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posted by janrinok on Thursday September 09, @04:18AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the tear-a-corner-off-your-DREAD-card dept.

Digital Music News has a brief mention about ABBA's new digital costumes, made by Industrial Light and Magic, which will be used at the concert tour accompanying their album release. It sounds like a similar method as was used to make Andy Serkis look like Gollum, but this time making people look younger and fresher. It's unclear whether the avatars will be mapped on the fly to real movement happening along with the concert or just running through pre-precorded routines.

Creative Director Ben Morris says his company has recreated ABBA in its prime, from 1979. "We are creating them as digital characters, then use performance capture techniques to animate them and make them look perfectly real," Morris says.

Klaxons' James Righton and Little Boots will both appear as part of the live band. The reunion will be the first in four decades with "I Still Have Faith in You" and "Don't Shut Me Down" celebrating the announcement.

The new ABBA album Voyage will contain ten new tracks, with at least one Christmas song. Will the group dethrone Mariah Carey's Christmas tradition of taking the top of the Christmas charts? I guess we'll see later this year.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @05:05AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @05:05AM (#1176116)

    It's all been done. There's nothing left to sing about. Everyone dress up in 70s garb and dance to the copyright good stuff. There's nothing else to sing about. All the good tunes have been taken. Creativity has been perfected, just shutup and listen.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday September 09, @08:48AM (1 child)

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday September 09, @08:48AM (#1176173) Homepage
      Shut up and *pay money* to listen again. (And these songs are far from out of copyright, some Swedish bank accounts will fatten because of this.)

      What I don't understand is how wrapping up old fogies in young-looking avatars will yield anything apart from the motion capture of old fogies acting like old fogies. What if Agneta slips a disk during /Gimme Gimme Gimme/ or Benny drops his plectrum and can't bend over to pick it up? The cynic in me says maybe they'll just have "stunt doubles" for the whole event. In which case the whole thing would be a fraud.

      So that's it - fogies or fraud is the first thought that goes through my mind.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday September 09, @06:58AM (16 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 09, @06:58AM (#1176155) Homepage Journal

    Many concerts could have been improved, if only the band members had stayed at home.

    Abba? I listened to them in high school. Today I'm an old bastard. Abba are even older bastards than I am. Why do people want to pay good money to watch old bastards shambling around on stage like zombies? Aren't there any fresh young young faces capable of singing and entertaining?

    --
    alles in Ordnung
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by canopic jug on Thursday September 09, @07:35AM (3 children)

      by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 09, @07:35AM (#1176159) Journal

      Why do people want to pay good money to watch old bastards shambling around on stage like zombies?

      Thus ILM [ilm.com] is involved, and marketing is via the dodgier edges of social control media.

      --
      Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by FatPhil on Thursday September 09, @09:01AM (1 child)

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday September 09, @09:01AM (#1176179) Homepage
        An ILM guy starts going blah-blah-blah at 1400s into https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJBGk9Hed8o and there's a minute or so of example MoCap/CGI innards. Don't waste time with the fan-wanking before and after that.

        TL;DW: It is really Abba performing, but it's not live, it took 5 weeks to record.

        I don't really see how this is different from the Japanese CGI avatar concerts that have existed since last decade, apart from the attempt at photorealism.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday September 09, @01:06PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday September 09, @01:06PM (#1176235)

          then use performance capture techniques to animate them and make them look perfectly real

          1) If they're performance capturing "old ABBA" you'll have young faces and bodies creaking around the stage with stiff joints and no stamina (maybe that's why it took 5 weeks to record?)

          2) If they're performance capturing young dancers and putting them in ABBA skins, will the young dancers be trained to dance "that lame 70s style"? Exclusively? Or will they be teaching the old dog skins new tricks?

          3) If this took 5 weeks to record, then you might as well get the performance on BluRay and watch it on your own home theater system, the "Live" concert is little more than a movie premier attended by the band members.

          4) If you're a fan of the (now 40-50 year old) recorded music, you probably don't want to hear what it sounds like played by the original band members - particularly on their original instruments without studio editing.

