Beatie Wolfe’s Album Innovations
Named by WIRED Magazine as one of "22 people changing the world,” Beatie Wolfe is at the forefront of pioneering new formats for music, which reunite tangibility, storytelling and ceremony to the album in this digital age
In this vein, Wolfe has created a series of world’s-first designs that bridge the physical and digital, including: a 3D vinyl for the palm of your hand; an intelligent album deck of cards; a wearable record jacket - cut by the tailor who dressed Bowie and Hendrix out of fabric woven with Wolfe’s music - and most recently the world's first live 360 AR stream from the quietest room on earth and a Space Beam via the Big Bang Horn
Wolfe’s work has been featured in the world’s leading museums (including a major solo exhibition at the V&A Museum), festivals, conferences and received nominations across the music, tech and art fields. Forbes calls Wolfe "an Artist with a capital A" for mixing her music with art, technology and science and taking it to entirely new dimensions. Wolfe is also the co-founder of a “profound” (The Times) research project looking at the power of music for people living with dementia
Raw Space: The “Anti-Stream”
A “FANTASIA” EXPERIENCE FOR THE ALBUM IN THE STREAMING AGE
Raw Space was released as the world’s first live 360° AR experience, produced in collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs and Design I/O. Combining live 360° stereoscopic video of Wolfe’s physical record stream from the quietest room on earth, with real-time AR animations, the effect was a Fantasia-like live streamed album, which ran continuously for a week with artwork that evolved every time the record spun. “With ‘Raw Space’, I wanted to create the anti-stream for our current streaming generation and really celebrate the world of the album – its artwork, arc, narrative, music – in a ceremonial and absorbing way that makes the listener feel like they’ve been transported into the world of the album, like I did opening up a record as a kid.” Wolfe follows in the footsteps of Andy Warhol, John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg as a collaborator of Nokia Bell Labs’ E.A.T. programme
Raw Space Reception
The Raw Space experience has been described as "like walking around in a dream someone had made for me" by The New Scientist, "an extraordinary production: music and visuals" by BBC Radio 4 and "utterly groundbreaking" by Fast Company. Highlight features also include Tech Crunch, Vice, Forbes, Creative Review, BBC Click, Wired, MusicTech Magazine, Highsnobiety.
Beatie Wolfe has shared Raw Space at Remix, SXSW18, LDF18, DLD, Collision, LA Times.
Raw Space: The RAW SPACE Beam
The Rawest Sound enters the Rawest Space
Following its launch from the quietest room in the world, Raw Space was beamed into space via the historic Bell Labs Holmdel Horn Antenna, which was used to prove the validity of the Big Bang theory. Nobel Prize winning scientist Dr Robert Wilson (who discovered Cosmic Background Radiation) made the first update to this Historic National Landmark in 50 years to make sure the music of Raw Space got past the earth's atmosphere and into outer space. The Raw Space Beam was not the studio version of the album, but the raw anechoic version (no reverb, EQ or audio enhancements) recorded in the Nokia Bell Labs Anti-echo Chamber – Wolfe’s idea being that for the first time, raw anechoic sound would enter raw space as a true reflection of our humanity at a time of increased airbrushing, auto-tuning and AI
A short film about Wolfe's "Raw Space Beam" was made by the award-winning production house The Mill. The documentary has its private preview at NASA's JPL with its first public screening at the LA Times NewStory festival, guest-curated by Beatie Wolfe. The film’s first screening in Europe was for Beatie Wolfe’s V&A exhibition, where it was viewed by 100,000 attendees
Special thanks to 'AT&T Archives and History Center' and 'Nokia Bell Labs Archives' for the Project Echo: The Big Bounce footage
Raw Space: The Updated Album Deck of Cards
COLLABORATING with the world’s leading designers
The Raw Space Album Deck is an update of Wolfe’s intelligent album deck of cards format, originally conceived for Montagu Square as a type of digital cassette tape. Produced in collaboration with ArtCenter College of Design and its Acting Chair of Graphic Design Sean Adams, each of the Raw Space song cards have been designed by a leading international artist to reflect their interpretation of Wolfe’s music. Listeners can simply tap the song card to their phone to instantly play the track and access its content—liner notes, lyrics, artwork, music VR videos etc—which is being updated all the time, giving the Album Deck the feeling of a “living” or dynamic vinyl
Beatie Wolfe has been working with Sean Adams (Chair of ArtCenter) and MOO to develop her Raw Space Album Deck (an update of her 'world's first' concept for her album Montagu Square) with some of the world's most influential designers, which include Erik Spiekermann, Marian Bantjes, Astrid Stavro, Lucienne Roberts (more about them below) who have each designed a song card for her Raw Space Deck
