Analysis

Metric team up with Bjork Biophilia co-creator for Metric Synthetica app


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Metric are the latest musicians to find a creative partnership with Snibbe Studio, the US developer that has created innovative apps with Bjork, Passion Pit and Philip Glass in recent years.

Metric Synthetica was released today for iPhone and iPad as “an interactive song experience” for the band’s last album Synthetica that enables fans to “remix, filter and sequence songs, making them their own”.

The free app includes one track, ‘Lost Kitten’, with others available to buy for $0.99 each as in-app purchases, or $7.99 for the whole album. It looks very impressive, with visuals inspired by Italian 1960s architecture collective Superstudio, who apparently also had a big influence on the album itself.

The app involves fiddling with instruments, timbre, tempo and sequence by touching the screen – a remixing tool that doesn’t rely on musical expertise. It’s a logical step on from Biophilia, which took a similarly-interactive approach to experiencing Bjork’s album.

We’re fans of Metric’s music, but we’ve also admired the band’s longstanding willingness to explore new forms of distribution and marketing for that music, with the Metric Synthetica app just the latest example.

Snibbe Studio boss Scott Snibbe has regularly talked about his ambitions for albums as apps, too, comparing their potential impact to the experience of a vinyl album in the past.

“You’d often sit on the carpet and let the whole thing wash over you while looking at the liner notes and artwork: it was a complete, immersive, sensory experience. That was the falling in love stage with the music, but I’m sad to say many of us may not have felt it in a really long time,” he said in a talk at the Amsterdam Dance Event conference in 2011.

“You miss that falling in love period, and go immediately to the ‘brushing your teeth together in the bathroom’ phase. But an app can demand all of your senses and attention at once. That’s something exciting for musicians. A lot of them lament the demise of the album experience due to digital distribution. But one thing about the app-album is it reclaims people’s attention for an entire album.”

Stuart Dredge

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