Heads Up

Things have been quiet but we are working on a reunion tour which will happen before Christmas – stay tuned for the announcement! Meanwhile, a glimpse at how our album art was prototyped with pen and paper:

After the first step of creating 3D models (see earlier post), I made a bunch of sketches of our heads from different angles. I found drawing from a computer screen to be easier than drawing from life.

Ballpoint pen sketches of the heads of Kevin, Andrius and Sidney.

Ballpoint pen sketches of the heads of Kevin, Andrius and Sidney.

One cool thing about this was that it let me identify a distinctive visual personality for each of us. I’ve got the strong angled lines of my nose, bearded chin and collar (top of the sheet). Andrius has curved lines in his cheek, shoulder, skull and chin (middle). And Sidney (bottom) has horizontal lines and boxy corners to his beard and facial features. Using this knowledge, I made a bunch of different compositions.

Thumbnail compositions - page 1

Thumbnail compositions – page 1

Thumbnail compositions - page 2

Thumbnail compositions – page 2

Page 1 has the compositions that would eventually evolve into the finished cover: the 3rd in the top row has the idea of a diagonal arrangement with receding perspective, and the 3rd in the second row has the idea of overlapping. The two largest sketches on page 2 (that is, the one without a frame and the one above that) introduce the idea of having our eyes all on a single diagonal plane.

In the end though, I had to do a lot of experimentation in the 3D software. The hardest thing for a beginner like me, was understanding the use of zoom and the angle of the lens (or field of view). I was happy with my final composition though, especially once my brother glitched up the models and made a high resolution render for me. I particularly like the aggressive, basically triangular shape made by all the heads against the background.

The final composition.

The final composition.


Making The Video

With our album to be released in the next two weeks for free streaming, I decided to make a music video to hype it. I thought of combining some nice performance footage shot a few months back in the Waterhouse, Amsterdam, with computer game visuals.

This image was one of the earliest I chose as a visual reference for Glitchpuke:

Screenshot from Johann Tael's RGBA demo.

Screenshot from Johann Tael’s RGBA demo.

So I was delighted to realise that the original post where I sourced the image had a link to a playable demo, free for anyone to download and play. Check it out here: http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=26727.msg954958#msg954958

Playing a free experimental glitch game to generate visuals was a perfect match with Glitchpuke’s aesthetic. I used FRAPS to capture the action. I did the same with one of Strangethink’s games, Secret Habitat.

Strangethink's Secret Habitat.

Strangethink’s Secret Habitat.

Listening through the 12 album tracks, I shortlisted those that featured all three of us and that also had bass feedback (because I think that technique is a big part of Glitchpuke’s identity). One tune stood out, and its title was a pretty close match with the driving game visuals: “Taxi”.

This song is constantly in motion, starting in one vibe and moving somewhere quite different. So I used the driving visuals for the forward-moving first half of the piece, and the smooth Strangethink psychedelia for the second.

Everything else was just editing! I haven’t done anything like this in years, and (because I had a stock of good footage, especially the band stuff shot by Kim “Bas Raad” Raad) I really had fun. I think the end result is unexpected and kind of absurd.


Glitchpuke – Taxi

Strangethink Screenshots

While looking around for cover art, I encountered the work of Manchester-based Strangethink:


This anonymous game developer obviously has a strong aesthetic and, as you will see if you play the games, an ability to evoke atmosphere and place. I asked Strangethink could I use a screenshot from one of the games as cover art, and was graciously given permission.

I haven’t made up my mind on this, but here are some of the shots I took:

1 9 14 15 All Good Screenshots

I noticed two things straight away:
1) Even though the game worlds are beautiful, it still requires a strong compositional idea to make a good image – random screenshots tend to be fairly ugly.
2) The distortion produced by the straight-lines perspective (i.e. shapes at the edge of the screen are bigger than natural) is a powerful way to manipulate the compositions.

Hope you liked the pictures – and do try out the games yourself, they work on Mac and Windows.

Glitch Art

My last post on visual identity begs the question, “Why not use a glitch art aesthetic for Glitchpuke?” Well, my idea of glitches goes back to video games. In games, a glitch is a bug that breaks the illusion of realism, for instance when a man floats above a chair:

Screenshot from Valve's Half-Life

What’s fun about this is contemplating an absurd alteration of the game’s “reality”, where impossibility (disobeying gravity) meets normality (the dude is still hard at work pressing buttons on his console). Plus, for the systemically-minded, there can be a glimpse into the hidden workings of the program.

I don’t get this kind of pleasure from glitched photos, like this piece from artist Kim Asendorf’s blog: http://kimasendorf.tumblr.com/post/38328916050

Glitched photo of New York

This picture is pretty, and the full version has great textures. But there is no revelation of alternate realities or of underlying systems or materials. The game glitch is unintentional and uncanny, the glitched photo is worked and decorative.

Glitches are interesting when they reveal other truths! That’s why I don’t want to use them as a mere visual style.

… or maybe I’m just grumpy that “glitch art” is becoming better known than it was a year ago when Glitchpuke was formed.

Anyway, stay tuned for a preview mix of a song, and some glitch-inspired band pics on the way next week!