(Aug 18th, 2017) this project is abandoned!

Perfect is an upcoming game-like software by
Sean Han Tani. It's his 4th musical project after the Anodyne OST (2012), Even the Ocean (not out yet, 2013-4) and Model Minority No More (2014 - 5).



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So what is it?

Perfect is set in future monolithic city-building, where Chicago currently stands. In 2077, a subway bombing targeted against the Taiwanese American community compels an interviewer, Chen, to investigate the reaction to the event, by talking to people who would be called "Taiwanese", yet span between immigrants, refugees, naturalized citizens, and American-born citizens.

Perfect is a music album, where the lyrics are words on a screen that play during songs, where the album art is the game's world itself, and the liner notes are other bits of text scattered around the world.

Perfect is software with elements of 2D exploration games, web browsers, music albums, and nonfiction interviews. The way you interact with Perfect is a cross between web browser and top-down video game. You use the mouse to click links to go to different places within Perfect.


Naming

Based on a short story I wrote, Perfect is the name of a monolithic city-sized building, after its life as future big-box warehouse store "Perfect Mart" (think the size progression of Target, then Super Target, etc. - no weirder or dystopic than the idea of Super Target, I think.) At the least it's kind of a funny name that's not totally out of the realm of possibility.

Global warming has set seasons in flux, ruining most natural agriculture, so people live in these repurposed, monolithic big box stores.

Life is pretty normal otherwise, since most people are used to living with the Internet and there are plenty of ways to simulate natural atmospheres.

Automation and science may have solved the food problem, but many people now work as "artists", creating work from only one medium (paintings, music, etc) that ends up being used by a class of "creators" with machine learning algorithms to create machine assisted art.

So a lot of the general labor structure still exists.

The particulars and realism don't really matter - the world of Perfect is not particularly more dystopic than today (perhaps it's less?) - the world of Perfect was made in a way of speculating about what certain trends and systemic problems about our world today might lead to.

What is the music about?

Perfect 's music tries to render different layers of the world of Perfect . In this way it is soundtrack - like. The style goes all over the place and isn't particularly easily categorized, though it does strive for a level of 'listenability' (in that it's not as inaccessible as noise or electronic - experimental music). It's stylistically similar to other music I've made. In some ways, it's a audio walking tour of the world, trying to render its different sorts of spaces.

Intention

I'm interested in thinking of alternate ways of presenting music that isn't stuck to the 30-60 minute album format. I'm interested in *coherently* contextualizing music with narrative and visuals. While Perfect now has game-like and reading-focused elements, its core stems from this musical goal.

I've noticed that if you look solely at the music aspect of a video game, it is a contextualized album playing in a semi-random order (sometimes entirely non-random), based on what areas the player goes to. Because each song in Perfect is a musical "rendering" of a particular aspect of Perfect's world, no 'canon' track listing exists. Thus each person gets their own 'path' through the world.

I had also been thinking about mobile games and how they use the feeling of collection to promote gameplay and engagement, which I'd like to achieve through the exploration aspect of Perfect. I also have been enjoying creating 3D models of buildings/spaces and was interested in doing this in a musical way.

By being sort of controlling, overly structuring someone's engagement with the album (via making them use Perfect as the interface), I think I can create a way of listening to music that has some of the interesting aspects that games have, while also being able to 'ground' the music in concrete world-building and thematic ideas (achieved through the texts). In this way the music has formal appeal (like the majority of music) but also has some thematic value in terms of words, like how popular songs use lyrics.

It's meant to be film or novel like insofar as when you are 'using' Perfect you have to actively be paying attention. Because of this level of attention, it's not meant to be finished in one sitting.


Progress

After a bit of debate, I'm deciding to include around 8-10 "interviews", with the game split into multiple chapters where the explorable area of Perfect grows each chapter. Songs will play both in interviews and the overworld/world map.

Updated 2016/07/15

Here's some work in progress music from the project.