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Icky Blossoms offer a full virtual reality experience in the video for “Phantasmagoria”

Icky Blossoms (Photo: Aaron Gum)
Icky Blossoms (Photo: Aaron Gum)

On last year’s Mask, Icky Blossoms took another step in its electro-pop evolution. The Omaha-based band has found a fitting home with Saddle Creek Records, and though it’s odd for a label to release a video from an album track a full year after its release, “Phantasmagoria” warrants it. The video for “Phantasmagoria” is a full virtual reality experience, allowing people to explore every corner of the animation on YouTube. (It’s also available for download on the Oculus Rift.) Of the video’s genesis, Icky Blossoms guitarist Nik Fackler says:

We had been interested in VR since it started re-emerging as a thing and purchased an oculus rift specifically to start exploring what a new music video experience could be like. We really wanted to experiment and began looking for developers, when we randomly ran into this young guy, Eli, working on a 360 game at a coffee shop. It was one of those stars align moments and we immediately introduced ourselves and told him about our ideas. We had already been thinking of music video concepts for Phantasmagoria and thought a VR collaboration would be the perfect way to create a new music video as well as explore the new medium. We wrote out an outline and concept and pitched it to Eli who seemed willing to take on the challenge of bringing the idea of “a kid having an out of body experience in his bedroom” to life. We learned a lot with this video/experience and are now even more excited to see what the next steps in this technology will bring. For now, the best way to view the video is with a VR headset through steam, but you can also watch the 360 youtube stream and use a google cardboard if you have one.

Similarly, the video’s creators also weighed in. Says David Carney of 2DArray says :

“Normally, Eli and I work exclusively on games. We started out making free experimental flash games that people seemed to enjoy, (The A.V. Club picked our game This is a Work of Fiction as one of the best of 2011) and now we’re delving into virtual reality with Observatory: A VR Variety Pack. When we met Icky Blossoms and heard their plans for a hallucinogenic VR music video, we knew we’d found the missing piece for the pack. There aren’t a lot of VR music videos (or VR anything) out there right now because it takes too much time and money to produce content for it, so we saw this as a unique opportunity to be among the first exploring this new space. It turns out making games and making VR stereoscopic videos share a lot of the same qualities and challenges. To really kick it into high gear, we got the help of surrealist glitch artist Alex Myers to establish our trippy art direction.”

Watch the video below, and buy 2DArray’s Observatory: A VR Variety Pack, which features the video, right here.

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