Motionographer: Massive Attack Splitting the Atom


Motionographer: Massive Attack Splitting the Atom

The fixed moment of the catastrophe. The instant the atom bursts on the beast, the world freezes into a vitrified chaos. And we go through the slick and glistening disaster of a humanity in distress. Man or beast? The responsibility of this chaos is still to be determined. — Edouard Salier on “Splitting the Atom”

Originally posted as a Quickie, the promo for Massive Attack’s “Splitting the Atom” deserves a brighter spotlight, if only to illuminate all the incredible work that went into the project. From the storyline to the final composites, it’s a project that glitters darkly, thanks in large part to the vision of director Edouard Salier.

We asked Salier for a little more info on the project:

Last September, I received a call from Svana Gisla from Black Dog in London. She told me that Robert del Naja (aka 3D from Massive Attack) had seen some of the short films I directed. He wanted me to work on a project for their new album. They sent me all the tracks from Heligoland, and I picked “Splitting the Atom.”

I’ve listened Massive Attack since my teen years. Their music has inspired me in so many ways. I would say that their music world is pretty close to my own graphic world.

Sound and music play a major part in my films—I’ve been working with the same composer, Doctor L, for many many years. He’s part of the same background that Massive Attack. So I think Massive Attack and I were meant to cross paths.

After choosing the song, everything was easy: I asked them for some specifics, what they really wanted from me. They gave me a free hand, I came up with an idea and the band instantly bought it.

From start to finish, my team and I worked independently of the band. And there were just a few of us, because most of my team was already working at the same time for the new music video of Air (also a black and white sequence)!

Digital District did the 3D and flaming job. Remi Ganiette worked on the camera, Jean Lamoureux worked on rendering, Kevin Monthureux and Jimmy Cavé did the modeling. And last but not least, my old friends Zavou (Xavier Reyé), JuleMich (Julien Michel) and Dadoo (Damien Martin) were in charge of compositing.

For two months, we worked in a small group, all mesmerized by the voice of Horace Andy, all obsessed by each tiny particle of “Splitting the Atom.”