Nick Cobby visualises sounds with billowing
rings and angular shapes

| 2 comments

Dezeen Music Project: in this music video by animation designer Nick Cobby, billowing forms are used to visualise a gentle piano solo and spiky geometric shapes appear when electronic sounds are played over the top.

Max Cooper Fragments of Self music video by Nick Cobby

Nick Cobby created contrasting visuals for the different styles heard in the track Fragments of Self, created by musician Max Cooper and featuring pianist Tom Hodge.

Max Cooper Fragments of Self music video by Nick Cobby

Circular forms expand one after another in time with the piano keys and disperse into alien-like tentacles, lines and dots as the notes resonate.

Max Cooper Fragments of Self music video by Nick Cobby

When the electronic glitches kick in, the visuals dramatically change into sharp, spiky shapes that pulse and distort with the beat.

Max Cooper Fragments of Self music video by Nick Cobby

"The track hit me as having two very different styles to it, so I wanted to create two polar opposite visuals - one that followed the piano and one that came in with the glitch effects," Cobby told Dezeen.

Max Cooper Fragments of Self music video by Nick Cobby

"The piano was more of a free-flowing sound so I wanted some kind of natural or organic element, while the harsh glitch needed to be mechanical, sharper and more defined."

Max Cooper Fragments of Self music video by Nick Cobby

The movie is purely black and white until muted colours appear as the piano is reintroduced on its own. The colour flickers off again towards the end of the track.

Max Cooper Fragments of Self music video by Nick Cobby

"It didn't strike me as a video that should have lush colour," Cobby said, "except for the middle part of the track when the piano comes back in after all the glitch. It sounds so peaceful and I wanted some colour to subtly come in to help signify that."

Max Cooper Fragments of Self music video by Nick Cobby

Cobby used Adobe After Effects and Trapcode Particular software to create the visuals in time with the music.

Max Cooper Fragments of Self music video by Nick Cobby

"I used a plugin [for visualisation software Particular] called Sound Keys to monitor the waveform of the piano to create the pulses - but with a lot of manual keyframing as well to tweak it," he said. "I'm a big fan of just using one or two methods to create a whole video, as I think the restriction helps me to be more creative."

Max Cooper Fragments of Self music video by Nick Cobby

"I wanted the viewer to feel very calm at one point then really on edge the next," Cobby added. "That's how I felt when I heard the track and what I really liked about it, so hopefully that comes across."

Max Cooper Fragments of Self music video by Nick Cobby

  • Leiurus

    Nice but the animation / forms don’t seem to be 100% generated by the sounds, I find the “Gantz Graf” video by Alex Rutterford for Autechre (2002) more interesting and elaborated.

  • Chris MacDonald

    The piano riff is beautiful. The beat is just a tiny bit too disjointed for me, but the detail in it is fantastic. Reminds me vaguely of Trifonic’s “Parks On Fire”.

    The video leaves me largely unmoved, but is an impressive technical exercise all the same.