It has been nearly 15 years since Alex Frejrud was on the music scene; after making a sizeable splash in 2003 with The Damiana Error, the debut album from his electro/rock band SexyDeath, things went awry as a series of misfortunes and misfires left the follow-up album, The Funeral Reserve, to languish in virtual obscurity. Now, Frejrud has returned with a new Web3.0 multimedia endeavor, combining A.I. artwork and animation with a cinematic visual scope and, of course, music: Hellbach. Presented as an episodic series through YouTube and social/streaming platforms like Tik-Tok and Instagram, the narrative presents a dystopian vision of a future akin to Blade Runner and Strange Days, in which human experience is a tradeable commodity in a vast underground – the Memory Market – wherein memories are bought and sold, and identity is ultimately manipulated for the nefarious machinations of the titular figure of Hellbach (depicted by the likeness of Frejrud). Two episodes have been revealed, with the second presenting the character of Elektra, an “A.I. love companion,” with future episodes continuing to flesh out the story and introduce additional music and more advanced tech; as well, additional material and interactions can be discovered via the Hellbach Discord.
Written and created by Frejrud, Hellbach is produced by Provok3.com and Glampire Labs, utilizing such tools as ChatGPT, Midjourney, Photoshop Generative Fill, ElevenLabs, and LeiaPix. On the musical front, a track titled “Provoke” is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks; originally written during sessions for SexyDeath, the song has been repurposed for Hellbach. Additional collaborations and remixes are currently in the works to further expand on the Hellbach universe.