Well, that was… interesting. I just played through EXO, which is technically a music video? I think? Question mark? I mean, I could move around and look at things, but overall, interactivity ranged from limited to non-existent. Minimal electronic music dictated the pace and flow, and I was just along for the ride. Between constant cuts to new locations and some earthy yet wildly psychedelic visuals, it came together to form this bizarre cross section between Thirty Flights Of Loving, Dear Esther, and console “oooo, look at all the pretty lights” simulator Rez. Also, let’s throw in a dance club for good measure.
EXO’s the product of New-York-based band Gatekeeper, and there are some pretty sumptuous sights to be munched on within its colorful, eye-candy-rich bowl. I enjoyed, for instance, the way lights frequently pulsated to the music (thus the dance club part) and, at one point, my footsteps briefly created a song’s percussion.
I wish, however, that there were more moments like that. By and large, I simply looked at around while stumbling into far too many invisible walls and waiting for the next cut to a new area. Don’t get me wrong: this is still worth checking out. You’ll see some positively wild things, and the whole experience takes on this impressively dream-like feeling – what with movement speeds changing and goals always feeling just outside your reach. But it also drags a lot, and I felt like it’d fully exhausted its bag of tricks before the end of its 30-or-so-minute runtime. “Yep,” I thought to myself. “The sun’s exploding again. Wooooo.”
I do like this idea a lot, though, and I’d love to see other artists embrace it. Focusing on tying the music more directly to the visuals could also, I think, create a positively amazing experience. EXO, however, doesn’t quite pull it off. So, every other musician in the world, do this – but better!