As far as iconic singer-songwriters go, few can hold the “avant-garde” label than the Icelandic minx, Bjork. She has graced the popular music culture with many a stunning set of trance, pop, and punk, folk and even throw in some genres of her own.
Now, the Oh So Quiet singer has got on board with VR. In fact, her entire album, Vulnicura is coming out on a format of virtual reality. The music format comes in the guise of a headset-driven immersive video. But it has been seen before.
In 2016, at a time when immersive music video in virtual reality seemed like something out of the future, it emerged at the Digital Exhibition of Bjork. It was the only way to see VR in this way at the time. Observers would have had to literally attend the exhibition, only now, headset wearers can enjoy Vulnicura from the comfort of home.
The VR album offers 360 degree immersion into live action as Bjork thrashes out track after track. There are seven of them in total: Quicksand, Black Lake, Not Get, Family, Stone Milker, The Lion Song and Mouth Mantra.
It is available through the Steam format and works on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Valve Index sets. In the US, it should cost users no more than $30 to buy the VR album – said to be the first commercially available of its kind. One can expect more of the same from a number of other artists in the near future.
One thing is for sure: music and technology industry watchdogs will be watching very closely to see if this takes off. The track, “Stonemilker” was shot on the beach and gives those viewers a complete feeling of freedom and spatial awareness.
Bjork has already promoted the idea that most of her music is connected to nature and this sense of earth-like settings in the album amplify that fact. Bjork even had a hand in the visual art direction herself. She worked diligently with technical directors like James Merry to fulfil this dream and it seems to have pulled off really well.
Another band expected to follow hot on the heels of Bjork’s new VR release is Daft Punk. Interstellar 5555 is due for imminent release and there are said to be two other musical collaborations in the pipeline where VR will see a latest release go out in this new format.
The original album of Vulnicura came out in 2015 – too early for the technology of VR – and shortly after that release she worked on a follow up album called Utopia. Whether Utopia will come out on VR album format soon is unknown. But we do know that Bjork remastered the Vulnicura album by dropping the electronica elements of every song.
The album was given a working title of Vulnicura Strings and later editions of the VR format may feature the acoustic set of this outstanding release.