Take a road trip through Kimbra’s song Carolina. View a landscape composed of vocals, guitars, bass, mellotrons, and more using your smartphone! Tap to change the perspective, pinch-to-zoom in and out and take in all the layers of this uplifting song with a colorful and abstract environment. Each item on the trip represents a specific sound in the song. Together they create a road to Carolina.
This is a port of an application made by jonobr1 specifically for Kimbra’s album release, The Golden Echo. For more by Kimbra check out her website: http://kimbramusic.com
Also, check out the project on Android Experiments
Kimbra and I first started talking over email about a year ago. When we met in person at a vegan restaurant on Sunset Boulevard I knew we’d be great collaborators. At the time she was about to drop a new album, The Golden Echo, and was looking for visual artists to work with for the release. I chose to make a piece for Carolina because the track reminded me of road trips I had taken over the course of my life. My idea was to present the listener with a digital road trip for the event.
After the event Kimbra and I talked about ways we could get the project out to the public. We decided on a mobile app because we liked the quality of it being a window into the song. The piece is experimental and unorthodox to the typical app categories that the App Store and Play Store support. Because of this I was concerned about was how people would find it. So, I’m thrilled to learn that Google has a portal for showcasing experimental and artistic Android apps and honored to have Carolina be included. Check it out over on Android Experiments.
While Carolina is a native Android Application, it’s actually a packaged website! The project was developed on Google Chrome and then deployed using the Mobile Chrome Apps Command Line Interface, CCA. This made development smooth because I was able to develop and debug using Chrome Developer Tools, then deploy as an Android Application for final proofing.
The contents of the app itself is divided into two different parts. There is the introduction and the music visualization. The introduction serves two purposes. First, I wanted a way to introduce the interactions and concept. Then as an added benefit I needed a loading screen while all the geometry was created and the song was loaded. Despite all the files being local on the device it takes about 10 seconds to load everything. The perfect amount of time for an introduction! The introduction is made up of a Two.js scene, a two-dimensional drawing api that I author.
The music visualization uses Three.js, a popular three-dimensional drawing api for the web. I place a camera in the world and make it move along a spline. I then create a number of different types of shapes for the various instruments in the track. As the song plays each shape has specific triggers. When one of these triggers occurs the shape is placed in the impending field of view of the camera. As the camera moves the shape flies by as if we were in a car or a train passing through a landscape.
For further information including all the code you can check out the project’s github page: https://github.com/jonobr1/golden-echo