An eclectic visual and conceptual flair animates DJ and electronic musician Daedelus’ many solo and collaborative projects. The Los-Angeles based artist developed a robotic mirror sculpture called Archimedes, and explored trippy 3D animations with David Wexler for his collaborative Kneedelus album, amongst other projects. Now, for his latest solo album, Labyrinths, Daedelus (a.k.a., Alfred Darlington), along with the interactive group Whitestone, takes on evolving digital album art. Whitestone, which works with artists to create and publish special editions of their albums online, has a media player that acts as “a container for interactive albums.” For Labyrinths, Whitestone took the original, static album cover and expanded it into a “multitude of extra dimensions.”
“Fans can interact with a 3D generated version of the artwork—deforming, expanding, then creating their own animated versions, all in the context of listening to the album,” Whitestone explains. “Moving, clicking, and dragging the cursor around the browser window will transform the artwork.”
Whitestone note that peaks in the music from the player generate pulses and object outcomes. Skinning the 3D objects with additional imagery is possible by dragging a jpeg or similar image file into the window.
“Because it’s browser based you can enjoy it on a 50-inch screen in your living room, or on your phone while waiting for the train,” Whitestone notes. “You can also embed it just like a YouTube video on any site.”
The app for Labyrinths uses a threeJS library to generate the 3D visuals in real-time. The player analyzes sound in the background, then animates the visuals. Whitestone modified CCaptureJS to record the animation in the browser window and Giphy to upload and share the animations online.
“Interactivity is the next inevitable step from audiovisual,” says Whitestone’s Roey Tsemah. “Televisions made video-clips possible and computers offer yet another format we should all explore. The future of album artwork is gamified and we hope to see more artists experimenting in this realm.”
As experimental as he is with technology, Daedelus is still very nostalgic about crate digging for “dusty vinyl treasure,” as he calls it. For him, there is no pleasure like unearthing an album, gazing at its cover, and getting the thrill out of what might lie on its grooves.
“This is an anachronism,” Daedelus tells The Creators Project. “Now you rarely encounter sounds with more than a tiny thumbnail of art. Or the enormity of recent visual albums, each ‘track’ a mini-movie making for manicured music videos amok.”
“I've been thinking much about what we've gained and lost in our current state of music industry, and as it so happens that during this year's North Sea Jazz Festival I found a kindred spirit in Roey from Whitestone,” he adds. “We started dreaming up how cover art functions as to an audience rarely witnessing, and what may become post-flat-media era? Our result attempts to empowering the audience to once again touch and wonder.”
Daedelus' Labyrinths is out on October 28th as a digital download and a limited edition High-Bias cassette tape, and also on Whitestone Player as an interactive album. Click here to check out more of Daedelus' music.