainly one way to transpose the feel and spontaneity of the song—and it worked too because the shapes really seem like they're connected to the music, like they're puppets and the song's rhythms and beats are the strings.

Two of the many elements Jassogne created. Image courtesy of Frederik Jassogne

Once Jassogne had recorded these various movements he then set them to the different elements to organically bring them to life.

"After a couple of 'dancing' passes and layering them on top of each other these elements become somewhat human/animal like in their response to the music, even though they are very abstract forms," he notes. "Then I placed these elements in a virtual environment and started adding camera moves, scenery, to further enhance the feeling that they were moving and being filmed."

STUFF. Andrew Claes (ewi/sax), Lander Gyselinck (drums), Joris Caluwaerts (keyboards), Dries Laheye (bas), Mixmonster Menno. Image by © Alexander Popelier

Finally one additional technique was used, Jassogne says: He exported the footage as an image sequence, replacing random parts of the frame generatively within Photoshop.

"This gives the very fast moving, jittery feel of the video, as the software tries to replace the random deleted parts by what is left inside the frame. But because it reacts to the 'dancing abstract forms' I created earlier, also this process is tied to the music in its 'random' reactions."

Check out the video below.

You can download and buy STUFF's new album Old Dreams New Planets released on Sdban Records at the band's website here. See more of Frederik Jassogne's work at his website here.

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