There's a quick burst of static in sound and picture and then the feed cuts to nothingness for an instant in the opening seconds of Teengirl Fantasy's new video for “Nun.” A few eerie synth chimes add to the unsettling tone before the compressed bass pulse and reverberating percussion come in – the song is pulling itself into form just as the images themselves coalesce into cleaner focus. And then: we're hovering in space, doing a low orbit run over a massive crater, passing over Saturn, and back to Earth's mountains and oceans, all the while glimpsing the journey through a crude sort of 8-bit cockpit vantage.
The footage, pieced together by director Hans Lo, is meant to seem as if something that was once high definition has been degraded over time, “lost to the brink of digital noise” the NY duo explain.
“In the track we used lower bit drum sounds on top of higher quality digital bells and synths.” Logan Takahashi says. “Likewise the video overlays degraded 'trashier' low bit forms on top of more detailed footage of natural phenomena. Both present an overflow of information while simultaneously focusing in on magnified chunks as if to reveal that everything we're seeing/hearing is made up of these crunchier little bits of 1's and 0's.”
Everything we're seeing/hearing is made up of these crunchier little bits of 1's and 0's
The “hyperactive gaze” of the world-leaping video reflects the song's machine-like whir, Nick Weiss adds. “The song works within it's own self-made logic just as the varied types of footage used also reflect the widely different timbral qualities and spaces within the song--some things are super clear, bright, and detailed, while other sounds are simplified and rendered in lower bitrates.”
The interplay of visual thinking goes hand in hand with their music composing process, Weiss says. “I would say we are both visual thinkers, we often write songs with specific imagery and colors in mind or refer to works in progress by their visual qualities. Our music has always required a certain aesthetic, there's a range within that aesthetic but we know instantly what fits the music and what doesn't.”
The song will appear on Teengirl's forthcoming Nun EP, out November 25 on This Is Music.
Follow Luke O'Neil on Twitter here @lukeoneil47