Addressing the ever-shrinking credibility of rock journalism since 2007. With a sasquatch.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Screen Shots: Demoscene

Pimp my Chips, a demoscene app by programmer Paul Grenfell with music by Matt Westcott.

In a world where "cloud" based music players are the future of music distribution and digital downloads - MP3 albums completely leave album art behind in the name of efficiency.

By doing so, this streamlined digital delivery method robs audiences of iconic images like The Doors self-titled album, Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, Robert Crumb's work on Janice Joplin's Cheap Thrills, Radiohead's Hail To The Thief and The Beatles' Abbey Road.

These important images no longer get into fans' hands to set the tempo of an album and it's done in the name of progress. Whats left is an anonymous 50x50 pixel icon of... what? No one w/out a microscope knows for sure.

Enter an unlikely answer to this problem of faceless music. Demoscene, a computer art subculture that produces advanced demos and apps - audio-visual presentations that run in real-time on a computer. The main goal of a demo is to show off programming, artistic, and musical skills - apply this to an album release and what do you have? Virtual Viynl.

With these interactive MP3 players, a label or a band can take all the imagery that would normally go into an album and re-purpose it for a "virtual" album release. All photography, video and music elements once commodified as a website, CD-ROM, DVD or "enhanced" CD are now available as a downloadable application much in the same way a MP3 album is - only with all art and video included. In fact, in order to maximize the release a Demo can contain a full MP3 album for use in iTunes and other MP3 player applications.

And you thought that the music industry was getting less interesting, huh? No way. And to further that point web sites such as The White Stripes, Flaming Lips and The Black Angels feature on-line multimedia galleries in a way that even 5 years ago seemed impossible.

References: Paranoid Android by Radiohead, Parlophone, Capitol Records 1997.

No comments: