Find Yourself Under Neon Lights in The Chemical Brothers’ New VR Music Experience

At Within, we’re always excited to take advantage of new technologies that make VR more accessible. So, when we got an invitation from Google to create an “Experiment” for the launch of WebVR Experiments, we didn’t hesitate to accept. Led by creators Jono Brandel and Zach Richter, we made a Within Original — an interactive, colorfully animated VR music experience for The Chemical Brothers’ song “Under Neon Lights”, featuring St. Vincent, from their most recent album “Born In The Echoes”.

“Under Neon Lights” is a psychological and physical coming-of-age story, framed around a girl whose world builds in neon color as she runs through the different environmental stages of her life. In the final act, she floats freely, which speaks to the theme of the song — letting go. According to the Chemical Brothers, “We’ve always been intrigued by different visual interpretations of our music, so we were excited to see what the Within team would come up with in VR.”

When you explore this one-of-a-kind music experience, the environment reacts to the music and to you. The visual narrative mirrors the track’s swirls and beats at every turn, but you determine those turns in real time. This is made possible by procedurally layering in environments that unfold based on how you interact with them.

“Under Neon Lights” is accessible anywhere there’s a browser — your smartphone, desktop computer or a Daydream VR headset. Just click here and dive in. Open source code and models from the project are also being hosted on GitHub, allowing anyone to play around with the animation timings, interactive film code structures and more. We invite all developers, animators and creators to look under the hood and sample, mix, morph and build anew.

If you ask musicians about their hopes and dreams, you’ll often find that they want their music to provide personal, individual experiences of meaning and emotion. VR’s inherent capacity to allow millions of unique experiences to occur from one creation is what makes it the perfect pairing for musical experiences, and the result — “Under Neon Lights” — is a new type of experience: the magical combination of music and virtual reality, with the democratic accessibility of the web. We hope you will enjoy the unlimited possibilities within it.

Web, iPhone, Android:

  • Go to this link to experience Under Neon Lights from any browser, mobile or desktop: https://with.in/neon
  • Move your phone around to experience the world in magic window, tap and hold on your screen to enter the neon world.

Watch in VR on Daydream:

  • Go to this link to experience Under Neon Lights: https://with.in/neon
  • Tap “Enter VR” and place your phone your Daydream viewer. Use the Daydream controller to interact with the experience, and enter the neon world.

HTC Vive and Oculus Rift: WebVR support coming for Windows browsers soon.