The Sims Are Alive With The Sound of…um…Music!

November 8, 2007 at 6:31 pm (Life, music, Second Life, Sex) (, , , , )


Many of you who enjoy spending time on Second Life (SL) will probably relate to this scenario: One day your close friend calls and asks where the hell you’ve been for the last several weeks. “Did you meet some hot new lover and are acting out the John Mayer song Your Body is a Wonderland word-for-word? Are you deathly ill and cannot venture out for fear of unleashing your contagious disease on an unsuspecting public? Or did you accept some secret mission from Dwight Schrute and are feverishly removing your office supplies from their jello encasings and preparing to embark on said mission?” It is at this moment you wrestle with how honest to be with this friend and admit your addiction to SL. You decide to come clean and confess what you’ve been doing.

As you tentatively describe that you’ve developed a fever for fraternizing online with animated avatars in a virtual cartoon world, you hear yourself talking and realize how crazy you sound to the uninitiated bystander. You realize then that you can’t be totally honest with this friend and begin to frantically grasp at legitimate activities you can describe doing in SL–things that don’t include sex, BDSM, furries, or pose balls. “But what else is there?” you wonder as you scour the recesses of your brain trying to remember what else you like to do in world. “Aha!” you remember at last. “Music!”

I myself have had almost this exact conversation (sans gratuitous reference to my dear Dwight). And as I began to describe the amazing musicians I had seen perform in world in the last week, I was overcome with awe over the quantity and quality of interesting and impressive music that is being made on the grid every day. From folk and funk to classical and country, musicians from all over the world are finding new audiences through this medium. And, as members of the audience, we’re all able to enjoy it from the comfort of our home office chairs (unless you’re the unlucky one relegated to the laptop in the living room that night).

An expanded audience base is only one potential benefit the new social media, including SL, bring to music and musicians. It is the opportunity for greater musical collaboration over a broader spectrum of musicians that galvanizes me. Recently I decided to get into the act myself, so to speak. I met a “friend” online who is a jazz musician and teacher in real life (RL). We collaborated via email on an updated version of a Billie Holiday tune; he sent the tracks and I sang over top and returned the vocal mix. And, although we’ve never met in person, the creativity and connection we’ve shared through just that one recording experience has us both clamouring to continue to collaborate.

My friend and I decided to collaborate once again when famed jazz pianist and funk father Herbie Hancock recently announced a music contest within SL. He asked musicians to create new pieces using remixes from any of his works, whether classic or new. We’re still in the process of making the music, but I can tell you I’m so thrilled and humbled by the opportunity I am practically speechless (kind of a bad thing given I’m responsible for adding vocal color). I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy…

I won’t go into details on the musicians I’ve discovered in SL. That is an experience I suggest you explore on your own. But one thing I will recommend is that you join a group to keep you updated on the various musicians and venues that are active any time of day (on the world clock) all over the grid. I belong to Live Music Enthusiasts and receive daily, sometimes hourly, announcements of live music happenings in world.

Music is truly a universal language, and one that is spoken in spades within Second Life. The importance and potential implications this medium has for musicians cannot be overstated, imho. And if that’s not enough for you, well music in SL remains a great cover for all that virtual sex you might be having!

Ok folks…contest entry is posted. Check here to listen. Feel free to vote for it if you like it.

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