Monday, October 20, 2014

Fantasia Redux?

From today's NYTimes, the "paper of record":
“It’s a continuation of the spirit of ‘Fantasia’ in a different medium,” Mr. Battilana said.

The original “Fantasia” is a feature-length animated film intended to popularize classical music. It features eight shorts, each pairing compositions by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Beethoven and others with mind-bending visual representations.

While there is no central story in the new game, it includes 10 realms with original art and musical personalities. The soundtrack features 32 songs in a range of styles, from works in the film (“Night on Bald Mountain,” “The Nutcracker Suite”) to classic rock and pop (David Bowie, Queen, Elton John) to songs by current stars (Bruno Mars, Lorde, the White Stripes). The original versions are accompanied by remixes, like a ska version of Bruno Mars’s “Locked Out of Heaven” or a Caribbean vibe for Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass.”

There is a sense of progression from realm to realm. 
Good, I think. I've argued that Disney's original Fantasia had progressive order.

Under the hood:
In creating Fantasia, the company tapped the musical expertise of its own employees, some of whom moonlight as musicians in local bands. The studio also hired the London Symphony Orchestra to rerecord the classical tracks, section by section, to allow players to swap out separate “stems” — woodwind, percussion, violins — and replace them with instruments from the remixes. One remix features Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite” with honky-tonk piano and harmonizing vocals; another mashes up Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” with The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.”

The game’s lead music developer, Eric Brosius, who plays guitar in two bands, said having musicians working at the studio brings “an air of authenticity.”

“Our games aim to give normal listeners a look under the hood,” Mr. Brosius said.
Oh, crap! Not "authenticity," the most hyped aesthetic virtue in the book. And so easily faked. But who knows. Still, why not just make your own music?

The game is for the Kinect platform, which I've never seen. Here's a Lorde preview on YouTube and if you look to the side you'll see lots of videos related to the game.

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