The needle dropped in the most silent room on Earth. A record played, streaming live in anechoic sound to anyone who logged in, on repeat for a week. Words, colours, and fantastic visions leapt from the grooves, as synced visuals created a 360˚ world of imagery to complement each song in full augmented reality. And every time the record played, the visuals evolved making you feel like the album was coming to life around you.
This is Raw Space, the latest “world’s-first” album experience by British singer-songwriter and digital art-innovator Beatie Wolfe, in collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs and Design I/O. Part-installation, part sonic experience, part technical feat it evokes the spirit of Cage for his explorations of sound and Warhol for his explorations of visual art - both past collaborators of Bell Labs’ for its E.A.T. programme with Wolfe ushering in the new era. But really, at it’s core, Raw Space is an album... and a great one.
“For ‘Raw Space,’ I wanted to create the antithesis of our current streaming experience and really celebrate the world of the album — its artwork, arc, narrative, music — in a fully immersive and multi-sensory way, which has the effect of placing the listener at the centre of this dynamic world,” explains Wolfe. “Launching this out of one of the world’s quietest rooms has the effect of immediately instilling a sense of ceremony into this experience, both quieting the ‘noise’ around and allowing the listener to hear the true sound of sound. In essence, it’s really about using technology to bring back some of music’s old school magic.”