          5) If ILM doesn't pull this off any better than they did reanimating Carrie Fischer for the new movies, you don't want BluRay resolution. Get it in standard definition sit far from the screen and don't wear corrective lenses, otherwise the uncanny valley is gonna make you want to puke.

          --
          My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday September 09, @09:16AM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday September 09, @09:16AM (#1176184) Homepage
        Oh - thanks for the sub, it's a nice cross-over of tech, culture, and the timelessness or otherwise thereof, even if we're all cynical about it.

        And to make up for the lack of other content in this post, I shall pay in youtube links:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mudeZ089sA
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo3pfnldlD0
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43zqYNIvUh0 (RIP Alexi Laiho, 1979-2020 :( )

        I can't be 100% sure, but I think those are the only Abba songs in my CD collection.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Thursday September 09, @08:06AM (8 children)

      by looorg (578) on Thursday September 09, @08:06AM (#1176163)

      Question might be who the target audience for an ABBA revival is. I doubt they consider their target audience to be teenagers etc. It's more likely their parents or grandparents that are going to go and see them. So they might be ok with seeing old folks shuffling around on stage, dreaming about their youth etc and not want to see the latest and greatest teen idol "sing" about things they don't care about. But that is just guessing on my part. This is probably going to be nostalgia crack.

      Perhaps the start of something new, where old dead artists go on tour again as holograms. One interesting thing might be to have multiple concerts at the same time at multiple venues. After all if you are just a hologram (or whatever we should call it) then you can be anywhere and everywhere as long as bandwidth permits it.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @08:13AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @08:13AM (#1176164)

        if it's a hologram it's not a concert.
        I like the new ABBA song that I listened to. But I'm disapointed by the fact that they're doing this hologram thing: if you're too old to go on tour, just say that, do a live concert in your home town that you record and people can see on TV, and be done with it.

        • (Score: 2) by looorg on Thursday September 09, @08:25AM

          by looorg (578) on Thursday September 09, @08:25AM (#1176168)

          I admit I have not really been paying much attention to the whole return of ABBA. I have not even listened to the songs yet. It's not cause I don't like ABBA, they are almost always ok in my book and I like some or most of the old songs. But I was under the impression that the digital characters (or holograms or whatnot) wouldn't be the only things on stage and that they would be more like there with them, the real people, and not a replacement. Sort of like how Kraftwerk brings out their robot dummies on stage, it doesn't mean they are not there in person but they are a complement to the band. That said as with ABBA most of them are now starting to get quite old and eventually it might just be the dummies that goes on stage, and I'll probably still be there to watch them -- unless I can send my own hologram there ...

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday September 09, @08:52AM (3 children)

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday September 09, @08:52AM (#1176174) Homepage
        > I doubt they consider their target audience to be teenagers

        TFA: "ABBA is poised to reach a whole new generation of new fans, especially on TikTok."
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by looorg on Thursday September 09, @09:00AM (2 children)

          by looorg (578) on Thursday September 09, @09:00AM (#1176178)

          What they hope and wish for is doubtful I would say. Somehow I don't see the TikTok generation starting to listening to grandpa music just cause it's available in short video format.

          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday September 09, @09:02AM

            by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday September 09, @09:02AM (#1176180) Homepage
            Every 25 years they'll have another chance to milk the everything-old-is-new-again retro wave(s).

            /me dusts off his flares...
            --
            I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @10:02AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @10:02AM (#1176197)

            well. the problem is that nobody did voices like ABBA did voices until the Spice Girls came along.
            people can dismiss granpa music all they want, but the fact is that we are still listening to the greats from 200 years ago, and ABBA will be relevant for the rest of history.

            it's like queen and the beatles.
            members of queen were better at making music and singing, but the beatles were there first.

            whether the younger generations know it or not, they will be hearing ABBA or ABBAwannabes fairly often, and many of them will like it.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by canopic jug on Thursday September 09, @10:29AM

        by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 09, @10:29AM (#1176202) Journal

        I doubt they consider their target audience to be teenagers etc.

