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Video Premiere: Z.I.P.P.O’s ‘Xukro’ by 4C, modelling digital sculptures with VR

Text by CLOT Magazine

Video still from Xukro, Z.I.P.P.O & 4C (2023)

We are premiering an exciting new video from Italian Dj/producer Z.I.P.P.O, who has collaborated with digital artist 4C to create a visual output for Xukro, a track in Z.I.P.P.O’s forthcoming new EP Morfismo (SK_eleven, 2023). 

Z.I.P.P.O. has been active for over 10 years in the techno scene, experimenting with his talents in all genres, from IDM to house to techno, always capturing the perfect aesthetic. In Xukro, the artist shares with us he aimed to convey a sense of mystery through the sonic elements he used, while the 808 drum machine kept the rhythm of the track steady and punchy.

One particular piece of equipment played a crucial role in translating his ideas and adding that gritty texture with wild resonations, which is a Formanta Polivoks Synth from the 80s he purchased thru the pandemic and managed to restore. He also mentions that its distinctive oscillators contributed to the track’s obscure atmosphere. 

Having had the privilege of collaborating with 4C on numerous projects in recent years. The producer thought this was the perfect moment to work closely on their first full-length video in 3D.

The video’s main focus is making digital sculptures through virtual reality, as 4C explores the intersection of electronic music and 3D art with abstract shapes and animations, experimenting with a surreal and futuristic aesthetic.

The digital artist shares that after presenting the project’s ideas and both artists having defined some key concepts to capture in the video, Z.I.P.P.O granted him complete creative freedom to experiment and work spontaneously throughout the project. The trust and mutual respect in our relationship have been valuable. Personally, indeed, I found this project to be the perfect opportunity to showcase my vision of combining electronic music and Digital Art, he continues.

The video takes place in a desolate, lifeless land, from which then begins to develop the first of the digital sculptures. Despite the seemingly desolate landscape and sharp, crispy synths, a sense of calmness respires through the undulating fields.

After a brief overview of the environment, the sculpture transforms, materialising a metal shell covering the initial crystal structure. It carries out a process of transformation, but in the opposite sense to the metamorphosis of the first sculptures; in fact, from a metallic structure which it is, it is progressively covered with filaments of the blue crystal until disappearing. 

We were further interested in the creative process for the haunting visuals. The first approach was to define a mood board that matched the track’s vibe, creating a common thread connecting the video’s various parts. Then, 4C developed a flexible storyboard that allowed adjustments throughout the project. He tells us that Improvisation and intuition have always been essential components of his creative process.

Referring to the concepts I defined in the mood board, I started developing the two environments of the video and creating the main VR digital sculptures, which will play a key role in different stages of the video. Their realisation in virtual reality, in fact, has played a fundamental role in the accomplishment of the project since VR sculpting it’s the technique that allows me to express myself the most, permitting me to create organic 3D models, thanks to a more intuitively way to approach the execution, resulting in a more genuine creative workflow.

Asking about the video’s aesthetic, he replies that he didn’t take inspiration from anything specific except for what the track transmitted to him. Instead, he aimed to create a surreal world where natural and organic elements blend with futuristic and surreal effects, creating a powerful visual experience. I wanted to give a visual translation coherent with the timing and development to accentuate the track’s narrative.

I choose then to start the video with a minimalistic setting in terms of landscapes and visual effects that progressively evolves in line with the evolution of the track, and then back again into the initial quiet state, where begins the end of the trip taken with this video.

For Zippo, all the visual elements of the video not only enhance the energy and flow of the track and contribute to the sonic experience by adding more expression. The visuals dynamically evolve with the rhythm and adapt to the changing scenarios, aligning with the track’s arrangement. While for 4C, the ongoing development of Environments and Elements wants to metaphorically reconnect to the concept behind the entire EP “Morphism”, i.e. the Metamorphosis, as highlighted multiple times in the video. Additionally, the synchronised interplay between VFX-SFX amplifies certain track segments, which aims for a more engaging and immersive experience.

(Media courtesy of the artists)
On Key

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