Grotesque (1992)

Grotesque (1992)

Grotesque from the Swedish Atari ST group Omega was part of an early 1990s demoscene trend, which saw demo artists expanding the medium in new and exciting ways.

The art form was evolving fast from demo compilations (megademos) into ambitious productions where different elements formed a seamless whole. Demo artists were influenced by other mediums (for example, film, music videos, and advertisements) and creatively infused everything into their craft. This resulted in a wide range of new kinds of demos with dynamic transitions, music syncing, narrative elements, personal stories, political undertones and experimental effects.

Grotesque uses fast cuts, flashes, logos and a variety of 3D effects to convey a message, which could be seen as a critique of consumerism. Omega sampled and remixed Belgian EBM pioneer Front 242's song Punish Your Machine for the demo's soundtrack. This blunt industrial track complements perfectly the visuals and helps drive the message home.

1990s release: the long version of Punish Your Machine is embedded in Front242's Tragedy for You.

For many, the pinnacle of the early 1990s music video demos were the Norwegian Amiga group Spaceballs' two productions: State of the Art (1992) and Nine Fingers (1993). However, the trend had its roots firmly in earlier efforts. For example, Amiga group LSD's Jesus on E's (1992) ran over half an hour and featured music and visual effects which would not have been out of place at a warehouse rave.

Grotesque, however, was not copying the iconic demos made by Spaceballs. Omega's piece was released before State of the Art, at The Party (organized by The Lazer Heads and The Final Spacecoders) in Sweden, in October 1992. State of the Art was released two months later, in late December, at The Party in Denmark (same name, different event).

If Omega were influenced by anything, it was probably earlier scene work and, of course, productions which existed on other mediums.

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