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Arcade Fire, trailblazers of the interactive video, have released one for “Reflektor.” It’s a virtual projection by Vincent Morisset and to watch, you need Google Chrome and either a mouse or webcam and a smartphone or tablet. Filmed in Jacmel, Haiti, “the story follows a young woman who travels between her world and our own.” Check it out here or watch a screengrab of the action.

To recap, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor is out 10/29 on Merge. It might be a double album and the cover might be this. They’re reportedly playing a Montreal salsa club called Salsathèque tonight and definitely playing the season premiere of SNL 9/28.

Comments (11)
  1. Alternate headline: Arcade Fire dickishly shove the fact that you have an old computer in your face.

    • Well I only made it halfway through the video using my computer, but considering I don’t even own a smartphone and any of the official VEVO shit on YouTube not even to mention streaming TV shows often won’t load on my computer except in terrible quality (this is because I leech off a neighbor’s wifi), I was pretty impressed that the video not only loaded but looked awesome for the half of it I watched. And with your mouse/touchpad you have the same interactivity as with a touchscreen anyway. The ideas they are trying to express are conveyed very naturally in the video- more so than in the always pretentious Corbijn’s work- although Reflektor is a fine enough video and his best video ever, actually.

      So the video is easily accessible (provided your connection is decently fast) on basically any computer.
      Requiring the use of Google Chrome in 2013 is not particularly limiting because most people either have Chrome or made a conscious choice not to use it- in which case don’t complain. Maybe they judge you don’t “need” this video if you don’t have Chrome, because it’s aimed at those who have embraced (or been privileged to use, however unwillingly) the benefits of cutting edge technologies, of which Chrome is now at the very low tech end anyway. In 2010, they required Chrome to use the interactive We Used to Wait video at a time many people had not even heard of Chrome yet. I didn’t have Chrome at the time but even beyond that, the video wouldn’t work for me (and still doesn’t) cause the place I grew up was not even in Google Maps, so I appreciated that the new one is actually less exclusive. Plus, instead of using Google in a way that seemed to say “hooray for Google, let’s look at our childhoods nostalgically through their eyes, they have all our personal data!” this one is calling it into question a little more due to the content of the video and the song.

      So this is going to be their Kid A or Achtung Baby right? And possibly better than either of those two. Amnesiac and Zooropa were better anyway- actually I don’t even think Achtung Baby is a particularly good album, whereas Zooropa is mostly brilliant- so anyway I do hope this is a double album, meaning it will include all the best material from the band’s “experimental” period rather than just cherry picked tunes to make the grandest possible statement, necessitating a second- probably better- release later. I dunno. A double album would also be good because Arcade Fire have existed in a time when big bands made albums more slowly than in the past, which means in the amount of time Radiohead made their first five or six albums they will only make four- so if one of them is a double it goes some way to making up for that.

      I wonder if this release may turn out to put to shame all the claims about Radiohead being the last “band” that mattered beyond a specific demographic. Who knows what kind of audience they will have now after the Grammy win, and with a more upbeat production, and with the huge themes of the record which no other band at their level (including Radiohead) is even trying to address these days. Everyone has been waiting for a grand statement about all this shit that scares us, the shit that OK Computer seems to have now been overly optimistic about prophesying, and even those of us who aren’t sure it’s even possible or a good idea to attempt a grand statement about this stuff (what difference can it make anyway?) should be curious about the attempt of this particular now-arena rock band to do so. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising Arcade Fire are the ones to try. The Suburbs was oversold as Arcade Fire’s OK Computer. Then again, Neon Bible was more ambitious than The Bends and likewise Funeral and Pablo so it evens out. And now they’re making a stab at something that may be equally or possibly even more ambitious (thematically, at least) than Kid A.

      The ultimate question is what Pitchfork will think, I suppose. It’s not encouraging that Pitchfork’s new standard of what makes great R&B is what songs middle aged white people want at a wedding or bar mitzvah (see Ian Cohen’s embarassing review yesterday of a Weeknd record that could never be as embarassing as his review), or their new standard of rock n roll is anything by Bon Iver.

  2. Arcade Soundsystem

  3. When the Fire starts to burn…right?

  4. I wonder how many people in Haiti have Google Chrome…

  5. “Sorry, the graphics card you are currently using is not supported by this experience. Please, try again on a different computer.”


  6. The interactivity is neat, but I think as a video the regular one is superior. I didn’t mind listening to the song twice in a row though, because it’s great!

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