When the conversation turns to virtual worlds that have their own languages, characters and landscapes, the first thing that comes to my mind is Animal Crossing, the social simulation game developed and published by Nintendo. So, when a new project entitled ourWorld cropped up on my radar, for a moment I thought we were going to be treated to new variants of Bells, going fishing a lot, shaking trees and Tom Nook.
Thankfully there’s no Tom Nook involved in ourWorld, although someone called Tom does have a lot to do with it, as ourWorld is based around the songs that a certain Tom Wells, formerly the bass player in the Portsmouth based indie rock band Kassassin Street, has created. Tom's project goes under the name Fast Trains.
Getting on board with Tom is Sam Brandon, his video collaborator, who has created the animated visuals that make up ourWorld. What this world is, or is meant to be about, at this stage I’m not really sure. What do the strange symbols present in the video mean? What is the purpose of the rotating box – is it a distant cousin of the Lament Configuration from Cliver Barker’s Hellraiser or the Rubik’s Cube? (There's some 80's references for you). Who are the strange amorphous creatures that appear to inhabit this world? Maybe all will become clear in future videos. Or perhaps not. Is there a mystery to solve? Or is it all just like Nik Kershaw’s The Riddle (more 80's references there) and just a load of nonsense?
Whatever it is, the song that accompanies it all, Measure by Measure, isn’t nonsense at all. It's a rather simple and lovely thing; created from looped guitars that have a vaguely summery 60’s feel to them, combined with small amounts of electronic trickery and Tom’s teasingly pleasant and harmonious vocal melody, it never piles too much in and is all the better for it. A fine opening and I look forward to hearing (and seeing) more.
Fast Trains - Measure by Measure