Brooklyn-based musical trio, Archie Pelago, wanted people to experience the track “Saturn V,” from their latest album, Lakeside Obelisk, in a more interactive and personal manner. The apparent solution was conjured up by Pelago’s Cosmo D: an interactive exploration of each band member’s mind inside a digital game.
A “galactic treehouse” (also called Saturn V) has since been crafted in the Unity engine, with a floor dedicated to the personality, memories, and interests of the three musicians. The murals on the walls and object choices are wacky, melding well with the spacey sounds of Saturn V.
Notably, the song is mixed into different parts of the spaces to provide a unique feel to each one. I’m particularly in love with the starting corridor, as it’s here that you can endlessly listen to the opening loop of Saturn V–a calming saxophone backed up by a light weave from a cello with rippling electronic hits sounding in the distance–while letting your imagination run off to color the barren planet spotted through the large window.
That opening has become a meditative space for me. It invites you into the rooms ahead with a curling finger; you’re not invading personal space, but being offered to connect with it.
After you get through this introductory corridor, chilling vocals and dreamy beats are brought in. The expansion of the song’s instruments mimics the opening of the digital space in front of you.
Further inside you can see blobby renditions of Homer Simpson, a lounging chameleon, and a fish with legs painted on the walls. There’s a piano, lamps, pictures of pets, a gong, a human skull atop a bar, and plush royal rugs to step on.
Moving above or below the central floor causes the soundtrack to distort. Go below and the treble pulls away, making it sound as if you’re underwater. Going above sees the bass removed from the track.
You’ll also notice a slight change to the lighting and the types of objects as you explore. There are dimly lit pool tables, huge barrels of alcohol, mixing decks, and a dancehall where you can perform your best digital ballet moves. It’s as much a performative space for you (your digital body and your mind) as it is a way for the musicians to connect with listeners.
You can download Saturn V for free from this page.