a & e | The indie pop group Ra Ra Riot

feat. Ray Kurzweil
December 1, 2019

— music —

album: Beta Love
song: “Binary Mind”
group: Ra Ra Riot
year: 2013

watch | “Binary Mind” • music video
listen | “Binary Mind” • song

selected reading

no. 1 |

broadcast: NPR
series: All Things Considered
story title: First Watch: Ra Ra Riot’s “Binary Mind”
author: by Robin Hilton
read | story

— excerpt  —

Indie pop group Ra Ra Riot album Beta Love is steeped in science fiction and futurism: with robots, space — and on the song “Binary Mind” merging  humans with computers. In a music video for the song the heads of the band members playfully float and bob in a kaleidoscope digital landscape.

Ra Ra Riot singer Wes Miles says “Binary Mind” was one of the first songs written for Beta Love and helped shape their album. Miles said: “It’s written from the viewpoint of a fiction version of futurist Ray Kurzweil.”

“In the song he longs for his father. He’s trying to merge with a computer and become immortal by uploading into the web. He wants to make an avatar of his father who he misses. He is dealing with time.”

The director for the music video of “Binary Mind” Cole Hannan took a textured approach. Hannan used photos he took of places and objects while walking around town. He filmed the band members singing while wearing green screen bibs to isolate their heads. Hannan said: “I started thinking about the concept of singularity. I wanted to make a story about a planet being created. Life on that planet popping up, that life assimilating with computers, and its new human-computer hybrid.”

no. 2 |

group: GHS Strings
section: Artists
artist profile: Ra Ra Riot
author: by Michael Tedder
read | story

— excerpt —

The band re-created themselves on their album Beta Love: a collection of giddy pop songs and heady lyrics that pull inspiration from futurist Ray Kurzweil among others.

question —Tell me about your song  “Binary Mind”  from your album Beta Love. That song has a science fiction-as-emotional conflict metaphor.

Wes Miles — Well, that song is about Ray Kurzweil. We got into him at the end of our album the Orchard. I majored in physics in college and I’m into science. Mathieu was also really into that.

Mathieu Santos — I ordered the book the Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil.

Wes Miles — It’s all about his math, estimating when humans and computers will become fully integrated. There’s a great documentary about him, exploring that idea — called Transcendent Man. So we got into him and his ideas. Watching the movie you realize one of his biggest hopes for singularity is to sort of re-create his father. He has boxes of his father’s documents and personal writings — he believes it will help him create a sort of avatar of his dad.

Meanwhile he’s racing against time in his own way — because according to his theory, singularity happens at a certain time. So that’s the song: from his perspective, hoping when singularity happens he’ll be able to sync with his computer and create his father — basically bring his father back to life.

question — Seems opposite your mind-set where you guys are trying to give up control — he’s trying to have control over death. Reminds me of the song “Dying Is Fine” from your first album. Beta Love is an interesting phrase — there’s the idea of beta as an in-progress software program, not quite ready to go.

Wes Miles — The lyrics in the song encapsulate a lot of topics on the record. It’s about a beta version of an android discovering love. But listening to it and writing all the lyrics, it felt like it was representative of everything.

no. 3 |

publication: Pitchfork
section: Reviews
story title: Ra Ra Riot • Beta Love
author: by Harley Brown
read | story

— excerpt —

Along with a lyrical focus inspired by author Ray Kurzweil’s book the Singularity Is Near, Ra Ra Riot incorporated more keyboards and synthesizers into many of the songs on their album Beta Love.

This new techie attitude is a change for a band known mostly for one thing. The album peaks during the drums on “Binary Mind” — the songs that speaks about Ray Kurzweil’s idea of trans-humanism:

no. 4 |

broadcast: MTV
department.: News
section: Music
story title: 5 ways William Gibson + Ray Kurzweil influence Ra Ra Riot’s new album
author: by Kory Grow
read | story

no. 5 |


on the web | pages

Ra Ra Riot | home
Ra Ra Riot | YouTube channel

Barsuk Records | home
Barsuk Records | Ra Ra Riot
Barsuk Records | YouTube channel

Arts + Crafts | home
Arts + Crafts | Ra Ra Riot
Arts + Crafts | YouTube channel: main
Arts + Crafts | YouTube channel: album Xfeat. Ra Ra Riot
Arts + Crafts | YouTube channel: album X — trailer

image | below
Photo of Ra Ra Riot members: Wes Miles, Milo Bonacci, Mathieu Santos, Rebecca Zeller, Alexandra Lawn.

photo: Ra Ra Riot

song lyrics | “Binary Mind”
author: by Ra Ra Riot

This body that I own — it’s got no use anymore
But to go to rack and ruin
This body that I own — I can’t tell you what it’s for
I can’t tell you
I can’t tell you — no
Alone in my room

Why — tell me why
I want to read you with this binary mind
Cause if I do I’m sure that we’ll be complete
That’s why I need this binary mind
So I can forget how lonely feels

This body that I own — is giving up a thank you for
The information given me — I found
This body that I own — is part of everything I’ve learned
It’s gone — why, why, why?
If they don’t mind — no

Why — tell me why
I want to read you with this binary mind
Cause if I do I’m sure that we’ll be complete
That’s why I need this binary mind
So I can forget how lonely feels

I don’t know why you’ve gone
It’s a technocratic future world
Though it’s only time ahead
But alone in my room
It don’t matter — just prepare my release

Why — tell me why
I want to read you with this binary mind
Cause if I do I’m sure that we’ll be complete
That’s why I need this binary mind
So I can forget how lonely feels
So I can forget how lonely feels

Cause if it’s falling apart —  it’s falling apart
And if I don’t, I don’t agree
I won’t let that stop this — no
I won’t let that stop — this is falling apart
I won’t let that, though I don’t

This body that I own
This body that I own


— notes —

MTV = Music Television
NPR = National Public Radio

[ story file ]

story title: a + e | The indie pop group Ra Ra Riot
deck: feat. Ray Kurzweil
folder: daily blog — a + e

[ end of file ]