Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cartoon Characters, Film Clips & Holograms

So what do cartoon characters, film clips and holograms have in common?

More specifically, what do they have to do with music?

This is a music-related blog, after all.

Cartoon characters, film clips and holograms each represent non-traditional musical pairings that have occurred as technological advances have made them possible.

There once was a time that when two or more musicians wanted to perform together they worked out their schedules and actually got together to rehearse and perform.

Now, with technology the possibilities are limitless.



I recall the hubbub made over Paula Abdul's video "Opposites Attract" back in 1989.  Everyone was talking the video because she sang, danced, and interacted with a cartoon character. It had never been done before in a music video! (The film Roger & Me came out about the same.)

How was this made possible?

See it here:


Then, a few years later, Natalie Cole - daughter of mid-20th century crooner, Nat King Cole - created a stir by performing with her deceased father in both video and live performances.

How was this made possible?

See it here:


Now about holograms.

I have learned there is more to holograms than the "hologram" that came as the prize in Cracker Jacks or as a sticker . . . or of Princess Leia being projected by R2D2 in Star Wars.

According to a hologram is defined as:

A negative produced by exposing a high-resolution photographic plate, without camera or lens, near a subject illuminated by monochromatic, coherent radiation, as from a laser, when it is placed in a beam of coherent light a true three-dimensional image of the subject is formed.

Fast forward to the first time I heard of the use of holograms in a live musical performance.

It was the Coachella music festival in 2012 when Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre performed with the deceased Tupac Shakur via hologram technology.

How was this made possible?

(I won't share the video here as I am not comfortable with the language content on my family-friendly blog.  You may search for it on YouTube if you'd like to see it.)


Now, in 2016, the idea of using a hologram of a recently deceased musician in a current voice competition TV show is in the news.

The TV show was meaning to honor the deceased by portraying her as a hologram on the program, but the musician's estate is against it.

The TV show's representative said:

"Holograms are new technology that take time to perfect, and we believe with artists of this iconic caliber, it must be perfect." 

I respect the TV show for honoring the wishes of the musician's estate.  In this world of "doing it for the sake of 'art'," it is nice to see some integrity.


I have mixed feelings about the use of holograms.

I believe if they are used to honor someone as mentioned above or just to demonstrate new technology, holograms can be a cool thing.  To be honest, I look forward to when I get to see a live hologram performance.

If they are used to avoid live performances for whatever reason, I am opposed to this.  I see this having a negative impact on musicians' livelihoods.

More importantly it would create a negative impact on active music-making by human beings.  That would be a terrible loss to our society and humankind.

Do I fear this will happen?  No.

Electronic music and music technology have existed for a long time and people still feel driven to actively make music with voice or instrument.

So, continue with music making and enjoy the new things that technology will bring to us.

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