With post modern music as it is, it can sometimes feel like the more experimental artists among us are driven simply by the need to make their next work weirder than the last one. That certainly seems to be one of the drivers for the infamous New York composer/producer, Chris Ianuzzi, who’s got the “weird for the sake of weird” market cornered. With his latest experiental/ambient/techno/noisecore/post punk/IDM/whatever-other-genre-he-could-jam-in-there track and video, “Edge of the Earth,” that driver is certainly out in full force.
Ianuzzi, like many experimental producers, first and foremost loves his science. Listening to almost any of his work, it’s obvious he likes to tinker and has played with so many production methods over the course of his discography, it almost beggars belief. In his most recent piecemeal released album, Maze, he worked heavily within Dolby Atmos production, creating spine-tingling results with the tracks like “Sweet Over Time,” “Hunger” and the multiple award-winning “Lonesome Highway Superstar.”
After an interstitial foray into a sort of post punk/industrial/trap territory with the relatively chilled out “Silent Sea,” “Edge of the Earth” sees Ianuzzi back on his po-mo shit with an almost untrackable non-format to his composition. With an intro that sounds like the sonic equivalent of a lava lamp and serves only to lull the listener into a false sense of security, Ianuzzi unleashes experimental hell from a seemingly arbitrary point as the first segment of the track rolls out, sounding like a nightmare version of Ross’s “sound” from Friends, before a ghost of a beat is established to sort of reign in the eerie, howled lyrics and runaway synths. Even the beat structure doesn’t linger anywhere for too long, however, so don’t get used to the offset breakbeat or dead techno drums as they start and stop just as randomly as anything else in this track. The effect is, indeed, as if a mad scientist on acid invaded and took out the DJ at a cybergoth rave. Difficult to make sense of whilst not on acid? Yes. Easy to appreciate the genius of the composition? Also yes.
In case the audio for “Edge of the Earth” wasn’t trippy enough, Chris Ianuzzi continued his experimentation with AI animation for the video. Using Stable Diffusion and Deforum AI 3D Animation Pipeline, Ianuzzi collaborated with film artists Ethem Serkan Sökmen and illke to create this stop motion-effect video that bends reality even further and is a perfect compliment to the track. It takes the audience on a journey through a multitude of worlds and sort of creates a story out of the madness of the track. Don’t read too much into the possible symbolism, however; it’s likely more often Dadaist in nature than viewers may realize, according to Ianuzzi.
The Lemons in the Edge of The Earth cover were made because I was playing with ideas with the the program Dall-e. Someone walked by and said, “you should try adding Lemmings.” I thought she said “Lemons.” Whoops. I really liked the result. We had to put lemons in the video too.
Humor aside, the song and video are not without their meanings, as Ianuzzi almost always puts some form of political or social statement into his work.
The song and video are inspired by the state of our planet with regards to the political as well as the natural atmospheric conditions that we are living in. It all looks like the apocalypse, almost biblical at times. It’s difficult not to feel this when watching the news.
Structure masked as chaos, social consciousness out of Dadaist and Surrealist art, it’s all business as usual in the visionary mind of Chris Ianuzzi. It’s important to stop and appreciate work like his, especially in the pop-soaked EDM world, as this is this kind of stuff that pushes music forward. To that end, if nothing else, “Edge of the Earth” is a look into and a commentary on where artists can now go with AI and other advancing tools. The “Edge of the Earth” might not be a literal edge, but a perception boundary that we are now pushing through with these expanded capabilities. Only time – and artists like Ianuzzi – will tell.