One of the key design visions Beatie had was to incorporate the gold mylar theme from her Raw Space Beam and Space Chamber into the deck of cards, which has never been done before so MOO accepted the challenging to invent a way to incorporate gold foil onto its NFC cards
Erik Spiekermann (DEU) the first designer to be elected into the European Design Awards Hall of Fame; Marian Bantjes (CND) an internationally known designer with several works in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York; Astrid Stavro (ESP) a multi award winning designer, then of Atlas now the newest partner at Pentagram; Yuma Naito (JP/US) ArtCenter graduate and now with DesignStudio; Sean Adams (US) Acting Chair of the Graphic Design Program at ArtCenter and multi award-winning designer named one of the forty most important people shaping design internationally; Rafael Savvy (MX) Founder and Creative Director of Savvy Studios, and Lucienne Roberts (UK) graphic designer and co-curator of Design Museum’s 2018 exhibition “Hope to Nope”
Montagu Square: the Album jacket
FASHIONING MUSIC INTO ART: A TRULY TAILORED ALBUM RELEASE
The Montagu Square Musical Jacket is a reimagining of the record jacket and a truly tailored album release for the 21st century. Wolfe recorded her second album Montagu Square in the former home of Hendrix, McCartney, Ringo, Lennon & Yoko Ono, and in the room where Hendrix wrote ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ and McCartney penned ‘Eleanor Rigby’. This live recording was then translated (complete with its ambient sound, resonance of the room and audience applause) into a woven fabric by textiles artist BeatWoven and cut by tailor Mr Fish – who dressed Hendrix, Jagger and Bowie – into the first Musical Jacket of its kind. The Jacket has also been NFC-enabled, allowing people to hear the music of Montagu Square by tapping their phone onto the fabric. Wolfe saw the Montagu Square wearable album jacket as a truly tailored album release for the 21st Century.
Montagu Square Reception
Wolfe's Montagu Square Album Jacket has been exhibited in a 10-day solo exhibition at the V&A Museum for London Design Festival and as part of the exhibition: ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970’. It has also been showcased at SXSW, DLD, Apple HQ, Beats HQ, on Sky News, Fast Company, Tech Crunch and has been exhibited for Her Majesty the Queen. Additional highlight features include The Independent.
Montagu Square: The ALBUM DECK of Cards
In addition to her Musical Jacket, Wolfe released her second album Montagu Square as the world's first NFC Album Deck, which marked a new intersection between technology and music. The album deck comes as a pack of beautifully printed MOO cards, encased in a box reminiscent of a tape cassette, with each card corresponding to a track from the Montagu Square album and featuring the song’s artwork, lyrics and an embedded NFC chip. Listeners can simply tap the song cards to their phone to instantly play the track and access its content – liner notes, lyrics, artwork, music videos etc – which is being updated all the time, giving the album deck the feeling of a “living” or dynamic vinyl.
Album Deck Reaction
The Montagu Square Deck has been described as "a brilliant idea that transcends novelty" by The Next Web and "bleeding edge" by Wired. It received additional features in Recode, Forbes, Sky News, BBC Click, Tech Crunch and was premiered at London's Serpentine Gallery and at Wired's Next Generation conference where Wolfe gave a keynote.
8ight: World's First 3D Interactive VINYL
a vinyl for your phone, a theatre for the palm of your hand
For her debut album Wolfe wanted to put a record (the format she loved) onto a phone (a device now integral to people's listening) and so in collaboration with Design I/O pioneered the 3D Interactive Album App. This app opened up like a record with the liner notes, lyrics, artwork and music. But to give this experience a twist, the Palm Top Theatre was introduced to the release. By slotting your phone into the Palm Top Theatre, it was transformed into a miniature theatre in the palm of your hand and you could watch 8ight's 3D interactive visuals, filmed by Weavers Productions, come to life in a way that recaptured the magic of opening up a record and exploring its artwork
Beatie Wolfe released her debut album 8ight as a 3D interactive album app. GQ Magazine premiered the release across its magazine and iPad edition. Impressed by this 3D innovation, Apple invited Beatie Wolfe to be the first artist to tour all of its global event theatres: New York, London, Berlin & Tokyo. Beatie's interviewers included: Spin's Editor-in-Chief Craig Marks in New York, GQ's Commissioning Editor Charlie Burton in London and De:Bug's Founder & Editor Sascha Kösch in Berlin