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Cloud Nothings’ “Up to the Surface” is a Perfect Rock Song for When You’re Stressed (Video Premiere)

Cloud Nothings’ “Up to the Surface” is a Perfect Rock Song for When You’re Stressed (Video Premiere)

You know that unnerved, agitated feeling you have the day following an upsetting dream you don’t exactly remember? I have always associated that mysterious phenomenon with Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings, a four-piece known for tense but cathartic guitar-driven rock music (they have an album called Attack on Memory, after all). In their brand new music video for “Up to the Surface,” they escalate that same kind of nightmarish dread to the scale of a dystopian future in which humanoid robots do the exact same mundane tasks as humans.

The lead track on this year’s Life Without Sound, “Up to the Surface” is an encapsulation of that moment when you first wake up steeped in horror. After a plaintive, interlocking piano and guitar phrase boil over, frontman Dylan Baldi introduces the album: “I came up to the surface, released the air.” That moment of release already feels necessary mere moments into the record, like he’s been holding his breath since the final song of the album before. It’s a killer opener for an album that calms the band’s anxiety-fueled fever dreams into a more manageable state.

For the music video for “Up to the Surface,” director AUJIK constructed a grey dystopia populated by little artificially intelligent bots who drone around a dense cityscape. Baldi was a fan of the environment the director built for his Spatial Bodies videos but wanted to explore the kinds of people that might inhabit an unsettlingly futuristic place. “AUJIK decided to make a sort of continuation of that Spatial Bodies series,” Baldi told Nerdist, “but this time with more focus on the hobbies of little blocky computer people. I think they’re cute, even though they inhabit some kind of desolate future void world.”

According to AUJIK, the desolate future world is a “brutalist version of Kyoto and its suburbs from the perspective of a Japanese giant hornet.” As it moves through convenience stores, classrooms, Shinto temples, zen gardens, we see all manner of robots going about their potentially programmed routine.

If a post-apocalyptic city filled with robots doing tai-chi in the park and learning how to kick-flip on skateboards is your version of a nightmare, then consider this your warning. Otherwise, we hope you enjoy–let us know if you dig the track in the comments and on Twitter.

Featured Image: Jesse Lirola

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