Nigel Stanford MOMENTUM

MOMENTUM Nigel Stanford

together with Spotify

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There is a brain affliction called synaesthesia where people can see audio and I think I have a form of that – I see bass frequencies as red and high-end sounds as yellow and white. For me, sound and visuals are intertwined – they are one and the same thing.

Nigel Stanford’s first LP came out in 1999, but it was the 2014 video for his song ‘Cymatics' that blew the minds of millions of people around the world. Stanford, who tries “to make projects that are like mini-movies”, created a film based on scientific experiments, where each sound would be visualised through incredible, physical special effects. Deep bass frequencies sent shockwaves through liquids, synth stabs would ignite columns of flame, and an electrifying crescendo of sound would be made into literal electricity though a Tesla coil firing bolts of lightning over Stanford’s own mesh-clad body. Remarkably, the song itself was born out of the video. Each filmed motion was created by whichever frequencies most successfully affected physical objects, and these frequencies were then used to shape the piece that came to be ‘Cymatics’: motion shapes music, which shapes motion.

Where ‘Cymatics’ showed the interface of science and music, Nigel Stanford’s next audio-visual opus, ‘Automatica’ explores an even bigger topic – the singularity, or the point where artificial intelligence creates the next level of intelligence. Mechanical evolution is visualised as a room of industrial robots – the sort that typically assemble cars in factories – picking up instruments and starting to play. As with ‘Cymatics’, Stanford is taking a multi-disciplinary, hands-on role in every aspect of the intricate production. Beyond composing the music and starring in the ‘Automatica’ video, he has spent long hours building – both the physical sets and coding the digital realm of the video with his team. Stanford explains that each scene took hours upon hours of programming with not only the motions of the robotic band members, but also the robotically controlled cameras and lighting set-ups all requiring seamless, rhythmic synchronization. In total, with pre-visualisation, filming and compositing in post-production, the artist explains that in the end, it will have taken him around a year to bring the ‘Automatica’ video to life. “For me, I just want to make something that is up there with the best of the best. I want to make the best thing that I possibly can.”

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