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The Horrors' "Machine" Is the Most Abstract Music Video You'll See All Year

Jon Emmony’s concept for the video is even more complex than the music that it accompanies.

by Patrick Lyons

Shoegazey post-punks The Horrors will be releasing their aptly-titled fifth album, V, on September 22nd. They dropped off the first single, “Machine,” back in June, and today, the brassy, industrial-tinged track’s video very much keeps with the gruesome, disturbing and distorted images the band has chosen for the single and album artwork.

Directed by Jon Emmony, whose past work seems primarily concerned with arranging traditionally artificial textures and substances into organic-looking forms, the “Machine” video is definitely one of the more abstract music video’s you’ll see all year. It consists of disorienting shots of some of Emmony’s creations, which are difficult to wrap your head around when initially shown in close-up, and not much less nonsensical when the shot zooms out. You’ll recognize shapes here and there-- a larvae, vein arrangements, a leg, a tail, a face, porcupine-esque spikes, and a sea cucumber-- but just as soon as you do, they’re churned back into a slice of unrecognizable techno-gumbo.

Emmony’s concept for the video is even more complex than The Horrors music that it accompanies. In a press release, he describes how he attempted to create “machines inside machines” via computer-generated movement that he had little control over. He began by splicing together Hieronymus Bosch-inspired “sections cut and twisted from insects, crustaceans and bone” in abstract arrangements. This is a unique approach in and of itself, but the way Emmony achieved the organic-seeming movements in the video is even more novel: “randomised numbers and splines are generated and the position of each creature along these splines are calculated; seemingly without reason but born from the choices of software.”

The effect is organism-esque shapes nightmarish and other-worldly enough to disorient us, but realistic enough in their movements to not seem entirely outside the realm of possibility. If a nuclear holocaust wrought serious, unimaginable mutation upon the entire planet, our pitch-black oceans could very well be filled with evolutional clusterfucks such as these.

Pre-order V and check out The Horrors’ upcoming tour dates on their official website.


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Patrick Lyons is a music writer based in Portland who is equally enthralled by black metal and Southern rap-- catch him making maddeningly eclectic choices on the aux cord.



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