Baskervilles - Twilight 14 Website

The New York-based band Baskervilles (no "The", please) asked me to design a site for their Twilight 14 project - a one-year initiative through which they would record and release a new single every month for a year (with two bonus tracks - hence the "14"), each with sleeve art by a different artist. But instead of pressing physical singles, they wanted a site that would be updated monthly with each new (and free) single offered as a downloadable .mp3 file. I admired their ambition, and they were working with producer Mitch Easter (who worked with, amongst others, R.E.M. in their early days), so I had a good sense that this would be an interesting project, and agreed to take it on.

I don't think I'd ever started a project like this, with a guaranteed timeframe of at least one full year (plus an anticipated month or two of maintenance after the last single had been posted), but lead singer Rob Keith seemed like such an agreeable chap, I wasn't worried about the marathon-like pacing of the project.

I designed a static layout for the website, which the band approved, and I got to work making it interactive in Flash. The site was fairly complex to code - every month a single variable was changed, which enabled the next record icon to become visible and clickable, allowing the new song to play.

That little album is pure vector art. After lots of
tweaking of the gradient's and
grooves' size and
position, the element wound up looking
nearly photo-realistic, much to my pleasure.

I also custom-built a simple music player component in Flash, which pulls in MP3 files from the site's server and allows the user to pause and restart each song. Initially we'd added more functionality, but later decided that letting users do too much with the song was overkill, and so those buttons were removed. Other single-specific information is dynamically pulled into the display window once each single is selected, as well as a download capability. Sleeve art and page backgrounds also change with each song. All that, and a nifty little color-coordinated vinyl record animation slide-out effect, too.

The now-complete site has evolved to become the band's primary web presence, with Purchase (for Baskervilles CDs), Upcoming Shows, Mailing List and Share With a Friend functions. In fact, Baskervilles were so happy with the website, they actually wrote a song about me, to be released as a single in 2010. Not really. This did wind up being a very fun, satisfying project in the end, and though I heard some of these songs hundreds of times by the time the site was complete, I still listen to and enjoy the Twilight CD pretty darn frequently. It's infectious (but not in the bad way, like a disease).

Visit the Baskervilles - Twilight 14 website.

No comments:

Post a Comment