Music is a universal language, enjoyed by all. However, when paired with Virtual Reality, it becomes an even greater sensory form of entertainment. It offers the opportunity to enhance the listening experience through immersive visuals, haptics and interactivity. So it’s no surprise that there’s so much interest in this combination of technology and art.
We’ve previously wrote about the ‘10 Best VR Music Experiences’ out there, and thought it was time for an update to see what’s new and exciting in this space. So here’s some of the latest VR experiences that put music at the forefront, including VR music production platforms, VR music installations, and VR music videos.
Vinyl Reality is a fun DJ software developed by EntroPi Games in collaboration with professional DJ’s. Instead of going overboard with crazy effects and diverse settings like many VR games do, this app lets you simply immerse yourself in an environment with a normal vinyl DJ set-up. Load up your personal music collection and mix your favourite tracks using the two-channel mixer and two vinyl turntables in a virtual room. This experience is perfect for the wannabe DJ’s out there who want to learn the skills of DJ’ing but may not have the tools yet.
Feel the punch when using a drum kit, the energy when playing the piano or the emotion when strumming the strings of the harp in Music Room VR. When putting on an HTC Vive, users become a multi-instrumentalist in the most realistic way possible. The Vive also uses the most expressive MIDI Controller, this gives you access to a range of movements such as strumming, sliding and drumming. The room itself can be changed – perform in a bar, practice in a studio or live a musicians dream by playing on a big stage in front of a large audience. It’s the perfect application for anyone who wants to play around with sounds and unleash their creativity.
Beat Saber is one of the most popular VR games out there, and it’s pretty obvious why. The addictive game lets you slash the beats of adrenaline-pumping music with your saber, as they quickly fly towards you in a fun virtual environment. Barriers and bombs sometimes obstruct the beats. It makes the game even more challenging, as you’re forced to duck and move into motions that help avoid the obstacles. Not only is it fun to play, watching a user swing their arms around during this fast paced activity can be super entertaining for the onlooker. It’s just a game that’s born to be viral!
The Wave is a new type of interactive music experience. By putting on a VR headset, users are given the chance to experience the music festivals and concerts they might have missed, whilst also being able to socialise with their friends via the platform. Music creators can customise how their audience are immersed in their music by transporting them from a realistic concert venue, to an amazing light show or to outer space. This application is the perfect tool for empowering artists and transforming the way fans connect with their music.
Through VR, you are welcomed into the heart of the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. This 360° experience lets you understand the inner workings of a symphony orchestra. Move between each instrumental group, go backstage, stand next to the conductor or watch from the theatre seats, as the orchestra plays the last movement of Sibelius “symphony no.5”. Capturing the symphony orchestra in VR creates a more dynamic and unique way for people to engage and appreciate classical music.
Drops: Rhythm Garden takes making music to a whole new level. Instead of giving you instruments to play, you create rhythms and beats by creating objects and structures which drops drip onto. The shapes and materials selected effect the sounds and pitches of the drops, whilst the size and number of drops influence timing and volume. The sounds can become even more experimental as the drops can run down multiple objects at once. It’s an engrossing and captivating way to play around with music.
This mixed reality project, directed by Michael van der Aa and starring singer Kate Miller-Heidke and the Dutch chamber choir brings about a unique piece combining musical theatre, VR and art. It is being showcased at Holland Festival as well as around France and Beijing, to name a few.
‘Eight’ tells the story of a woman reflecting on her life. Through a VR headset and headphones, visitors move through an installation in which they can manipulate physical and virtual objects along the way. These objects trigger past memories of the woman’s existence. Throughout each memory the user listens to music that forms the centrepiece of a new album that will be released later this year. ‘Eight’ is an unique installation that allows viewers to be part of the performance whilst they experience a blend of different art forms at once.
Taryn Southern, singer, songwriter and digital personality produced ‘I am AI’, an album using Amper, an artificial intelligence music composition tool. She additionally created 360° music videos for each piece. With surreal animation from XR artist Danny Bittman, Taryn’s song ‘Life Support’ depicts the powerful message of our addiction to technology and how we are becoming disconnected from ourselves. 360° music videos have been on a steady rise since Youtube started supporting immersive content. It’s transformed the way in which fans listen, see and experience music, and we’re curious to see how artists such as Taryn will embrace it in the future!
There are still so many ways VR can transform how people listen and engage with music and we’re excited to see what the future of music and VR will hold! Interested in knowing more about how this technology is being used by musicians? Read more in our article ‘Ways VR is changing the music industry’.
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