BatAAr Calls Out Artist Demonetization and Suppression by Technocracy in "GHOSTMODERN[ism]" Music Video

Nobody is more sensitive to the suppression of art than artists themselves. And when it comes to visual kei artists, BatAAr has been both one of the most affected targets and most vocal critics of artist censorship by tech platforms in recent memory. As we covered in our last article (click here to read it), BatAAr had previously announced the release of a video for a new song titled "GHOSTMODERN[ism]." Well, the video has now been released, and will take you on quite a wild ride!

While the video stands out due to its vivid aesthetic and unique editing approach (more on both later), it turns out that the subject matter of the video is quite close to home for the members. Set in a kind of digitized postmodern hellscape, "GHOSTMODERN[ism]" features several references to frustrating practices imposed on creators by YouTube. For example, the video opens with a fake version of the "This video is not available in your country. Sorry about that." message that is well-known by international fans of Japanese music.

Even more relevant are the references to the dreaded YouTube demonetization symbol (the big yellow circles with dollar signs in them). For those of you who don't know, BatAAr suffered substantially in their online growth back in late 2017/early 2018, when their most successful music video was age-restricted for "mature content" and subsequently demonetized. (Read our interview with them about their issues with YouTube here.) For context, it's important to note that video demonetization and especially age-restriction both severely handicap the ability for a video to spread across YouTube. Morever, similarly dark or sexualized videos from larger artists like Marilyn Manson or Rihanna were not affected by these restrictions at the time. This seemed to imply that a certain amount of "rules for me but not for thee" mentality was being applied to smaller artists by the YouTube algorithm. These kinds of problems affecting smaller creators on YouTube have continued on in various forms to this day: some have been resolved, some have stayed the same, and some have morphed into different or more complex issues.

This time, however, BatAAr doesn't just limit their criticism to YouTube. The "GHOSTMODERN[ism]" video is littered with a variety of imagery depicting subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) jabs at other ways that modern technology imposes restrictions on free thought and artistic expression. The video seems intended to be left open to interpretation, so make sure you check it out for yourselves (we've embedded it below). Let us know in the comments what else you picked up on and what you think it means! I'll share one more part of the video that caught my eye: a depiction of what appears to be Twitter's controversial use of artificial intelligence to remove or delete certain tweets automatically. It goes by fast, but you can see it in the GIF below:

BatAAr released their video for "GHOSTMODERN[ism]" on March 9th. It features a variety of experimentation in both visuals and sound. The video employs a variety of intense neon colors and digital effects, and the song's verses feature a rather interesting fast-rap, courtesy of vocalist Endigo. Check it out:

Endigo also released a behind-the-scenes video showing the recordings of "GHOSTMODERN[ism]" and other previous singles on his personal channel. According to Endigo, the unique and trippy editing in the "GHOSTMODERN[ism]" video was done by BatAAr's guitarist Simon. This song is particularly special because it's the first song Endigo has written entirely himself (both the music and the lyrics) since the band's song "LAVENDER." Even more monumental, "GHOSTMODERN[ism]" is the first BatAAr song that Endigo has mixed and mastered himself! All in all, Endigo says that  this is the craziest music video he's ever been a part of. We've included his commentary video below.

Lastly, you can also check out the individual member photos for BatAAr's new look from "GHOSTMODERN[ism]" that were posted in the days leading up to the video release!

Vocalist: Endigo

Guitarist: Patrik

Guitarist: Simon

Drummer: Tobias

Source: OHP, BatAAr - Official YouTube Channel, Endigo @ YouTube

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