Watch Shaking Chains’ Constantly Changing Video for ‘Midnight Oil’
The novelty of the music video medium has long since worn off, and only rarely in recent years have musicians or filmmakers managed to deliver actual innovations in the field — all of which is why our hats are off to the Manchester, U.K., band Shaking Chains, who dreamed up a truly unusual concept while developing the video for their new single "Midnight Oil."
The BBC spoke with Shaking Chains drummer Jack Hardiker, who came up with the idea to produce a video that would change every time it's played based on algorithm-driven search results. "It pulls clips from the internet based on search terms," he explained. "It started with 600 [terms], based on the contents of the song and also is a reflection on society right now, warts and all."
According to Hardiker, who described the video as an experiment in "surrendering ownership over art, and allowing chance to play a part," the "Midnight Oil" clip remains a work in progress behind the scenes. The algorithm reportedly draws on roughly 100 from a growing number of search terms whenever it's played, with the end goal of an autonomous process that produces its own terms and exists independently of the band's ideas.
The end result adds up to a music video unlike any other — in form as well as function. As Hardiker admits, the goal with the "Midnight Oil" clip isn't necessarily to entertain, but to provoke thought. "If you watch the video a couple of times it's not necessarily a pleasurable experience," he told the BBC. "But that's a reflection of some of the stuff that's going on at the moment."
Watch Shaking Chains' video for "Midnight Oil" at the project's official site.
Every R.E.M. Video Ranked