Makeup and Vanity Set is likely one of the most prolific artists in the Nashville area. He provides the score for countless podcasts such as Monster, Radio Rental and Up and Vanished, drops multiple full-length albums that embrace a range of styles and even manages to post up exclusives for his Bandcamp subscribers. It’s a lot to keep up with but it’s never exhausting.
The latest release is entitled Endless Destiny, a bit of a concept album that deals with our modern world of social networks and algorithms. The official writeup sums it up nicely:
We came to age believing the future would be controlled by mega corps and Skynet AI, but instead we got multibillion dollar algorithms that exploit the social constructs of racism and outrage as a business model. The music on Endless Destiny is the byproduct of this human / machine relationship.
You may be asking; how does an electronic musician make an album that speaks to those concepts without lyrics? Enter, the official video for the track “Algorithm,” written and directed by Saman Kesh and Justin Dashuur Hopkins. The piece is more short film than music video as it follows a scammer trying to brute force a Help Bot into a refund. Things do not go as planned.
Spoiling the plot specifics would rob you of the enjoyment of watching as things unfold but, suffice to say, it’s clear how the video could be viewed as controversial. Questions around data privacy are the most obvious touchpoint for discussion but the rampant underbelly of nefarious and disgusting Internet behaviors is the real subject to tackle. By the end of the video, it’s clear who the protagonist is but it’s uncomfortable to root for either party. Even more damning is the realization that this storyline isn’t set in some future, dystopian, alternate universe; this is our world as it exists today.
Makeup and Vanity Set’s output is impressive and enjoyable on all accounts. The “Algorithm” track finds itself being an ominously dance-y number; a unexpected dichotomy well reflected in the video. Music aside, the willingness from MAVS to push the envelope on subjects like trolls, AI, privacy and our relationship with technology – ever evolving and devolving – is what sets his work apart.
Endless Destiny is available everywhere now.