Haunting season is upon us again. Bare trees, long shadows, deep twilights, and autumn gloom — it’s all back, and it calls for an appropriate soundtrack. We can’t say what to do to withstand the annual scare, but we assure all that Ready, Steady, Die! is the group with the sound to match the moment. “Darkstar,” the latest single from the pleasantly horror-struck Accidents album, is a tale of a serial killer, and Ready, Steady, Die! has matched the storytelling to music that amplifies the sense of danger that hovers around this group like Dracula’s cape. The song is insidious, suggestive, seductive, and beautiful, and it feels like the latest chapter in a scary story designed to leave a lingering, delicious chill.
But as spooky as the song is, the video, directed with sensitivity and great imagination by WeekendClass, is more frightening. It’s an animated clip meant to destabilize the viewer — a perpetually mutating fantasy where everything seems to shift, melt, blur, and slip. And the scariest thing about it? The “Darkstar” video was made with the assistance of the newest AI technology. That’s right: even our machines are telling us scary stories.
“Darkstar” continues the winning streak that the band has been on ever since the spring 2022 release of Accidents, an album that foregrounds the near-telepathic interplay between producer and multi-instrumentalist Morgan Visconti and singer and lyricist Sam K. The new single follows “Kiss It,” a track that combines sex, muscle, and menace in a manner nobody has managed to do before. Fans of adventurous music have responded: the indie videos for “Kiss It” and the prior singles from the set have been streamed tens of thousands of times on YouTube.
They’ve also built anticipation for the band’s next move, and the “Darkstar” video is their most ambitious project yet. Stable Diffusion and Midjourney might not be household names yet, but these text-to-image generators are changing how artistic production is understood and consumed. Morgan Visconti and Sam K, reliably ahead of the curve, are simply among the first to harness the power of computer imagination and apply it to a music video. The “Darkstar” clip contains hundreds upon hundreds of digitally created images of Victorian-era scenes, many suggestive of the tale of Jack the Ripper, and they’ve strung them together in a mad rush of steam trains, antique portraits, and creepy mansion halls. Most frightening are the faces that simply won’t sit still and that morph and shift before our eyes — including a series in which an ordinary-looking young man hardens into a leering demon.
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