Childish Gambino’s latest album, “Awaken, My Love”, has been released with a special limited edition Virtual Reality vinyl. Childish Gambino teamed up with Microsoft to bring the new album into new artistic and tech territory. This special edition includes a VR headset inside the packaging, and provides an access code for using the VR app with your phone placed in the headset.
The VR experience gives fans a new spin on the album. It’s more than a 360 recording of the live Pharos event where Awaken, My Love was debuted. It starts in a video of the concert, but then takes the viewer into the projected worlds created for the live show. You aren’t just seeing the trippy dreamscape jungle projected on the walls, but now you are traveling through it.
For the original concert experience, I created the varied soundscapes that accompanied the band, and triggered specific character-oriented sounds that match specific animations. You can get a sense of some of this world from this video of the opening song at Pharos:
For the move to VR, we wanted to keep a sonic lineage to the live experience, so the same library I created for the live show was used in these new imaginings. The sounds were excellently mixed for VR by Daniel Jaramillo of UK-based SoundNode. A custom quad-binaural system was created to handle the fixed positioning of sound objects in the virtual world.
To see the experience, you will need to snag up one of the rare vinyl albums that includes access to the Pharos VR app. For more details on the process and overall project, check out this story from an event showcasing the release:
And here’s a great behind-the-scenes video, focusing on the technology side and featuring Microsoft: