Four Movements

video game / music 'album'
2017 -

"Four Movements" is an 'album' authored in the video game engine Unreal.

Considering the history of the music album as a medium, the ‘record’ shifted from being a recording of an event to a construction of that performance (ie. “Sgt Pepper”), A huge portion of the ‘recording’ is the presentation of sonic events in a fabricated space (plate reverbs, convolution reverbs, stereo ‘imaging’, etc.). This folding of the real and the media construction upon one another largely define our contemporary condition.

“Four Movements” was initially conceived of as the media distribution form of my previous work “Furniture Music”. If “Furniture Music” was a music performance, “Four Movements” would be the ‘album’. So, if the stereo recording is not the end-all-be-all of music distribution formats, my ‘album’ is simply a continuation of that history.

From this gestation, the project has evolved into something more complex picking up on numerous themes including modern isolation as computer media supplants human interaction.

The work itself features four environments - a modern loft, a dance club, a natural landscape intersected with a white grid (a nod to Italian dystopian architects Superstudio), and a more abstract space. Users navigate these spaces, which in turn makes new ‘mixes’ of my musical content.

The unique format of the video game medium has allowed for explorations and gestures that other work has not offered, particularly with the overlap between game theory and film theory. For instance, in one scene in a loft space, the player can watch Michael Snow's "Wavelength" on a TV in the bedroom (certainly offending the structuralist film purists). In that same scene, the player enters a bathroom, they will see their avatar - a film camera - in the mirror. I wanted a gesture that updates Vertov’s “I am the mechanical eye” into this virtual space.

Other interesting discoveries have included discovering that high quality 3D modeling is not what significantly enhances realism. Adding effects such as chromatic aberration, depth of field, etc. to mimic the film camera does. By replicating the mediated image, we make our ‘reality’ more real!