There was an interesting feature in Wired UK (Yeah, we read Wired UK, we like to stay hot on the heels of the digital revolution when we are not busy with our debauched flesh reversing exercises) about transmedia, and how the boundaries between content (visual/interactive/read/geo-localised, as in Alternate Reality Games and all that jazz) are vanishing as histories, characters, universes leap across media with the abandon of feisty goats climbing the holy mountain of cross-platform revenue generation. Which surely is an understandable thing, people invest big bucks on a franchise and by spreading their creative memes like butter across a zillion channels they are more likely to at least strike gold on one, hopefully watch the network effects unfold to cash in everywhere else.
Nothing new here mutter the interweb rapscallions, look at Star Wars- toys, novels, video games and TV series, George Lucas got every outlet covered didn’t he, and he’s from the 1970s? Indeed he did, God damn his Jar Jar Binks spawning first-shooter swapping soul, but the crucial issue here is that he did sequentially and opportunistically, milking the midi-chlorian* pumped cow in subsequent phases, as new media became mass, from the West End Games RPG to Knights of the Old Republic to the forthcoming Bioware produced Massive Online Game. The dude improvised.
Here we are talking about cross-platform strategies designed at inception, with interdisciplinary teams slicing and dicing universes, telling bespoke stories in heterogeneous yet complementary media, having characters but glimpsed in the background of a forgettable TV episode of Franchise Z become the stars of a video game with references to a conspiracy that you can chase across a collection of mock websites and even in the streets of some city with your fellow dweebs, to the chagrin of the constabulary, while someone records the whole show on some shoddy handheld camera and edits into an unforgettable TV episode so that the cycle of Franchise Z can be complete.
Notice something missing from the previous rant?
Why don’t crazy bands have a transmedia strategy in place? Look at Lady Gaga, the most supposedly cutting edge of all beat-by-the-pound yet somehow infectious pop divas, shouldn’t their fans be given a chance to impersonate her and battle it out with Bayonetta in their Xbox 360s? Shouldn’t they be given a chance to absorb her mythology in anime format? Play an ARG in the role of a winged psyche ops odalisque hot on the heels of her nemesis, Gogo, as resuscitated post her Kill Bill chain reaction mishap? Nah, fuck that, she’ll have a video. With lesbians. And Beyoncee. Wow, far out.
Now, really, we have enough bands out there crafting bizarro hallucinogenic universes for an army of fucked up media dudes/designers/sci-fi writers/interactive story-telling weirdoes to paw over with their synergistic claws, bring it on. Why the fuck don’t Hawkwind have a Games Workshop tabletop tie-in? It’s a no-brainer!
Anyway, today we leave you with some music that in its spare ambiance, subtle frights and floating instants of dust-speckled beauty would lend itself to adaptation into episodes of an understated survival horror classic, before everything kicks off. We hope you enjoy.
Get in touch if you need a transmedia strategy for your outfit, we are total amateurs and we’ll ruin your lives. But it doesn’t matter, that will give you enough material for a comeback.
Tin Man sounds blue, blue metal reflecting neon lights in an abandoned condominium where you wake up one night, devoid of memories, austere german techno blasting from the speakers of an unspeakably expensive custom-made sound system embedded in the white walls of the bedroom. Every beat provoking a surge of abstract LED icons in the chitinous command console, infinitesimal shifts in the walls, one second claustrophobic, the one after expansive. A cursory investigation reveals but blurry mementoes from someone else’s life, a hieratic beauty smiling from a professional portrait taken in a diminutive Mediterranean island, an unfinished game of mah-jongg, modern composition CDs still shrink wrapped, a napkin smudged with lipstick, drops of blood in the kitchen sink.
It is ridiculously stylish and cold like a Michael Mann totem, yet at the same time it glows with a gradient rainbow of oranges in its intense commitment to sonic craft, block graphs of Basic Channel reverberation, phantasmagoric echoes stolen from a dead TV channel, dream-like whispers surfacing from a black pool of sound which in its subsonic zest merges with silence. It is minimal wave, most literally.
Go back to bed sleepwalker, this is your home.
You should get Tin Man’s Scared from White Denim.
If at the onset of Resident Evil 4 Leon had taken a different path, not the one ending in the house where the first of the Ganados awaits, but the one leading to a solitary pond through equinoctial woods populated by spectres, this is the music that would have made him gasp not in fear but in awe.
In ‘I Need the Sun’, from Readying, her new album, Married in Berdichev sings like the forsaken undine that dwells in that pond, over an etiolated backdrop which is the sound of nature’s serene cycle, drips of water spilling from invisible tributaries, the rustle of life burrowing furtively past dead leaves harbinger of green to come, and the stasis of the bird of prey staring from its vantage point under battalions of thunder standing formation in a watercolour sky.
In its hypnotic accumulation of layers it makes us think of Brian Eno’s ambient oeuvre, if he had been raised by wolves, or the most recent and ominous Scott Walker, caught in zen rapture at the centre of a Shinto Garden designed by chance and time. It is very beautiful stuff which spreads from the speakers to cover everything around you with a misty shroud, edges are blunted and figures burred. Across this parallel world you stumble in ghostly reverie, after the source of a diffuse light that can never be reached.