You’ve heard the lamentations before: album art died with the move from the large canvas of the LP vinyl record to the CD. Well, eat your heart out, LPs: album art is back, it’s interactive, and it’s trippier than ever. Just ask Flying Lotus.
Fieldlines is a free Mac and Windows application that creates an “augmented reality” experience for your computer. Based on the exquisite cover art by Leigh J. McCloskey for Flying Lotus’ upcoming album “Cosmogramma”, the organic visual pattern animates to movement tracked from your computer webcam, accompanied by the sounds of the record. (Harpist Rebekah Raff’s delicate textures dance through the air as it moves.)
Late last year, I was writing a piece of software with Processing that I was using to make images and animation using simulated magnetic forces. The magnetic force algorithm was actually based on some code I discovered in Toxi’s onedotzero identity project. So anyway, I was playing around with that stuff and making stuff like this:
So a little earlier this year, I was talking to the Warp guys about some of the stuff they wanted to do for the Cosmogramma release. They showed me the cover artwork and at the time, I was looking some pictures of solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere (good images at the wikipedia pages for solar wind and magnetosphere) and it kind of clicked for me that the magnetic field line stuff I’d be playing with before related to the cover artwork in what I thought was a really intuitive way. So I hacked together a quick prototype in OpenFrameworks and they were really into it and we just went from there.
More on FlyLo’s record as we get closer to launch. I can’t bear to tease the thing any longer. In the meantime, you can grab Fieldlines and play right now, free:
I have to say, too, for all the hype about tablets and mobile devices (some of which I propagate myself), here’s a gorgeous, free toy that takes advantage of the larger, brighter screen and greater processor muscle on your laptop or desktop. (Now, if there were just easier ways to get these kinds of creations on big-screen HDTVs.)
The album launches Tuesday, with a full-length preview available on NPR’s fantastic All Songs Considered blog Monday.