Skip links

Black background with colorful streams of light from the center
Polytempo Music

Have you ever wanted to go inside a piece of music and look around? On Friday, June 28, 2024, Other Minds presented a free, live demonstration of composer Brian Baumbusch’s Polytempo Music, a first-of-its-kind interactive and immersive Virtual Reality album.

Featuring a flawless recording by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Polytempo Music allows listeners to go inside a virtual stage where sound moves around in a fluid spatial-audio choreography. The architecture of the music is represented as an entity in 3D space, allowing us to witness the once invisible waves of music as they pulsate through virtual space like a flock of starlings painting patterns in the sky.

Drawing influence from maverick composers such as Conlon Nancarrow and Terry Riley, Polytempo Music represents a nexus for the new generation of American experimental and post-minimalist traditions while embracing the potential of new technology. The project was developed over a 3-year period, and supported by foundations such as the Creative Work Fund, the Heller Foundation, the Wattis foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.

Acclaimed producer Bari Scott interviewed Baumbusch on stage while he took us inside a VR headset, projecting to us what he was seeing and hearing. The interview unveiled the fascinating development milestones of this project, from composing the music and inventing new engraving software to notate it, to programming the spatial audio animation choreography and the interactive 3D application using the Unity game engine.

The event included audience participation and a special give-away of some pre-release copies of the Polytempo Music CD. Audience members also had a chance to try on a VR headset in a post-event reception.

Close Search

Start typing and press Enter to search