So Arcade Fire are back and as with the release of their previous album Suburbs, they've attempted to create intrigue and excitement around their new album through the use of technology. The first single Reflektor from the album of the same name is due for release at the end of October and is a true Arcade Fire goodie. It's a song that has all the familiarity of their previous tracks but without sounding too tired or boring. It's long and slightly epic, it's contagious and it's got a really great video.
As well as the great video (above), Arcade Fire have once again teamed up with the guys at Google Labs to create a separate clip and an interactive experience that allows you to play with the the video you are watching. The experience takes the shape of a website that allows you to add special effects to various scenes of this 'other' Reflektor clip. As we follow the protagonist dancing through the streets of Haiti you can wave your smartphone at the screen to interact with the imagery and morph certain moments. Aesthetically, I'm completely on board, however from a user experience point of view I'm not as convinced. When I first attempted to play my crappy laptop couldn't handle it. Strike one. The second time the smartphone app wasn't working. Strike two. This meant that I had to use my mouse, which to be honest, made me feel like a complete idiot. Although I am really into the idea of this interaction, in reality, I ended up just waving my mouse back and forth, back and forth, back and forth with no real intelligent interaction occurring at all. I imagine if the smarphone app/ site had been working it would be much the same. Yes, the blurring and the reflecting were beautiful, but because of the lack of purpose you just feel a bit odd while playing. And then the mirror moment that occurs mid way through? Well, it was just a bit weird.
10 points for creating this because I am absolutely sure it's a true technological feat, but I guess I just couldn't help compare it to their previous foray into this zone with their wonderful The Wilderness Downtown experience. That one is just so emotive, so experiential and so perfectly linked to the song. I highly recommend a play if you don't know it.
Anyway, have a go of Reflektor too by clicking here it is worth a look. And lets all get excited about the soon to be released album, it's bound to be good. These guys are total legends.
Oh, and was that Bowie you heard at the end of the track? Yes, yes it was he's a fan too.