Some of us just can’t watch a “normal” music video anymore, passively absorbing flat images in a rectangle video square. With electronic acts so frequently collaborating with digital artists, it seems only natural that ambient outfit Teengirl Fantasy (Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss) have released their new EP Thermal as an “interactive online experience.”
Each of the four singles on the album are paired with four in-browser, embeddable virtual worlds utilizing WebGL and Web Audio, allowing the viewer to manipulate the video and audio with mouse and keyboard controls. Launched today, Thermal Online Experience was created by the digital agency 4REAL.
Moving the mouse inside “Cavescape” changes the camera angle, swooping around a gyrating black blob, floating and morphing surrounded by Dan Flavin-style neon beams, before being sucked into a flashing, prismatic chasm which inexplicably spits forth flowers and desktop computers. You can try it out right here.
“U Touch Me” is a video game-like experience influenced by David Lynch’s Lost Highway. As you pilot a shiny, speeding sports car through the desert night using your keyboard, you do actually lose the highway, along with the glowing billboards featuring bits of pink-hued video. It’s not exactly overwhelming with action, but fitting to the hypnotic, synthy loops and electric crinkles of the track.
“7:30 AM” is chilly and beautiful but its navigation is a bit confusing. Meanwhile, “Lung” (embedded below) is a playful, faux-augmented reality simulation, showcasing the sunny live action of the original official video featuring Lafawndah, on a rendered device inside the virtual space.
According to 4REAL’s press release, the agency would like to foster “a more immersive and poetic internet.” Not without its quirks, their latest project is a timely and enjoyable interface, particularly for those partial to the aesthetics of the immaculate digital tableaux by artist Takeshi Murata for Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Problem Areas” and the software-centric 3-D worlds of Holly Herndon’s “Chorus” created by artist Akihiko Taniguchi. It’s only subtly interactive however, and there have been more complex online music projects recently, like Tanline’s Photoshop-like “Not the Same” from OKFocus. Perhaps, the sweet spot of multi-format online entertainment today is striking a balance between involved and just distracting enough.