I watched Tron on the weekend. Good gravy, that movie still hauls ass. Yeah, the real-world fashion is pretty tragic, but the film is from that strange time between the end of the 70s and before the 80s really turned into the hideous monster that it became by ’85, after all. The art design is still, 30 years on, mindblowing. Lightcycles, vast city-like datascapes, freaky neon costuming and thoroughly imaginative set design (the command centre of a recognizer? ZOMG).
And, of course, Wendy Carlos’ visionary soundtrack. And thus I segue clumsily to today’s actual subject…
Data visualisation is awesome. Data visualisation about musical artists and the labyrinthine interconnections between them is, as it turns out, kind of neat.
Flared Music lets you plug in an artist’s name and then you can sit back and watch the web of collaborations and production tie-ins unravel before your eyes. It pulls data from the BBC’s Musicbrainz database and renders it onscreen. It doesn’t take too much clicking around to end up with a giant, glorious tangle of names.
Wendy Carlos’ web above doesn’t appear that full. Wendy must have been something of a loner; plug in, say, Jean-Jacques Perrey, who’s been recording music for just as long as Carlos and you get a constantly-growing screen full of wow.
In fact, it gets me a lot more than that – I captured that image early on in the generation of the Perrey-web. The guy’s been recording music (and collaborating on music!) for a long time, and if you let it go the sprawling mass of connections gets effing massive.
Anyhow, go have a play. I had thought of something else clever to say, but the older child made me forget when he ran around the house with a box on his head, shouting “Tycho-robot!”