Chicago's Califone has always been remarkable at making appearances, in part because of how good they are at reinventing themselves in the spotlight. After 16 years, a handful of acclaimed albums (one released in tandem with a self-produced feature film) and accolades by aught-icons like Modest Mouse, they've solidified themselves as niche soundscapers, with each career movement as hypnotizing and individual as their dynamically quiet approach to songwriting.
Their newest "music video" should've been expected, then, because it isn't actually a music video. At all. A collaboration with filmmaker Braden King and programmer Jeff Garneau on the interactive Tumblr piece for "Stitches," the first single off their upcoming album of the same name, presents a ghost-like photo reel of images and GIFs from more than 20 Tumblr blogs in a truly 2013 way. It's like the piece was made to help you do what you visited Tumblr for in the first place: sift endlessly through eyecandy.
The Stitches Tumblr page
"The video treats each image and animation on the fly in an effort to create a more unified aesthetic," King told the Creators Project over email. "Many of the images will regain their color and opacity if you mouseover them, and all will allow you to flip them over and send a little postcard back to Califone's Tumblr (or reblog one to your own) if you click on them."
While the piece has a designated list of Tumblr blogs it pulls from, it's not exclusive to these choices. The possibilities of selection are inexhaustive, thanks to generative programming.
"It has the ability to pull material from outside the set [of chosen blogs], based on several discreet tags we've allowed it to look for throughout Tumblr as a whole," King continued. "The piece's algorithm uses some additional criteria to make its decisions, but even then no two passes will ever be the same."
Still from the "music video"
Consulting producer Kathleen Forde sees this approach as a gateway for future projects across any number of settings. "Braden and I have been talking about a variety possibilities for modified versions of the engine to exist in different contexts, including installation in a museum, gallery or large scale public art display as a standalone." Doesn't seem like too abstract an idea at all, considering that Tumblr is arguably today's most relevant museum-of-internet.
'Stitches' will be released September 3 on Dead Ocean Records.
This post originally appeared at the Creator's Project.