Broken Social Scene have released a new video for their single “Can’t Find My Heart.” The clip, which was directed by Josh Usheroff, and features an endless vortex of performance footage run through a series of style transfers and surreal artificial intelligence-created textures. This cutting-edge approach was developed in collaboration with Alex Mordvintsev, a pioneer in neural network generated visuals and creator of Google’s DeepDream.
“I am fascinated by the changes that AI and machine learning are bringing to all aspects of our culture. I wanted to see how this technology was being used in more creative disciplines,” explains Usheroff. “I started researching generative art and came across a video by Alex Mordvintsev. The video featured a series of still images zooming and transforming into one another. The results were mesmerizing.”
Usheroff approached Mordvintsev about creating a similar effect with video instead of stills and the concept was set. Broken Social Scene connected with Usheroff and his creative treatment through Genero, a creative platform that connects artists with a network of directors and filmmakers.
“We captured the performance visuals in Montreal just a few hours before the band’s concert. My creative partner, Ben Goloff, sequenced the performances and applied style transfers to give the images a surreal and almost painterly aesthetic. We then sent the files to Alex to work his DeepDream magic.”
Alex describes the technical process as follows: “The video effect is based on combining neural artistic style transfer with a zooming feedback loop. I gradually inject each new video clip into the mix, while simultaneously steering the global image style. Each video segment is a continuation of the previous, so I couldn’t generate them all in parallel. Thus, I decided to use “fast” feed-forward version of style transfer to be able to iterate quickly on the sequence, incorporating the feedback I was provided from Josh and Ben.”
In 2017, after a 7 year hiatus, Broken Social Scene released Hug Of Thunder bringing together all 17 original members including Feist and Metric’s Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw. The album saw the collective exploring new ground while maintaining the dynamics that have made Broken Social Scene one of the most beloved indie bands of the 21st century.
Pledging to taking less time off between albums, the band followed Hug Of Thunder with two 5-song EPs in 2019 titled Let’s Try The After Vol 1 & 2. “The theme is to continue,” says Broken Social Scene co-founder Kevin Drew. “Sickness, suicide, uprise, love, death, betrayal, hurt, joy, sex, communication, battles and divisions … Let’s just get to their after and start building again.”
Cameron Reed from Arts & Crafts on the project:
Arts & Crafts partnered with Genero to find a novel idea to interpret this classically anthemic Broken Social Scene single. The response from filmmakers around the world was astounding and teeming with brilliant ideas. We ended up collaborating with a Canadian team which included the ground-breaking Google engineer who developed the psychedelic technology you see in the video. Having access to this massive network of filmmakers meant we were able to create something really unique with a team we would never have been able to find otherwise.
Broken Social Scene