Thom York anxiety machine.
March 1, 2013 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Thom Yorke's new band recently released their album so I went and found the video of the "single" from it. The visuals are a simple repeating/changing pattern of rectangles. It's so simple yet it brings me almost immediately to the edge of a panic attack.

Is this a thing? Or is it just me?

It's almost like the inverse of ASMR porn...

the video (youtube)
posted by aloiv2 to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, I'm fine with it. So it doesn't induce panic in everyone who sees it.

Do other things trigger this response for you?
posted by dubold at 6:40 PM on March 1, 2013


I'm well-acquainted with having panic attacks and this was fine for me, actually it was a little soothing.
posted by cairdeas at 6:43 PM on March 1, 2013


The repetitive beats drive me fucking nuts, but the visuals don't disturb me.

All I can tell you is that if you're having trouble with this you never want to play this little game called Tetris. Also, match games.
posted by iamfantastikate at 6:43 PM on March 1, 2013


I viewed it, no panic attack here either. But I must admit, I did find it a little irritating. Something about the squares entering in from the perimeter of the video. My understanding is humans prefer patterns, maybe the randomness is what is throwing you off.
posted by JujuB at 6:45 PM on March 1, 2013


It made me a bit twitchy in the sense that it was going too slowly for me. I wanted to see what the squares were building. But no, no real anxiety or negative effects. And I have experienced ASMR before, including a pleasant episode yesterday after making a right turn. Buh. The brain is weird.
posted by The Hyacinth Girl at 6:45 PM on March 1, 2013


Response by poster: Never come across something that elicited quite this response in me, and definitely not this fast. It feels almost like a bad dream when I watch it...bizarre.

That said I LOVED tetris, pretty damn good at it back in the TI-83 days.

For what it's worth, before I saw this video I loved the track, so it really seems limited to these visuals.
posted by aloiv2 at 6:45 PM on March 1, 2013


Just realized I probably should have tried it with the sound on. Having done that, could it be the fact that the movement of the rectangles doesn't match up to the beat?
posted by cairdeas at 6:46 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Yeah, I'm with you - the video gives me a mild sense of unease. I used to have a similar feeling when I was a kid.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:54 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can kinda see that - I think it's the asynchronous movement to the music. Do you get the anxiety watching it muted?
posted by Fig at 6:56 PM on March 1, 2013


I wonder if it's the coloring at all. How do you feel about old black and white films that are a little jerky?
posted by iamfantastikate at 6:56 PM on March 1, 2013


Today I listened to a Thom Yorke interview with Steve Lamacq where Lamacq said the album gave him full-on panic while riding a packed train. Yorke seemed very pleased with this. Maybe something about the skittish beats combined with movement triggers anxiety?

Also, for me, the eye movements I made while watching the video reminded me of EMDR.
posted by limeswirltart at 7:08 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmmn. Hadn't heard it before this. The video with the sound on didn't give me a panic attack, but it DID make me faintly but distinctly uneasy/uncomfortable.
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:08 PM on March 1, 2013


No panic attack, but it's annoying as fuck!
posted by Salamander at 9:37 PM on March 1, 2013


It didn't make me panicky at all, but it seemed like it was in super slow-motion or something and induced such a profound feeling of irritated boredom that I couldn't watch it for long. It was literally like watching a pot of water slowly, slowly work itself into a mild boil. It didn't help that I've never really liked any of Yorke's music other than Creep.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:48 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Best answer: It looks like the kind of visuals I get when I have a very high fever and hallucinate about endlessly zooming black-and-white geometric patterns for hours on end. So no, no panic, but I wouldn't call the sensation pleasant.
posted by Zarkonnen at 11:01 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know what it reminds me of? When you are sitting in an exam at the start, and the timer begins and you are allowed to turn your exam paper over. And over. And over. And over. It's like being caught in a loop at the start of a test. No wonder it makes you anxious.
posted by lollusc at 11:09 PM on March 1, 2013


It looks like the kind of visuals I get when I have a very high fever and hallucinate about endlessly zooming black-and-white geometric patterns for hours on end. So no, no panic, but I wouldn't call the sensation pleasant.

Exactly this for me too.
posted by xchmp at 2:45 AM on March 2, 2013


The motion of the "stamps," though it's trying to emulate a very "natural" motion, is actually very unnatural and artificial. Maybe that's what it's about. It's very CG, in a way.
posted by victory_laser at 2:49 AM on March 2, 2013


For what it's worth, before I saw this video I loved the track, so it really seems limited to these visuals.

Did you try watching with the sound off?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:53 AM on March 2, 2013


I just showed my husband and he said it feels "vaguely menacing, like you're being bricked in"
posted by Lotto at 4:22 AM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love Radiohead/York and liked the song, but I can definitely understand the unease with the video; I couldn't even watch it all way through, I had to switch to a different window periodically. I think that's partially the point. The pace at which the tiles appear shifts frequently so you can't settle into any rhythm of expectation, and it seems like there's a conscious refusal to complete parts of the picture that are partially revealed set the viewer on edge even more. In short, I think it's designed to make you uncomfortable; and as much as I like Thom York and this song, I'd not want to watch this video again.
posted by skewed at 9:11 AM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Curious what you think of the other video from Atoms For Peace.

I agree that it is likely a combination of the music and visuals.
posted by ageispolis at 11:24 AM on March 2, 2013


I found it soothing, in the same way I find Tetris to be soothing. It's something about a process of dynamic assembly, dunno. I'm prone to anxiety attacks, but I find that whole album to just be super-zen.
posted by like_a_friend at 2:18 PM on March 2, 2013


Are you one of those people that gets anxiety from watching someone struggle with a simple task? To the point where you just want to push them aside and do it yourself? That video gave me the same anxiety I get from watching people do what I mentioned. The way the squares were being placed had no sense of order and then when some were being taken away and then put back...ugh! It kind of reminded me of something trying to put an easy puzzle together and struggling with it.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:03 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


My response was like MaryDellamorte. I found it really slow and frustrating, and had to skip ahead. Maybe being frustrated causes anxiety in you?
posted by 3491again at 4:27 PM on March 6, 2013


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