‘Augmented Reality‘ is the latest buzz in the world of information, and Roy’s Iron DNA is making creative use of technology. This band, based just outside Berwick-on-Tweed in Northumberland, evolved from Ordinaryson, a band still current, with the bands having overlapping members. Founder and songwriter, Ian Thompson wanted another platform to explore the more electronic side of his musical creativity.
Described as the world’s first augmented reality album, “Exposure” is released on 1st June, 2015. Here’s the science bit: Using tabloid-style newspapers, the idea is to scan each page with a tablet or smart phone and view a video for a specific album track.
With funding from the arts and culture organisation, Creative Scotland, Roy’s Iron DNA has asked professionals and students alike to make videos based on their interpretations of the songs from the album. You can view these videos on the band’s Vimeo channel as they are released each day from 23rd May – 1st June. The album’s digital download and newspaper release takes place on 1st June, and 10,000 copies of the newspaper will be made available, free of charge, across Scotland at places like pubs, cafes, shops and colleges.
This particular approach to augmented reality is unique in the way it brings visuals and music together. But they don’t just operate in the virtual world; the band also has dates booked to perform the new album live.
Title track, “Exposure” builds layers of pleasing rhythms, with the hypnotic vocal part of the softly funky soundscape. Keyboards, guitar, percussion and effects are subtle but precise. This track seems ideal, in terms of its tempo and beats, for inclusion on a jogging playlist – not because it’s background music – far from it – but it makes you want forward thrust.
Roy’s Iron DNA has made another track available, with an accompanying video. “Question Marks” is more indie, with catchy hooks. Both song and video become more frantic, with the video showing Tokyo street scenes followed by a creepy stalker hunting his prey, a hapless young woman, on the Tokyo underground. Having spent a fair bit of time in Tokyo, including riding around on the underground system (minus scary stalker), the video is a nice nostalgia-fest for me. And techies will love this: this video was filmed and edited on an iPhone 5.
Ways of delivering music are many and varied these days. A marriage of imagination and technology adds another level of interest to a release, but the music must still be its master and stand on its own merit. On the strength of these two tracks thus far, Roy’s Iron DNA has further enhanced its reputation as an intriguing, exciting band.
Audio Soup Festival (Scottish Borders) – July 17-19
Lindisfarne Festival (Northumberland) – September 4-5
Listen to the title track from the album here:
View augmented reality in action here
Album available to pre-order at https://roysirondna.bandcamp.com/album/exposure