Perhaps by way of amends for not touring behind the new Collapse Into Now, R.E.M. has announced that it will unveil a different kind of visual accompaniment: 12 short films the band commissioned to go with each of the tracks on the album, all of which will be unveiled through various online outlets in the coming weeks. Nothing so pedestrian as music videos— “I feel like we’re just way beyond that as a viable medium,” Michael Stipe said in an interview with the New York Times—each short is the work of a different director, including regular R.E.M. collaborator James Herbert, Nowhere Boy director Sam Taylor-Wood, documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, and even Stipe himself, who calls his contribution “a very down-and-dirty Tron: Legacy but if Tron: Legacy happened in the year 1971.” You can check out the first video from Tom Gilroy here.
And because no modern multimedia project is complete without some James Franco, Stipe says that their recent collaboration on a River Phoenix-inspired exhibit spurred him to ask Franco to pause briefly from his Twitter feud with a member of the Yale student press and contribute. Disappointingly, Franco was only able to come up with two films, which suggests that he is approaching retirement.