Acclaimed electronic musician Moiré releases glitchy hellscape alongside album

The most experimental and daring (read: LIT) indie music artists have been flirting with videogames for a while now. Grimes headlined Moogfest with a Microsoft Kinect-powered interactive installation last year; the bassist from the noise-rock band Lighting Bolt, Brian Gibson, recently created the VR-favorite rhythm hell game Thumper; and Björk literally cannot even right now with how much she loves VR. Today, architect/electronic musician Moiré joined the digital revolution, forgoing the usual music video to instead release a browser glitch art game in conjunction with his newest album, No Future. Created with interactive experience designer Isaac Cohen (AKA Cabbibo), MONOLITH consists of large, glitchy, empty spaces populated by a smattering of human avatars,…


VIRGO’s dreamy Water Planet drips to Steam this summer

When we last saw Water Planet in the summer of 2016, the virtual reality game accompaniment to electronic musician VIRGO’s EP of the same name, it had just been ushered through Steam Greenlight. But that was sometime ago, and after hearing nothing but crickets for nearly six months, its release window is finally upon us. Water Planet will be released on Steam for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and even PC in Summer 2017. When listening to VIRGO’s music, it’s hard not to dream up the world of Water Planet on your own, as the synths lend themselves to the…


Chrome-tinged cats come to life in this colorful VR music video

Most virtual reality music videos feel the same. They’re all impressive on a technical level, rotating 360-degrees so viewers can take in all their surroundings. Yet little of them inject the most integral feature: interactivity. That is, except for Tyler Hurd, an animator known for injecting life into those typically stagnant virtual reality music videos and making them colorful, fun, and most of all—somewhat playable like a game. At the Tribeca Film Festival last year, the animator unleashed “Old Friend,” a zany, psychedelic dance party where the player shimmied alongside a cartoonish conductor. In Hurd’s follow-up, a collaboration with Viacom NEXT, interactivity roots…


The Irish mythology and music behind watercolor game Scéal

Sandro Magliocco spent his childhood playing around and exploring the medieval coastal town of Carlingford, Ireland. So when his Slovakia-based, multinational team at Joint Custody decided to set its debut title in Ireland, it made sense for him to revisit those early memories and set the game in a place he knew well. But more than that, Magliocco argues that the Cooley Peninsula—where Carlingford is located—lends itself well to a videogame environment for two reasons. “Firstly, there’s the geographical variety, from the mountain of Slieve Foy looming over Carlingford village, to the forests and hills connecting to the village of Omeath, and the waters…

The Norwood Suite

Making videogames inspired by New York’s musical improv scene

Greg Heffernan (aka Cosmo D) is making videogames unlike anyone else right now. He attributes it to two things: his early efforts to visualize music, and his background among the New York music scene. The first game he made, Saturn V (2014), turned the track of the same name by Heffernan’s band Archie Pelago into a virtual space. It was meant as a creative experiment: Heffernan said that he always thought of the music he created as a window into his head. By turning “Saturn V” into a 3D space he calcified that idea. Players could wander around a “vertical…


Japanese artist creates music with obsolete technology

A lot of newer music has been deemed inane and ridiculous for sounding like broken technology. Dubstep’s sound, for example, has been compared to the sound of hitting a metal pole with a chainsaw, the sound of robots dying, the sound of a root canal. According to Wendy’s: “Dubstep sounds like a broken Frosty machine.” Dubstep sounds like a broken Frosty machine. — Wendy's (@Wendys) March 6, 2012 However, artist Ei Wada embraces the sounds of the old and broken with music that repurposes obsolete fans, TVs, and radios by turning them into instruments. Wada’s work with such technology tends…


Thumper is here for a beatdown

I’ve only been to one Lightning Bolt concert in my life, but it left a serious impression on me. The band—comprised of duo Brian Gibson on bass and Brian Chippendale on drums and vocals—set up their gear on the floor in front of the stage with a stacked wall of amps behind them. The music is loud and fast, a flurry of noise-metal bass churn, blistering drum rhythms, and distorted, indecipherable shouts. The crowd was a compact mass of bodies, not so much a mosh pit as a sweaty blob fighting against the shape of its container. There was no…


Surprise! Thumper is out now and it’s fast as hell

Originally scheduled to release on October 13, it appears the team at Drool decided to say, “To Hell with schedules,” and release Thumper a few days early for PlayStation VR, PlayStation 4, and Steam. For the uninitiated, Thumper is an insane “rhythm violence” game that puts players in control of a chrome beetle, firing down its track at breakneck speeds, all the while fighting metal leviathans blocking its way. It’s bright, intense, and kind of hard to stare at, looking less like a game and more like a Hajime Sorayama painting from a neon Hell. “can’t even describe it to someone else” When…

Atrocity Exhibition

Danny Brown will die for this shit

“On death row, feel like I am…” For Danny Brown, all is lost. Atrocity Exhibition is the most heartbreaking record in a minute. It begins, quite literally and awash in scuzz, with the “Downward Spiral,” an ongoing theme in Danny’s work since 2011’s seminal XXX. Herein: Danny, on a coke binge, contracting STDs, allowing his own exploitation, in a clown car, a circus show, the atrocity exhibition; this idea that Ballard and then Curtis put forth years ago, and Brown somehow has the intuition to put back in the forefront of our minds at this present time. The freak show that…