[caption id="attachment_24530" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Image courtesy of Facebook, Victoria Smith"][/caption]Let's face it: A lot of social media/music tie-ins can be a little random -- an afterthought thrown in to pay penance to the gods of technology. Like, "Uh, we should probably add some kind of social element, huh? A QR code, perhaps?" That's not the case with a little treat San Francisco synth pop band Geographer threw fans today to herald the release of their single, "Kaleidoscope."
Geographer's sophomore album (the first on their label Modern Art Records), Myth, drops on February 28, but today they're gifting listeners with a free download of a live recording of one of the disc's many spacey-dreamy tracks.
The song -- along with much of the record -- is currently streaming on the band's site, where fans can also check out an application built to highlight the free "Kaleidoscope" download: a photoframe that pulls in pictures from Instagram and Flickr tagged with the word "Geographer."
Users can mouse over the pictures to transform them into the single's namesake (IE, a kaleidoscope) as well as upload their own images with the aforementioned hashtag. They can then search for their images in-app by username and interact with those as well. The band plans to choose their 16 favorite snaps, which will be used to create a poster that fans can buy when the album comes out.
According to lead singer Mike Deni, it was very important to the band that the app make sense when it came to their music. "One of the central themes of that song is that it often feels as though humans were not given the proper tools to interpret or cope with the world around them, so that sometimes it feels as though we're using a kaleidoscope when we really want to be using a telescope," he says. "So we're using the wrong tools for the job, but the byproduct can also be beautiful."
The app is meant to mirror that sentiment: Users upload their own interpretation of something, and then other users look at that same image through a different lens. "No two images are going to be the same," Deni asserts.
Still, after spending what he calls an "embarrassing amount of time" looking at their own website, Deni and drummer Brian Ostreicher sent each other the same image -- rendered almost the same via the kaleidoscope -- at nearly the same time: a face stretched out and repeated several times. Their kaleidoscopes must be cut from the same... whatever kaleidoscopes are made of.
Despite the fact that the band is using Instagram (and Flickr for the Android users, since Instagram is currently iPhone-only) in the app, @geographermusic, the band's own account, is barren when it comes to snaps. And despite the fact that it has 111 followers, the band isn't following any other users.
When asked what the holdup is Deni laughs and expresses a hesitation when it comes to getting too wrapped up in technology. Still, he says the band plans to start uploading pictures soon.
"This is one of the first times that I've felt a true connection with some of these Internet innovations," he says. "I think I'm coming around."