So Wired magazine details in this article a plan to highlight in the CES Intel keynote a virtual jam (with some members onstage and some at a safer location, one would imagine) with the good folks of Smash Mouth. The idea is to highlight the ability to collaborate over a network and involve the use of avatars and virtual spaces.
Which is cool, in theory. Bands with massive creative aspirations should be thrilled at the potential to make new and fantastic performance pieces, tying in their brilliant music with virtual worlds where everything from costumes to physics itself can be modified to fit their visions.
The problem is that the demo we’re getting for this strange new world is a recreation of the garage where Smash Mouth got together, and these boys are gonna jam on “Walkin’ On The Sun.”
Are you as thrilled as I am to relive this moment in musical history?
I wanna see massive stages falling out of the sky as the musicians thrash about on their instruments. I want to see crowds cheer in wonder and terror as they balance their need to hear the genius pouring forth from the stage with their intense desire to outrun the lava quickly approaching their positions. I want to thrill to new heights of performance while trying to keep my mind from going insane at the sheer lunacy before me, echoing with dark messages from another time and place.
Ooops, that’s a Metalocalypse episode.
The point is that there is so much to be done here and so much potential that this might not be the best way to demonstrate it. Musicians have been collaborating from great distances either in near-real time via ethernet networks (given, there is a little latency involved there) or by posting files on FTP sites (not real-time, but it does conquer the distance issue). It’s the virtual avatars and enviroments that make this interesting, but a variant on this has existed in Second Life for quite a few months now. And the last time I dropped by the Hummingbird Cafe, this marvel of technology presented me with . . . a solo acoustic player slogging his way through “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”
One of the first things I was taught about computers (after “10 PRINT ‘BUTT!!!’ > 20 GOTO > RUN”) was GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out. No matter how cool it is, it’s still going to be that song. I’m sure there are going to be other, much more impressive demonstrations, but seriously . . . Intel can’t pull better than Smash Mouth? Second Life is still giving me “Cheeseburger In Paradise?”