Washed Out Shares New Song “The Hardest Part” And Video Made With OpenAI’s Sora

Washed Out Shares New Song “The Hardest Part” And Video Made With OpenAI’s Sora

Washed Out’s last album was 2020’s Purple Noon. Today, the chillwave polymath is announcing its follow-up, Notes From A Quiet Life, and releasing the lead single, “The Hardest Part,” which comes with a video made with the text-to-video AI tool Sora.

“I had the seed of this video concept 10 years ago, where we do an infinite zoom of a couple’s life over the course of many decades, but I have yet to attempt it because I figured it’d be too ambitious for a music video,” director Paul Trillio said in a statement. He continued:

While the technology is experimental and cutting-edge, I wanted to do something that also felt like a classic music video that would hold your attention no matter what tech was being used in the process. I was specifically interested in what makes Sora so unique. It offers something that couldn’t quite be shot with a camera, nor could it be animated in 3D, it was something that could have only existed with this specific technology. The surreal and hallucinatory aspects of AI allow you to explore and discover new ideas that you would have never dreamed of. Using AI to simply recreate reality is boring. I wasn’t interested in capturing realism but something that felt hyperreal. The fluid blending and merging of different scenes feels more akin to how we move through dreams and the murkiness of memories. While some people feel this may be supplanting how things are made, I see this as supplementing ideas that could never have been made otherwise. Many artists in this industry are constantly compromising and negotiating their ideas with the reality of what can be made. This offers a glimpse at a future where music artists will be given the opportunity to dream bigger. An overreliance on this technique may become a crutch and it’s important that we don’t use this as the new standard of creation but another technique in the toolbelt.

Washed Out mastermind Ernest Greene added:

“The Hardest Part” is a story about nostalgia and love lost. With the video, I wanted to bring this narrative to life in a sincere way that was also exciting and unexpected. I’ve been a fan of Paul for a long time and he is amazingly skilled at incorporating cutting-edge visual effects that elevate a story instead of simply supplementing it with shock and awe. He was at the top of my list of potential collaborators.

What he’s come up with is nostalgic, sad, uplifting, and often quite strange. However, he still manages to make you feel for the characters and invested in the journey of how their lives progress.

I think that Paul is right when he says that this video could only be made using this new AI technology. In my opinion, the hallucinatory quality of Sora clips feel like the beginning of a new genre unto itself – one that is surreal and unpredictable and entirely unique to traditional cinema or even animation.

This video is being promoted as OpenAI’s first officially commissioned Sora collaboration with a musician as well as a filmmaker, though the controversial company has shared Sora-made music videos before. This week OpenAI and Microsoft were sued by eight daily newspapers, according to The New York Times, which itself sued OpenAI and Microsoft in December.

Notes From A Quiet Life was written after Ernest Greene left Atlanta in 2021 to return to the countryside where he grew up. It’s his first entirely self-produced album. Nathan Boddy and David Wrench assisted with mixing.

Watch the video for “The Hardest Part” below.

01 “Waking Up”
02 “Say Goodbye”
03 “Got Your Back”
04 “The Hardest Part”
05 “A Sign”
06 “Second Sight”
07 “Running Away”
08 “Wait On You”
09 “Wondrous Life”
10 “Letting Go”

Notes From A Quiet Life is out 6/28 on Sub Pop.

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