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      Visualising Rave Music in Virtual Reality: Symbolic and interactive approaches


      Proceedings of EVA London 2020 (EVA 2020)

      AI and the Arts: Artificial Imagination

      6th July – 9th July 2020

      Music visualisation, Virtual reality, Rave music, Sound design, VJing, Visual music



            The virtual reality (VR) experience Cyberdream VR was presented at various events in 2019, including the Event Two exhibition of computer art held at the Royal College of Art. This short demo for Oculus Gear VR provided a c.5 minute sonic journey, in which the user moves through a series of symbolic environments based on the futuristic techno-utopian or dystopian imagery of 1990s rave flyers. These environments accompanied an original soundtrack of rave music and vaporwave, allowing users to enjoy the music whilst feeling as though they are inside synaesthetic virtual spaces related to the symbolic imagery of rave culture. This paper will discuss the subsequent development of this project, which is now being adapted for the Oculus Quest VR headset. Rajmil Fischman’s concept of ‘music in the holodeck’, suggests a possible new paradigm for performing with sound in VR, which is informative for the latest phase of Cyberdream 's development. Drawing on ideas such as this, at a macro level of compositional structure, Cyberdream seeks ways to provide a continuous experience analogous to a DJ or VJ set, through blending of music tracks between scenes. Meanwhile, at a micro level of compositional structure, the user can trigger audio-visual ‘sound toys’ with the Oculus Quest Touch controllers. These are conceived as a means through which the user can intuitively ‘paint with sound’ in 3D space, improvising with the music, whilst also generating synaesthetic imagery. The design of the audio-visual 'sound toys' allows both the macro and micro elements to rhythmically interlock, so that sound can be generated in synchronisation with the music, while the corresponding visual imagery merges with the spatial environments. This paper will discuss on-going work on this project, advancing the discourse regarding the visualisation of hardcore rave music in virtual reality.


            Author and article information

            July 2020
            July 2020
            : 78-84
            [0001]London South Bank University

            London, UK
            © Weinel. Published by BCS Learning & Development Ltd. Proceedings of EVA London 2020

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            Proceedings of EVA London 2020
            EVA 2020
            6th July – 9th July 2020
            Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
            AI and the Arts: Artificial Imagination
            Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
            Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
            Electronic Workshops in Computing


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