As technology further permeates live music, we find that it’s not just electronic musicians and DJs incorporating reactive visuals into their live shows. Of Montreal, an Elephant 6 band known for their folky, funky, psychedelic, and overall eclectic rock sound, is hitting the road this spring for a world tour with a new aspect to their multi-instrument setup.
The stage will feature visualizations projected onto 13 screens around the stage. Based on designs by Of Montreal front man Kevin Barnes, with help from his wife and brother, the coordinated imagery on each will react to the movements of the performers, resulting in an appropriately trippy performance to go along with the band’s music.
Using the Barnes’ concepts, production designer Nick Gould was responsible for the final realization of this project, utilizing the Kinect, which they tested out recently on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Using Google SketchUp, Gould was able to plan out the entire projection within the space down to the smallest detail.
Telling Wired about the project, Gould stressed the simplicity of the equipment and software he used to achieve astonishing results, referring to SketchUp as “3D modeling for dummies” and to the Kinect as a “toy.” Surely Gould’s experience with video gave him a leg up in executing this visualization, but the point remains that technology that was once considered super high tech is now accessible and, perhaps more importantly, usable by the common man.
Of Montreal kicked off their tour this week and will be all over the world in the coming months. Find their tour dates on their website.