Muse Release Album Trail, World Goes Beserk – including this blog. (Post title AKA hypey hype hype hype hype!)
So. Lunchtime, 6th June UK saw Muse release a video on YouTube called ‘ The 2nd Law’ – a video trail for their sixth studio album. In keeping with the whole sciencey, astronomy-y, physics-is-sexy thing that Muse have going for them, they’ve gone hell for energy crisis and thermodynamics in the title of their sixth album, ‘ The 2nd Law’.
But what is particularly interesting is the way that this trailer has highlighted the storyworld of Muse like never before. For fellow new media geeks – this is very exciting indeed. It’s called transmedia. Rather than simply previewing with an audio trail on Zane Lowe, or partnering with a audio channel for their release, Muse are making transmedia. And that fucking rules.
THE MUSE STORYWORLD
In the heat-death and apocalypse brought about by the death of capitalism and Cydonian martians on horseback; Muses’s storyworld has always revolved around its lyrics and music videos that have progressed over the years from sci-fi goth, Placebo-esque visual texts of destroyed and lost souls; to full-on, sparkling electro-space theatre fantasies.
Muse have always created this world around them, creating a cult-like phenomenon in which it is quite visually and lyrically The World Vs. Muse Fans ( fired by protests and marching; wherein the escape from earth to outer-space is not only desirable but almost hilariously inevitable. The band is partly responsible for the geek-friendly world in which we love now (and that it doesn’t make you a tin-foil hat wearer to think that the earth is not all there is…)
So when you get a trailer that cuts from clips sprinting fugitives to scrolling, almost pointless stock numbers, angry brokers on shitty corded-phones and cross fades of pumping oil refineries, there’s clearly some sort of social message being made about the economy and the environment.
Which leads me nicely on to why decoding the video isn’t too hard. Bellamy even featured the News Anchor narration into tweets (transmedia!) as a cryptic trail to the video’s release. OBSERVETH
“Ok, well you can get a good start by thinking about flipping a coin. Say you flip it 10 times; at each flip, the probability of a heads or a tails coming up is the same, meaning that the sequence HHTTHTTTTH is just as likely as HHHHHHHHHH. If you flip a coin 100 times, you can be pretty sure that around 50 heads will come up, but we’ve just seen that all sequences are equally likely, so that seems to be a bit of a paradox. The crucial point is that, while there’s only 1 sequence that will contain only heads, there are loads that contain 50 heads and 50 tails. At this point, a physicist would say that you’ve coarse-grained the system; there’s some macroscopic variable (number of heads) that you’re interested in, and you’ve grouped all the sequences with the same value for this variable together. In general problems, we talk about microstates (something like the individual sequences) and macrostates (groupings of sequences that have the same number of heads) – the macrostates that have the largest number of corresponding microstates have the highest entropy, and generally these states correspond to something like thermal equilibrium.And entropy (statistically speaking) always increases, which, when you think about it in terms of probability, corresponds to the tautology that things that are more likely to happen are more likely to happen.”
THE HELIUM-3 MYSTERY
Minilink “he-3.mu”, is Muses’s own record label. Some fans went as far to decode it within minutes of the trailer being released as a reference to the ‘cleaner’ nuclear fission energy that’s apparently available to us all (now that’s transmedia! Looking to spaces outside of Muse’s traditional media channels for further media and storyworld clues!). I thought it was just a reference to the label, but then again, maybe Helium-3 has been highlighted as a sneaky reference, given all the cross-faded footage of oil refineries backed by a ghoulish, Wagner-styled cresecendo. More about Helium-3 then:
From io9: “One of the best parts of the proposed Helium-3 reaction is the complete lack of radioactive byproducts. No neutrons are emitted, and no isotopes are left as products that could radioactively decay. The proton is a particularly nice side product, since clean energy can be harnessed from this stray proton by manipulating it in an electrostatic field.”
Apparently we can get tonnes of this shit by mining the moon. Although I’d imagine this to be a little unethical and not in keeping with Muse’s Storyworld…
THE DUBSTEP MYSTERY
All you pussies who fear dubstep: stop, now. First off, it;s not really dubsteppy. It’s more wub-wubby. Saying this, so what if they go ‘dubstep’ in the next album? It is a new direction for the band which, while whoring the musical zeitgiest of the day, is a genre that Muse have been veering towards ever since those riffs between Time Is Running Out and Plug In Baby went VERY DARK way back when. So if you fear, the fans will know: you obviously never went to Muse gig. I don’t think this is so much a mystery as a bandwagon that needed flaming by yours truly.
Robots will always win and offend you, yeah?
It’s a predictably unpredicted transmedia piece of work by Muse. I also just wanted to talk about Muse in blog post which points out all the borrowings from from their narrative influences, including space-navigation, conspiracy theory, protest movements and of course, Queen costumiers. And also to maybe provide a post-modern starting point for an apparently increasing amount of dissertations done on the band’s stuff. Simples. Enjoy!