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Arcade Fire and Google Team Up for HTML5-Powered 'The Wilderness Downtown'

Arcade Fire and HTML5
For a band whose lyrics pine so heavily for a technologically simple past, Arcade Fire has really pushed themselves into the forefront of Internet marketing with the announcement of their third feature length album, 'The Suburbs.' First, the Canadian septet drafted a handwritten postcard to their fans announcing their upcoming single, scanned it and uploaded the missive for the blogosphere to devour. Then, the group offered their album over at Amazon for the absurdly low cost of $3.99, and quickly thereafter partnered with YouTube and American Express to broadcast an entire concert at Madison Square Garden for all of the Internet to see for free. Now, in what is likely their coolest project, they have teamed up with Google to create 'The Wilderness Downtown,' an interactive HTML5 "Web video," that promotes their newest single, "We Used to Wait."

The endeavor, part of Google's 'The Chrome Experiment,' turns your Web browser into a multi-windowed canvas, in whose moving panes the user witnesses the interactive features of HTML5. The project is keeping with the song's theme of nostalgia for the past -- when "we" had to wait for communication from our distant confidants (recall the above postcard) to stay connected. The user inputs his or her childhood address, then watches and listens as multiple windows open up in sync with the song, creating a unique video of overlapping frames and windows. The user is later asked to write a letter to his or her childhood self, and then, whatever is written (or drawn), is incorporated into the adaptive onscreen video. Arcade Fire may preach about the dangers of technological evolution, but they're certainly not ignoring the creative benefits offered by new technologies.

Tags: arcade fire, ArcadeFire, chrome, google, html5, music, music video, MusicVideo, the chrome experiment, the suburbs, TheChromeExperiment, TheSuburbs, top