by Anthony Cogliano
left to right: Cosby, Mike, Brett
Shrink-wrap is always too difficult to remove...
I hold in my hot little hands a little something called The Electronic Edge Adventure: A Virtual Tour Of Toronto's Music-Scape, an interactive multimedia CD-ROM which promotes various popular and indy bands local to the Toronto scene. Marketing being what it is today, how could I in good conscience possibly shun the advances of a virtual tour?
Perhaps I should know better. Since the purchase of my first CD-ROM drive back in 1993, I have, for the most part, been largely disappointed with all things virtual. The deluge of so-called multimedia titles in recent years has left much to be desired. Multimedia -- in its possibilities, slick computer graphics, and innovative interfaces -- creates a near-perfect illusion of containing unbridled power and a wealth of information. In practice, it appears to be much, but delivers little. Of late, it has taken numerous forms: Shockwave-enabled web pages, CD-based video games, Web and CD-based reference material, and this shiny little ditty in my hand, the interactive multimedia music disc.
Now that's a concept: modern music gone virtual. The very thought of multimedia Slim Whitman makes my mouth water. Think of what you can do when combining music with multimedia: the videos, the interviews, just about anything you might want to see and hear -- then put it on your wish list, and store it away for safe-keeping.
But how do the bands themselves feel about the fusion of multimedia and modern rock?
On the eve of a gig at the University of Toronto's Hangar nightspot, I chatted with Joe English, President of Noise Factory Records, and Mike Matheson, frontman of the Toronto-based band Kennel District. We spoke about this emerging form and its impact both artistically and commercially in the music world.