Before launching, it’s important to work out any bugs in a new product. In debuting its latest, however, Sonos decided to do that afterward.
"Bugs" is a multimedia installation demonstrating the functionality of Sonos’s new Playbar sound-bar speaker with a wild band of misfit insects created by star director Tom Kuntz and eclectic mix master Dan Deacon. Opening at Sonos Studio on April 4, the live experience is designed to leave guests awash in a combination of ever-shifting sights and sounds that should echo in the mind for days.
The two principals behind the installation are well suited for working together. Kuntz is a filmmaker who has created recording programs with Vimeo when not making short films or viral Old Spice ads; Deacon has made apps that allowed crowd interactivity and has been known to play shows in the center of a room with everyone gathered around him, going wild.
The Sonos crew approached Kuntz late last year, searching for an idea that connected music and video and that would help launch the new Playbar. Together they arrived at the idea of a band of six insects who play music together that continually changes and evolves. It would be made up of six large monoliths with TV screens inside them, positioned in a circle. All that was missing was someone to provide the music.
"We got introduced to Dan Deacon via Tom," says Ivan Entchevitch, Sonos’s culture marketing manager. "They are mutual fans and both approach their work in their own distinctly original way—especially in their respective approaches to technology."
To add the aural element to this fully sensory experience, Deacon composed several of his signature loops for each member of the bug band. Visual effects house The Mill LA then brought animation into the mix, creating software to generate randomized playback for both the loops and the weird vessels who will be conveying them. The Sonos Playbar ties it all together, merging video and sound so that all the bugs perform at the same time.
"Our main challenge was to ensure that transition between each random selection track remained seamless and that each stayed in sync with the other bugs, regardless of what random track was selected, as they jam together" says Greg Park, lead animator at The Mill LA. "There are over 15 million possible combinations that can be played between the six bugs, meaning they can possibly play for over a month straight without ever repeating the same combination."
At the opening event, Deacon and six friends will play a special performance, stationed between each bug monolith. Just to bring a new dimension to the proceedings, the whole crew will be outfitted in special bug costumes.
Have a look at the bugs of "Bugs" in the slide show above.