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What are VR music videos good for?

Top Chef notwithstanding, it is rarely advisable to see how a sausage is made. This is not a new aphorism—aphorisms are rarely new—but technology has given it new resonance. It has never been easier to distribute bonus content, to be ‘closer’ to artists, and to see heretofore-mysterious processes. All this access, however, blurs the line between immersion and sausage making. Case in point: the release of Swiss artist KnoR’s new EP, “Don’t Go.” There’s all the standard spec, three songs and a music video, but the release also includes a virtual reality app because…why not? a lot like sitting too…


Has Gears of War aged better than the song that marketed it?

Unlike movies, videogames rarely have memorable trailers. Most of the commercials created to show them off are either brief sizzle reels or prolonged, hacky punchlines. The TV spot for the original Gears of War was an exception, however. Undercutting the promise of apocalyptic alien carnage with the solemn baying of Gary Jules in his cover of “Mad World” led to a stop, turn, and watch moment. Somehow, the juxtaposition of a lone, bandana-clad bro running through a deserted metropolis with the melancholy musings of a piano and folksy singer-songwriter compelled a second look. Thus did it become, at least in…


Paths We Take turns falling in love into a rapturous collision of bodies

With his latest EP, Paths We Take, internet weird-house and software artist Brian returns us to his distinctive realm of ordinary life turned bizarre. It’s an EP of four songs, each one describing a chapter in a story that follows two people and their life together as it unfolds. “They meet, fall in love, build a life together, and have a child,” Brian says. But this worded description is bereft of every emotion the music (and the single accompanying music video) transmits with its synth-driven telepathy. While listening, we can pick out moments of regret, joy, nervousness, and terror in…


Soft Body’s teaser trailer is a meditative music video in search of a game

How many videogames could just as easily be Bon Iver or Sigur Rós music videos? Ten percent? Fifteen? In the spirit of that question, here is the trailer for Soft Body, which, in addition to being the fashion thinkpiece term of art for yours truly, is apparently “an action-puzzle game set in a meditative, musical world”:  Soft Body is what happens when bits of every arcade game you have ever loved escape the zoo and join forces to form a chilly synth-pop band. Snakes slither around a series of abstract obstacles, no longer constrained by the hard boxes of early…


Blur’s new, brightly coloured music video is a Super Mario dreamscape

If you ever wanted to see Gorillaz and Blur frontman Damon Albarn dressed up as a giant ice cream cone, now’s your chance. Britpop group Blur have re-envisioned Super Mario World in their music video for “Ong Ong,” replacing Mario and Peach with Mr. and Ms. Okay, two smiling yellow circles. The video follows the journey of Mr. Okay as he tries to rescue Ms. Okay, who has been taken from him by the evil forces of Mr. Cream, Mr. Brown, Mr. Red and Mr. Black—also known as Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree of Blur. The…


Jamie xx’s solo album is made of polygons and dance music

Feeling starved for layered electronic beats and primary-colored shapes? Well, you’re in luck. In Colour, the debut album by Jamie xx, is here to fill that rectangle-shaped void in your heart. Like the music of his other project, The xx, Jamie’s solo work is low-key and beautifully simple, but In Colour feels very much its own thing. Informed by the dance music traditions of UK DJs, Jamie xx takes beats that would feel at home in the 90s and re-skins them for 2015. beats that would feel at home in the 90s  Since his solo work is based in a…


Recreate Jamiroquai’s "Virtual Insanity" music video in this game

I remember being eight-years-old and having a playground debate as to how Jamiroquai’s music video to the song “Virtual Insanity” was made. We were kids, so obviously one of the suggestions was that it was magic. Another said it was computer graphics. But the most plausible was that the floors were moving. When bringing this suggestion to my dad even he agreed that it was probably the answer. It wasn’t. It’s the dance of a cyborg.  If you’re not familiar with the 1996 pop-soul record or its video, you should remedy that right now. Jay Kay, the band’s singer, seems…