Getting into 'A Different Frequency'

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This blog is about my stop motion music video for the song 'A Different Frequency' by the band formerly known as 'YesMisterBloodVessel' (now The Amatory Murder). The animation is a strange colorful thing (I wanted to go bold with colors as my prior animated video was very dark) that runs parallel to the lyrics of the song itself.

While I liked the song's darkly industrial sound and lyrics about how even when we communicate with others we feel trapped within our own minds (A concept I find relatable, and one which I am sure most people do) I didn't want to create a piece that directly reflected that. So I went on a conceptual tangent that led me to thinking about life cycles in nature and how often disparate species have to rely on each other for survival, whether they may want to or not. Thematically this loosely tied into the lyrics for even if we are indeed all alone we still come together in groups to feel connected...So for the video I built a large scale venus Flytrap plant creature as the central figure.

The tentacled plant stirs to life as the song starts and its movements lure in a bat winged human head. The face on this puppet was designed to resemble the lead singer though one could argue that it represents me as well for both me and the singer are scruffily bearded men with dark hair...The head flies into the plant's mouth and is swallowed. The flying animation is a bit rickety (as is the whole thing if you ask me ((is my style inherently scratchy and glitchy or is that a product of my lack of better equipment or materials? The answer is: yes.))) but gets the broad movements across...The wing head was attached to a thick wire that I could move it around on and the wire itself was wrapped with blue cloth so as to be keyed out (the background was an old blue bed cloth as well). The keying process isn't the smoothest either as I was working with perhaps not the best lights in the world (again, an understatement), but once more I suppose the inherently scratchy and shaky awkwardness of the piece works well for it. Yes, no? Maybe so! I'll let you be the judge of that...

The swallowing of the bat head initiates the next step in the symbiotic process: a birth...

From out of the plant  comes an embryonic scrap of liquid latex which rapidly gets covered in gelatonous birthing ooze (which was just apple sauce that made my small apartment smell vaguely good for a while). From within the plant ooze emerges a larval ball. This then evaporates to reveal the new sub-species: The multi-tongued baby monster! The little baby gets up and stumps about the desolate land as the skies grow dark and ominous (All background animation was done digitally by my friend and fellow animator David Koenig).

The farther the baby moves from the plant, the more the plant withers. Their symbiotic balance is off. The baby must return to the plant and be re-ingested to reverse the original process...So the little baby shambles back and allows himself to be re-absorbed into the larval ball and get sucked back into the plant. 

Once this reversal occurs it releases the bat head from within the plant's stomach and it flies happily away ( As happily as a puppet with a static looking grumpy face can be!)...It is then that large scale versions of the baby monster's multiple tongues unfurl from out of the plant and wiggle in the wind....

The plant has evolved as the cycle has completed. I tend to like cyclical animations and things that hint at repetitive nature in general (as I feel much of life is unfortunately unbelievably repetitive) so regardless of whether the cycle in this animation makes sense or not, that's why it is there. Feel free to check out the full animation below and see what you may make of it...or not!

About the author


Charles Pieper is a stop motion animator, concept artist, director, editor and monster maker who lives in Los Angeles. He has made music videos for the bands Dufus, Summerbirds in the Cellar, Setting Sun, Quitzow, Brit and the Cavalry, Skidmore Fountain, Lo Fi Sugar, YesMisterBloodVessel, and Man's Assassination, Man. He…

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