Last year, before Arcade Fire became the Grammy winners better known as "Who the hell is Arcade Fire?," the band released a groundbreaking interactive music video for "The Wildness Downtown." The video used map technology to take viewers on an emotionally moving aerial view of their own childhood homes. Surely since then, bands, directors, and programmers have been looking into their own possibilities for interactive video technology--and Craig Wedren is the next on deck.
With the Internet being the predominate distributor of music videos, especially after a certain channel removed the "Music" from its name and programming schedule, artists now have a wealth of technologies by which enhance their music videos. Wedren, solo artist and former lead singer of indie rock group Shudder To Think, released his own interactive music video directed by Tim Nackashi this week for the affecting song "Are We," off his upcoming album Wand. The video not only allows interaction, but actually dumps the viewer into the center of the music video using 360-degree panoramic technology. With vertigo-inducing mouse controls, you can "look" throughout the scenes as the music video happens around you. I suggest you keep some Dramamine handy if you're not a first-person shooter pro.
Starring in the video alongside Wedren are his friends and family, who happen to include Thomas Lennon, David Wain, and other alumni from '90s sketch comedy TV show The State. Turns out Wedren is married to Lennon's sister, wrote the theme song to The State, and made regular appearances on the show. But. back to 2011...
The video opens on a craggy beach where Wedren is naked and sprawled on the sand, thankfully face-down for those of you procrastinating at work. The video is real enough that the urge pick up a digital piece of driftwood and poke Wedren's bare butt is palpable. The viewer is taken to the beach, a forest, a house party, and a futuristic TV room, among other places--be sure to keep moving your mouse, as there are lots of things to look at. It all reminds me of those 360-degree tours that apartment listings have sometimes, although you don't have people hanging from trees and attacking you with spears in prospective apartments. Usually.
Like previous cinematic opus albums like Sean Lennon's Friendly Fire, or Beck's The Information, Wedren plans to release Wand as both an album and a series of video chapters to accompany each song. The album is slated to drop this May. Hopefully in future videos we'll be able to interact with Wedren himself, maybe engaging in some kind of fiery hand-to-hand combat with the singer. I have a feeling he would make a pretty sweet medieval fantasy-style opponent.
Immerse yourself in the video at www.craigwedren.com.