Thursday, 28 January 2010

Andrew Bird and Braid

Last night I went to see a concert here in Hong Kong by Andrew Bird. It's not often that indie bands/artists come through here, but that's not what I want to talk about. The economics of bringing an act to Asia must favour a certain leanness, as Andrew Bird turned up with just himself and a sound guy. Turns out that was a good thing. The last time I saw him it was at a festival, it was with a full band and it was awesome. This time it was also awesome, but in a very different way. Using the magic of loops, Bird would record himself playing several different parts for the song, then he would trigger them while he played live, giving the illusion that he was playing with others.

People always talk about how technology is ruining music, setting the barrier to entry too low and other such nonsense. Andrew Bird give the lie to this by using technology in an organic way which adds immeasurable value to his performances. This concert could not have existed at any point prior to about 10 years ago. You really have to see it to appreciate it, so enjoy this video:

It reminded me a lot of an indie game I've been playing a bit recently, Braid. It seems like a typical platformer, save the princess etc. But the game plays with time in very interesting ways. You can reverse it, certain objects cause the time around them to warp, and, best of all, you can create copies of yourself spread through time, and, by interacting with them, solve convoluted puzzles. In many ways it's analogous to what Bird is creating by performing with time-shifted versions of himself. Isn't technology brilliant?

Braid trailer from David Hellman on Vimeo.


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