Soundtracks that Can Take You Places
1. Scoring Real Journeys in Imaginary Worlds
The nostalgia triggered by music is unlike any other art form. The right track can transport the listener back to a previously experienced reality — whether it’s an entire stadium belting out your college fight song or the pure joy of a campfire singalong.
For those who grew up playing video games, those soundtracks stir up the same nostalgia — but for completely imaginary moments:
The slow crescendo of strings will bring you right back to exploring the wilderness of Morrowind.
This transfixing choral arrangement evokes seeing the ring in Halo for the first time.
The haunting vocals of Sea Power’s “Want to Be Free” from that final boat ride in Disco Elysium will always be enough to raise the hair at the back of your neck.
And of course, the staccato, electronic beeps of Mario will bring many a Millennial back to the second row of their family car, Gameboy in hand.
“The concept of dynamic music – or music that changes to your environment or actions – is unique to games. As players, we have come to rely on music to tell us we’re in danger, to react when we draw our swords, and tell us to calm down when the coast is clear. It is our soundtrack, no one else’s.” - Louise Blain, Sound of Gaming presenter.
As the gaming industry has matured, the ‘albums’ associated with iconic games have become holy grail collectors’ items, with die-hard fans tracking down old school vinyl records in order to relive those imaginary moments — so much so that now there are labels like Data Discs specializing in producing these highly-coveted OSTs . For the smaller indie game, these albums can be another revenue stream to support bootstrapping creators while offering a small but passionate fanbase one more touchpoint to keep them coming back to the worlds they love.
2. William Blake’s Nightmares Walk Again
Apple opened it’s new London flagship last week with the launch of “United Visions,” an augmented reality experience that focuses on bringing to life the monstrous figures of poet and painter William Blake's The Ghost of a Flea (1819-20). Artist duo Tin&Ed worked with hip-hop producer Just Blaze and the Getty Museum to bring the much-sampled, much-referenced artist’s work to life — complete with hypnotic soundtrack.
The Getty, which holds 1 of 3 surviving examples of Blake’s Satan Exulting over Eve is scheduled to open it’s Blake exhibition autumn 2023 — an evolution of Tate Britain's 2019 retrospective — which digitally “graffitied” and animated Blake’s demonic figures to walk the London streets he once frequented. Now with AR, Just Blaze hopes to continue the tradition. He described his own introduction to Blake's work— a story in a Spiderman comic —and said he hoped that United Visions would provide a similar introduction for a new generation. As hardware and software improve, there’s no telling what old masters and mad geniuses might be resurrected and rediscovered.
3. Miami is for HODLRs
Winter may have come for NFTs in the rest of the world, but in Miami, spring has sprung. The city has rebranded itself as the “crypto-capital” of the world — positioning itself as a hotbed for blockchain innovation. Mayor Francis X. Suarez shared plans Thursday to release 5,000 Ethereum NFTs later this year. The NFTs will be designed by 56 different Miami artists “representing the city’s 56 square mile area” — a collection that celebrates the diversity of the local art and charity scene.
Time USA will help define the city’s NFT strategy as well as execute the project, while Mastercard will offer Miami NFT holders exclusive benefits like special event access at restaurants and private cultural tours of the city. A first-of-its-kind foray into a yet-untapped utility — NFT as city guidebook.
4. Cult & Rain + Superplastic Launch Parties Offer a Glimpse into Parallel Realities
If there’s one thing a party is good for, it’s for bringing people together and converting skeptics into believers — with the help of some social lubrication, of course.
In London last week, Cult & Rain unveiled the latest stage of its Web3 roadmap with an installation and party at Outernet on London’s Tottenham Court Road — a new hub devoted exclusively to immersive experiences. Guests included a range of VIP token holders, fashion industry execs and potential investors, all curious how a metaverse event could be translated to physical space.
The launch event featured parties occurring simultaneously in Cultr World and in London. A live DJ streamed from Vegas to both destinations while avatars visiting Cultr World beneath a galaxy sky were broadcast on 360-degree screens around the event. Luxury sneaker prototypes were available to try on via AR and wristbands with QR codes that granted POAPs (proof of attendance protocols, which act as commemorative digital badges).
Meanwhile, across the pond in NY, Superplastic launched its first physical retail space on New York’s Prince Street. The store features physical products, character holographs; and rewards token holders with a VIP room, including token-gated perks and products. Teasers for future collaborations are sprinkled throughout the space as Easter eggs. Founder Paul Budnitz hops that the experiential space can unlock that coveted loyalty loop among NFT holders: the ability to access special products, fashion tickets or concert tickets may be coming just down the line.
…And In Case You Missed It