How humans choose to interact with developing technology drives forward creativity and culture: it was frustration with the lack of expressivity of the harpsichord that led to the invention of the piano...this led many other humans to create and play beautiful work; similarly, the need for vinyls to have cardboard sleeve for protection led to the creation of album artwork and inspired a generation of collectors.
It is a deeply human behaviour to create in response to new stimuli and systems.
A recent conversation with composer for film, tech-enthusiast and community builder, Giovanni Rotondo, highlighted the innovative ways that he uses today's technology to experiment, create and augment his workflow. We wanted to take a moment to shine a spotlight on his new work, Legendary Decks, which launches this week.
It is hard not to think about NFTs when collectibles are mentioned. However, Giovanni has decided to go in the opposite direction with a mission to recreate the feeling of “holding music you love in the palm of your hands…” and interacting with it in a physical way, giving music the attention and energy it deserves.
I wanted to create an innovative product that combines the physical experience of listening to music, while still benefiting from the portability and scalability of a digital product.
All of this culminated in The Legendary Decks - collectible smart cards, inspired by nostalgia for 80s and 90s cartoons. The cards’ near field communication chip allows cardholders to trigger playback of new and exclusive music on their phones. Giovanni’s plans for The Legendary Decks spans across AR and the ability to mix and match the music cardholders get access to.
Giovanni composed exclusive music for the project and will collaborate with graphic artists to create images for the physical cards. He used OpenAI’s Dall-E 2 to experiment quickly with graphics and create the first cards. The images output by the model in response to his prompts provide him with a visual way of communicating his brief to graphic artists, without relying on words to describe his vision for the look and feel. Giovanni knows well the challenge of describing visuals and music with words from his work as a composer responding to sync briefs for film and TV.
We’re excited to reveal the designs for one of the first cards, which will be released on Black Friday November 25th.
Bringing back the trust between an artist and their audience
We reminisced over the times we bought albums without knowing the artist but simply loving the cover art; sometimes the music was great and other times underwhelming. To prompt people to take time out and experience the new music, Giovanni has decided to opt-out of having the music on any streaming services at this stage. How will his audience know if they’ll like the music or not?
They’ll just have to trust me as a composer.
It is answers like these that are refreshing and empowering to hear. The exchange of trust; the artist trusting their audience to keep an open mind and allow themselves to be surprised by new material, and the audience taking a leap of faith with music they’ve never heard before. It is exciting to talk to a creative who wants to go back to the basics and reestablish the emotional relationship between an artist and their audience in a modern, tech-driven context. A relationship where the artist is a spiritual guide whose role is to invite the listener into a new experience and, in return, the listener has faith in the process and the artist.
About Giovanni Rotondo
A music composer, tech-enthusiast and community builder whose music has been featured in productions by the likes of Netflix and BBC1. His desire to share knowledge and build strong sense of community led him to found the music industry’s leading blog, Film Scoring Tips, and the film networking platform, Micro Short Films - a community of film professionals, originally part of BAFTA Crew’s cohort 2019-20, who collaborate on shorts as a means to network in a more meaningful way.