This ridiculously trippy music video deserves to be in a museum

For musician Max Cooper’s latest single Symmetry, Irish director Kevin McGloughlin created a music video so visually stunning, it should be framed and hung in a gallery.

The video features what looks like random shapes and patterns that are anything but random. McGloughlin actually used the Law of Symmetry to make symmetrical forms that visually reflect the song’s development and complexity.

“Symmetry is one of the most fundamental principles of nature, and also forms the basis of music,” said Cooper.

“So this music video is an important early chapter in the Emergence audio-visual project, which starts with visualisations of the basic building blocks of nature, setting the stage for the physical universe to come into being, and later planets, life, civilisation, and technology.”

Recently, we had the opportunity to interview McGloughlin to find out more about the creative processes and techniques used to make this insane music video.

How … on … Earth? Tell us how you did this video.

“I made this video using Photoshop and After Effects. For the primal (pre-organic matter) visuals, I used a variety of techniques ranging from 2D to 3D. Simple moire patterns are formed by overlaying the circle repetition form and offsetting them to present a more complicated emergence.

“In 3D space, I arranged many multiple scenes of heavily stacked circle repetitions interacting, distorting, and adapting. I basically flew virtual cameras capturing them from different angles.

“The technique I used for the more adapted and evolved visuals was derived from the Strata-Cut technique. I’ve cheekily nicknamed it Digi-Cut as I don’t really have a name for it.

“The effect is created by stacking a whole bunch of layers of photographs and videos on top of each other and extracting data from each layer at progressively higher values from the back to the front of the layer stack, creating what in essence a Strata Cut technique with digital media, hence Digi-Cut.”

What was the creative inspiration behind it?

“Well, working with a mad scientist always makes life easier. Max Cooper had a clear and concise vision for the track, which (in short) is about the Law of Symmetry.

“After much discussion, we arrived at a conclusive concept for the visual. To quote Max, ‘where the basic principles of nature are visualised, setting the stage for the physical universe to come into being. In the Law of Symmetry, some properties of a system can be changed, while others remain constant.’”

“I felt using a circle repetition as a primary fundamental form and adapting and evolving it over time represented this idea well. I also tried to convey the idea of early organic matter, which is introduced as evolved chaotic structures.

“Additionally I took great inspiration from the sounds I was hearing in the track and tried to interoperate them visually.

“I took huge inspiration from the law of Symmetry itself, and tried to represent my own feeling for it, which is clearly very intense and mind melting.”

Why the interest in symmetry?

“Something about the track really jumped out at me. I just loved it immediately, and while working on this project, I occasionally would just have to spaz out and dance.

“The idea of the law of Symmetry also struck a chord with me in a huge way, and after a little science research, came to some crazy findings. There’s just something so divine about that law. It’s just so primal and insanely complicated. Almost like the soul of everything. It just feels spiritual to me.

“It’s mind-boggling to think all these laws are happening under the surface of everything!”

What’s next?

“I am currently working on a few video projects, leaning more towards ‘in-camera’ usage while trying to remain as experimental as possible. I am also going to be directing a short film very soon, which is super exciting for me.”

Max Cooper’s album Emergence is out now.