Boundary breaking Bristol-bred Massive Attack have been quiet for the past few years. But don't fret. Not only are they touring you can download their new app which contains 4 new tracks... with a difference.
The app, Fantom, generates haunting, unique remixes of each track based upon your environment. "The remixes reflect your movement and balance, the time of day or night, your location and your surroundings as captured by your device’s camera."
The app even works with Apple Watch by monitoring your heart beat "and varies the harmonic and rhythmic cadences of the songs."
You remixes can be saved and shared via social media. It brings a new side to the idea of collaborative music, in this case one where the audience and environment and state of the listener interacts uniquely with the artist's original music. In fact, Robert Del Naja (aka Massive Attack’s 3D) spoke to Motherboard about the new app and suggested ways this technology could be employed in the future.
"If you aggregated the personal data of everyone at a concert who had the app then you might be able to remix the music we’re playing in real-time. So you could create a sort of group sensory experience. It changes the way you think about performance, because while one might see apps like this as an escapist experience, it might be more pervasive. I think there’s potential for it to affect the way we go out and how we share music with the people around us.”
Fascinating concept... and it certainly brings up many questions about the value of pre-mixed music vs algorithms that mix based upon a variety of criteria. If nothing else, Fantom provides a unique way to experience music and co-create it.
Currently, Fantom requires an iPhone 5S and upwards to work. (iPhone 5c and below are not supported).