Radiohead has again surprised its fans with new work, this time by dropping a strange, ethereal new smartphone app called PolyFauna. Available for free through the iTunes store, the creation harnesses the sounds and textures of Radiohead’s “Bloom,” from the band’s most recent album, “The King of Limbs.”
The app is, predictably, a trip, one that isn’t really a game as much as it is a window into a synthetic, visually compelling realm. Crafted by the band in conjunction with digital designers Universal Everything and longtime collaborators Stanley Donwood and Nigel Godrich, PolyFauna allows participants to scribble, roam, take screenshots and follow an odd red ball until it erupts.
The text that accompanies the release is deliberately vague.
PolyFauna is an experimental collaboration between us (Radiohead) & Universal Everything, born out of The King of Limbs sessions and using the imagery and the sounds from the song Bloom.
It comes from an interest in early computer life-experiments and the imagined creatures of our subconscious.
Your screen is the window into an evolving world.
Move around to look around.
You can follow the red dot.
You can wear headphones.
You can get some pretty strange looks on the train.
Around the office too. The app is most compelling when you’re holding the screen in front of you and moving in circles, following vistas and synthetic trees until you come across said red dot, which, when chased, transports viewers hyperspace-like into a new landscape. (Warning: While pointing your iPad this way and that, it’s quite obvious to coworkers that you’re not working on spreadsheets.)
PolyFauna is available for iOS and Android operating systems through the iTunes store. Check Radiohead’s details here.