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Producer Michael Hazani has a new and novel project, released in September, called QVALIA. With fellow band mates Pierluigi Salami and Shawn Crowder, Hazani has created an electronic alt-pop album which is among the more unique and interesting endeavors of the last fifteen years.
Hazani and his band call the singles from their debut album, This Is the Color of My Dreams, “songscapes.” This is because each single will be accompanied by an interactive visual experience as it’s released on the band’s website, QVALIA.co. The visual side of this unique project was inspired by the first high resolution video games in the 90s. Hazani is quick to point out that the visual experiences are not games, however. “Some of them have goals, but they are not games.” As users learn to navigate the virtual worlds, they can move around and change perspectives to fit the movement of the songs. The first “chapter, ” the soungscape for the single “Sound the Alarm” is already posted on the band’s website.
The unique nature of the visual experience of QVALIA should in no way detract from the musical artistry of the album, however. This Is the Color of My Dreams is a beautiful epic electronic musical journey on par with M83’s Saturdays=Youth or Washed Out’s latest album. Each song is a beautifully composed and lyrically intricate, with obvious influences from T.S. Eliot and Psalms.
Lyrics, music, and visuals are all meant to explore the subjectivity of perception that is the definition of the term “qualia.” Hazani stays true to his theme while using multiple media to express it. The interactive visuals allow the listener to choose what he or she sees while listening to the music, and thus the perception of the music may change with each playing of it as well. Each person who visits the QVALIA site will perceive the experience differently, and will be able to change their perception each time they visit. It seems Hazani’s point with this project is to mirror the subjectivity found in the microcosm of the minutiae of details in everyday life, as well as the macrocosm of the shared reality of human existence. If the listener doesn’t feel like thinking about all of that, however, it’s still a beautiful, fun, and interesting piece of work that he or she can just sit down and enjoy. That’s kind of the point, as well.
QVALIA will be taking their songscapes on the road where fans can experience them all at once on a large screen, or they can go to QVALIA.co in order to try out the songscape experience of each single as it’s made available. The album is also available for download on the band’s Bandcamp page for $7, and the download there includes stills from some of the songscapes. However fans want to experience, QVALIA, there’s a way to do it.
Written by Layla Marino
Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science