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Jazztronica Meets Pop Art in Asta Hiroki’s ‘Cherry Blossom’ Music Video

The Brighton-based visual artist brings a storybook feel, using public domain cartoons, and a Roy Lichtenstein-inspired tone, to his animated short, released in support of his debut album, ‘Entropy.’

From Brighton-based visual artist and producer Asta Hiroki comes an energetic new music video, “Cherry Blossom,” from a track on his debut album, Entropy, released this past Friday on Jalapeno Records. The music showcases Hiroki's unique blend of leftfield electronica, downtempo, contemporary jazz, and hip-hop, and was recorded across studios in the U.S., U.K., Colombia, and Cyprus, with a great cast that includes Lalin (The Seshen, Tru Thoughts), Muhsinah (Robert Glasper, Flying Lotus, Common) Dontmesswithjuan, and Tristan de Liège (Loci Records, Future Archive). 

In the ‘Cherry Blossom’ short, Hiroki infuses a distinctive, storybook feel into the pop-art animation, all set to his modern, increasingly lively percussive “jazztronica” track. “With visual art, I like to play around,” he shares. “I don't have one set methodology for my work. In previous projects, such as my recent video for the track ‘Slumber,’ I collaborated with hand drawing animator Benn Gabriner, and we used a blend of hand-drawn animated loops alongside home-made custom lo-fi video effects on regular filmed footage to create a more animated world.”

Take a moment to enjoy the groove!

“For this project I adopted a totally different approach to the visuals, instead researching out-of-copyright animation, taking short samples from about 7 or 8 different cartoons, and piecing together a new narrative that was something completely different from the original content,” he continues. “I'd compare the approach on 'Cherry Blossom' to that of a hip-hop producer sampling different elements of original songs to create something new.”  

Opting for a Roy Lichtenstein-esque pop art tone, Hiroki chose a duotone color scheme, adding dust and grain to gain further textures and movement. He notes, “The main challenge of the video production was in the sourcing and editing of the visual samples to create a compelling narrative that matched the feelings of the track. It rises and falls in energy especially around drummer Robbie Hookins' performance, so I was keen to use imagery that complemented both the quieter and louder dynamics of the music. To illustrate this there is the calm preparation of loading up bombs and preparing for war before powerful scenes showcasing the inevitable impacts shattering the surrounding environment and the emotional toll on people."

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Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.