        This arangement gives them most of the benefits of touring while keeping the advantages of staying at home for most of it. According to TFS, the band or, at least its hashtag, has gotten over a billion views so far on TikTok, though algorithms are sneaky tools, TikTok has allowed it. So the topic and probably the music is still popular with certain age groups and it's now yet another generation's turn to be in their late teens and early twenties.

        When Abba peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, groups could rise to popularity through non-autotuned music because people actually enjoyed listening and/or dancing to. The music was played because it was popular not the other way around. With that popularity comes money and that is a different skill than writing and performing. Most of the biggest groups back then ended up running like businesses. By that I don't mean the usual for nowadays of into the ground and then ask for a handout. Instead I mean that they took care of the money and most of the management themselves. That leaves little to the vultures.

        Once they blew up, ABBA developed an empire of sorts. With its manager, Stig Anderson, the band controlled several big companies, among them Polar Music International and Harlekin, according to an article from 1980 in the now-defunct magazine High Fidelity [americanradiohistory.com]. They made money off of everything from art galleries to clogs.

        Eventually, ABBA was competing [bbc.com] with Volvo to become Sweden's No. 1 export.

        "We control 100 percent: publishing, record royalties, production money. It’s all split between the family, so you cover the costs, and after that it’s all profit," Anderson told the magazine said at the time. "We don’t want to mix up music with money, but money always follows success and someone must take care of it."

        From: ABBA Is Back. Here Are All the Insane Ways They Made Money — And Why They Hate Cash Now [money.com]

        As far as I know, the Stones, the Eagles, and a few others also took that route. The other exreme was the route that Badfinger took or the screwing that many. including Prince and Van Morrison [faroutmagazine.co.uk], got from the labels. Even today, you get musicians like Samantha Fish who run their operation like a business.

        Also, Abba doesn't have much competition. If one of today's autotuned, corporate-approved entertainers wanted to go on anon-standard tour, they'd have months or years of paperwork and committee meetings to deal with before getting moving and by that time the public attention will have moved onward. I'll go out on a limb and point out that the autotuned, corporate-approved entertainers are popular only because their owners control the distribution channels these days and would not get a much of a return on a heavy investment like this. Abba has been big money for a long time and still is. In 2014 ABBA turned down a $1 billion offer for another tour, though mainly because of an unreasonable number of performances. With that money, and their own control of it, comes independence to try this.

        --
        Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
      • (Score: 2) by Kitsune008 on Thursday September 09, @04:55PM

        by Kitsune008 (9054) on Thursday September 09, @04:55PM (#1176304)

        Perhaps the start of something new, where old dead artists go on tour again as holograms.

        with an army of lawyers waiting in the wings, salivating.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday September 09, @01:20PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday September 09, @01:20PM (#1176243)

      Aren't there any fresh young young faces capable of singing and entertaining?

      There are, but we are still parading Mickey Mouse around as an iconic entertainer after all this time, too.

      The advent of A/V recording created an age of immortals - some may fade into the background, but none will ever die, and some are destined to recirculate at some significant level in "modern" pop culture for all of eternity, or the fall of civilization which is likely much sooner.

      --
      My karma ran over your dogma.
    • (Score: 2) by turgid on Thursday September 09, @01:51PM (1 child)

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 09, @01:51PM (#1176255) Journal

      I've seen Hawkwind, UFO, Budgie, the Black Star Riders... They put on great shows.

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday September 09, @05:59PM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday September 09, @05:59PM (#1176335) Homepage
        Yeah, old doesn't have to mean past it.

        I saw (4/5ths of) Deep Purple (plus Steve Morse) before they were all crinkly or dead - one amazing gig, one pretty damn good one.
        The times I saw Wishbone Ash they'd rotated most of their line-up, so maybe it's not a fair comparison - but they're always mindblowing - Phoenix - woh!
        Also seen Tasavallan Presidentti and Wigwam (and Jukka Tolonen and others' spin-offs) many times - always good.
        John Fogerty was fun, but he was doing mostly poppier stuff that's not my main thang

        All were in their 5th decade of performing, assuming they started in the 60s, apart from one DP in their 6th.

        And talking about 6th decades, I think Neil Young was that when I saw him. But he played nothing good at all. His oeuvre's too large, and my tastes are too narrow :(
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
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