The Web Trends Map Project

The Web Trends Map 4 beta is up and the promotion campaign for the online interactive version has begun. I created the sound and music for the video and the full audio track can be downloaded from the site for free or for a small donation.

Back Story

A year or so ago I found out that one of my all time favorite online essays the-interface-of-a-cheeseburger was in fact written by a good friend of mine Oliver Reichenstein. His cheeseburger=interface=brand article hit the front pages of some the biggest social news sites on the web, Digg and Reddit to name a lofty few, but what really put him and his company, Information Architects, in the spotlight is that they are the crazy guys who set out to map the internet using the Tokyo Metro Map as a template.

I found this all out one day when I serendipitously bumped into Oliver on my way to the studio in Harajuku and asked him what he had been up to since we had last met; quite a bit as you can see. As it turns out the Information Architects office is three minutes around the corner from my studio so I invited him to come over one evening and see what I had been up to music wise and since then we have been keeping touch and often hang out at the supremely funky bar Bonobo after work to unwind and rewind the complexities of the world and its wide Web.

It was here over a few drinks that the topic turned to music and sales and online promotion. I was picking his brain about how he managed such a successful campaign and somewhere in the barrage of information exchanged I mentioned I was very interested in the donation models being experimented with by Radiohead and NIN wherein music lovers can contribute directly to an artists livelyhood by choosing how much to pay for the music they want to download. All fine and well for Radiohead and NIN who have millions of fans around the world but what about independant artists such as myself? How do we rise above the noise? How do we get a donation button under the pointers of more than a few hundred people?

It was then and there that Oliver came up with the idea for me to do a soundtrack for the 4th incarnation of the Web Trends Map, use the publicity to promote my music, and then offer the track on a download for free or pay a donation system. Its a win-win situation. iA gets a kick ass conceptual track and I get, at the very least, a new project to add to my portfolio and, at the ideal end, a donate button under the pointers of more than a few hundred people.

I am thrilled to be involved.

The original map is almost a work of whimsy true to the original Tokyo Metro Map white and colorful, but the latest map is intricate dark and moody – right up my musical alley.

Actually the first draft of the track, tokyo 320 was rejected unanimously. That first track came at the tail end of a process in which I was exploring uplifting melancholy, stoic beauty and reflection. Light melodies contrasted against stark percussion and powerful swelling bass lines all housed in a slick tech house dance floor production.

In plain words the first track was too pretty, too smooth, not dramatic enough.

After a number of listening sessions with iA and myself it was obvious that the first draft of tokyo 320 was not quite right. We determined that the track had to be darker and grittier, messier and more distorted, more twisted.

So I reworked the original piece, rewrote the drum parts but kept the basic tenet of the first arrangement, decided on a tempo switch halfway through the track (120 bpm – 125 bpm) and the rest all fell into place.

For the video I had iA send me a file of the finished video and I scored Tokyo 320 to match the edit. In film work I tend to be didactic, I love it when sounds match events on screen, probably watched way to many cartoons growing up, so I added glitches to the logo and timed some elements to match the appearance and disappearance of elements within the video.

Once again you can see and hear the results here Web Trends Map 4