Two years ago, Animal Collective and longtime visual collaborator Danny Perez took over the Guggenheim Museum in New York City for a psychedelic multimedia happening called “Transverse Temporal Gyrus.” If you missed out on that event (it sold out within a couple hours), you can now experience it at home via your computer! Kind of.
The original project took songs and sounds made by Animal Collective and ran them through a computer program that, based on complex rules, randomized and recombined the sounds, sending them through a 36-channel surround sound system in the museum. Yesterday, Animal Collective launched a website version of the exhibition. Once you torrent a rather hefty (224 MB for Mac, 900 MB for Windows) zip file, you will be able to generate your own unique version of the soundscape, all with the press of a button. The generated audio runs for about three hours and is a bizarre collage of spaced-out textures with the occasional appearance of something resembling an Animal Collective song interspersed here and there. A good deal of it is sort of boring, but the way it’s randomized across the stereo channel makes listening to it on headphones strange and immersive. It’s a spatial experience as much as it is a sonic one.
While listening to the audio, you’re supposed to travel around the Danny Perez-curated website, which is basically a bunch of glitched-out images you can “fly through” via scrolling. Occasionally there will be a pulsing blue orb you can click, which just launches a Vimeo video: not all that transportive. There’s also definitely not enough content on there to last the three-hour duration. Still, the audio is pretty neat, especially in the way it seamlessly morphs into a new version if you choose to restart the generation at any point during its runtime. When all’s said and done, it’s probably trippier than the classic Dark Side Of The Moon/Wizard Of Oz mashup, which is saying something. Check it out here.