Any time you see something with a lot of Web buzz, you expect someone to be negative – and perhaps that’s healthy, having someone to play devil’s advocate. But I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed by the rants over on musicradar.com. First, Chris Vinnicombe said watching the video was like “being spoon-fed a large helping of bathos with a boredom chaser.” (Ouch.) I’ve always been intrigued by the range of emotional responses – boredom included – visual can prompt. Like any expressive medium, it’s as easy to elicit hate as love, even with the same work.
But now musicradar.com is calling in the “expert” to complain more, and, oddly, because they just don’t like the aesthetic:
3D World magazine editor says the video’s raw data is “a bit like serving the eggs and flour instead of the actual cake,” and says the work to distort the data further is “not really that groundbreaking,” though he does give it credit for being Radiohead-esque. Now, maybe this is the fault of the ad campaign and Web buzz, but I never really thought the “camera-less” angle or the newness was so important, so much as the increasing aesthetic of digital rawness in visuals and the fact that the code and data are open. Indeed, I think the video will be more of a success if the fan-made videos wind up going beyond the original. We’ll see.
Even as a blogger, I find the obsession with “newness” in general to be blown a bit out of proportion. A technique is a technique; it’s usually not until a technique becomes old that it reaches its full potential. (See: photography.)
If nothing else, the negative reaction demonstrates some of the gulf between the live visualist/generative graphics scene around tools like Processing, and the “serious” / pro 3D scene involved in industrial work. By contrast, different music communities are often more aware of the aesthetic interests of each others’ output (not that music doesn’t have plenty of divisiveness all its own). But perhaps “industrial” and “art” producers can do more to share what they’re doing.