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OMD Gets Kraftwerkian, Examines Our Emoji Present In A Zoetropic Video For 'Isotype'

A still from OMD's "Isotype" video.MoreCloseclosemore
A still from OMD's "Isotype" video.

OMD's new song is a soaring six minutes of deeply Kraftwerk-ian vocoder-pop, a masterclass in soulful electronic from a pair that's been making music for four decades. In total OMD fashion, the new song takes a lesson from art history and applies it the modern day, examining how winky and smiling-poop icons have replaced everyday language.

"Emojis are the new Isotypes," synthesist Paul Humphreys offers in the British synthpop band's forthcoming track-by-track explanation of the new album, The Punishment Of Luxury.

An Isotype is a distillation of information into simple, visual imagery, originally developed by Austrian philosopher Otto Neurath and German Modern artist Gerd Arntz in the 1930s. For the "Isotype" video, director Henning M. Lederer turns Arntz's original images into a hypnotic zoetrope-inspired wheel of concentric-spinning symbols. It's a great visualization for OMD, which wanted to explore a 20th century art form in the context of the modern world.

"It's become a metaphor," says singer Andy McCluskey in that upcoming video. "Now you have your phone set to where, in addition to having spell check, it will thrown in emojis — whether you want them or not. The way you write is being distilled. I was playing with the idea ... where our communication values systems are being reduced to the point where you actually wonder if you're getting the point over, but it's also stripped down. It's just, 'Text me.'"

The Punishment Of Luxury comes out Sept. 1 via 100% Records.

Copyright NPR 2017.

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