We often celebrate the “firsts” in NFTs — but what about the lasts? What are the projects that mark seasons, timestamp development, and indicate blockchain advances?
Meet “PHONONS” by generative music sound developer KOR3. This audio-visual work, hitting the Async Art platform at 9am PST on Tuesday, March 1, is the last of its kind: Async Music Classic. Needless to say, this is absolutely one for the books.
(Moving forward, we will introduce to our community Audio Blueprints, made available to all Async Art creators.)
Not only is this piece the final work of its kind, but each collector (of both the Master and Stem Layers alike) will receive a gifted airdrop from the artist, and the work is incredibly innovative in that it — yes, the audio — is endlessly looping.
Discover more about this work in the following written interview with KOR3, edited for clarity.
Q: KOR3! Great to have you, and welcome to Async Music. Firstly: What’s your story? Bring us in a little bit. We’d love to get to know you.
I’ve been immersed in music my whole life. I was born in the south of Italy, studied piano at the conservatory, moved to Rome for college exploring electronic music production, score composition and sound design while advancing my passion for motion graphics and VJing.
In the mid 2000s, I began experimenting with the use of accelerometers and gyroscopes for music composition and performance using body movements and won a scholarship at the European Institute of Design (IED) where I also interned and practiced as lecturer. During my years in Rome I worked on scoring feature films, produced a variety of music projects, and performed as DJ and VJ all over the country.
In 2010 I moved to NYC and after a few months I hacked a video-game controller called Kinect and coded a series of plugins to extract its data and use it for music and visuals manipulation. This was the beginning of a series of projects focused on BioFeedback driven music performance made of instruments and sound sculptures exploring the connection between technology, sound, movement, and space. In the following years, I had the honor to work on the sound design for Disney’s TRON RUN/R video game and remixed Giorgio Moroder’s tracks.
My sound-art approach has been integrated in fashion shows, interactive storefronts, art installations and visual performances such as the Times Square Super Bowl Boulevard and Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week to name a few. This research opened the doors for many opportunities and gave me the chance to help others through education and working as a consultant for music manufacturers and tech companies.
Aside from producing and working for a record label as my day job, I love exploring through my art and I believe that innovation and technology are gateways towards discovery and reinvention, and it’s up to the artists to explore the possibilities and push the limits further. In my case, sound has always driven and unlocked powerful states of creation, and I’m very grateful for the ability to play with it every single day.
Q: How did you find yourself in the world of NFTs? How has blockchain technology influenced or inspired new creativity?
I learned about NFTs in 2020, and for the first few months, I explored the space and experimented with the newly discovered medium/container. I began creating a small series of animated music collectibles minted on Rarible using that as testing grounds making my first sales and exploring the different platforms. In February 2021, I joined Clubhouse, where I met lots of friends, expanded my knowledge and helped others onboarding and becoming familiar with web3.
As a graphic artist and musician first, I was a bit disappointed by the music options and poor integration of music in NFTs until I stumbled upon Async Music and its model offering a new way to look at, experience, and play with songs.
To me this meant breaking the rules and limitations attached to the traditional way of releasing music: the idea of allowing collectors to own portions of a track and interact with its compositional structure is powerful and has lots of parallels with remixing and working with Stems.
Async’s autonomous pieces are also extremely cool; it almost feels like after minting they live their own everlasting life cycle. Currently I’m working on a Blueprints collection. It’s great to add rarity and being able to create generative collections, special traits and build with this type of format.
Q: What was the inspiration for your Async piece, “PHONONS”?
“PHONONS” is a sonic exploration, a piece that tells a story of balance, conflict, growth, and regeneration. One of the biggest inspirations behind this work is the technology it’s built on and the concept of interoperability and interactive dynamic change that Async’s Layers allow.
While writing this piece, I found many parallels with my BioFeedback music research, where using various pieces of technology and sensors, I would create instruments designed to give a certain freedom of expression to the users while fitting in the bigger wireframe of my initial composition.
When designing “PHONONS,” I wanted to make sure that each layer would occupy an equal visual space in the artwork underlying the importance in value that each part of the composition has on the overall final product.
Q: What do you hope for this piece? And its release into the world?
This piece has an intrinsic immersive attitude. My wish is for the listeners to be able to experience a cosmic and floating sound atmosphere, a space for meditation and gazing.
The music has aspects of genres like Ambient, Downtempo, Electronica and Noise and the variants are bridges to connect these sonic environments and create union and tension depending on the combinations.
I would love for the collectors to be able to express their mood by picking which Stem variant is active at any given time. I am curious to see how layer owners will interact with the disruptive value of “Anti-Matter,” a state capable of adding noise and negative space to the track. This variant in particular is very powerful as it’s the only one for each layer with non-harmonious and musical characteristics, and instead carries a mix of sonic artifacts, darker tones and noise. I hope people use it wisely or go crazy with it :)
Q: Your Async work is especially unique, in that it’s the last musical project to launch with Masters and Layers on our platform before we integrate Audio Blueprints. How does this feel?
It’s an honor to be the closing act for the Async Music Classic collection before the introduction of Audio Blueprints. I see this passage as part of the evolution of the platform, a necessary step towards advancement.
This whole collection signifies a certain level of pioneering and artistry that represents a great example of what’s possible when you look outside the box. I believe that the experience with V1 inspired many of the new features in the next collection.
This idea of evolution is also present in the concept of cycles at the foundation of “PHONONS” philosophy. From the endless nature of the song (beginning and end of the track are designed to connect and loop perfectly) to the states order (specifically the relationship with “Transmute,” “Anti-Matter,” and “Pulse”) the aim is to highlight the cyclical act of regeneration and constant evolution that technology, the physics of sound and life itself naturally share.
Q: What does the future of NFTs look like? What does this mean for you, for music, and for collecting/streaming/consuming?
I like to think that the future of NFTs will look bright. Aside from the pure financial aspects of crypto and the changes/adjustments the market will naturally go through, you are left with the tool itself which is designed to survive long term and most likely evolve through various stages.
I’m very excited and looking forward to the integration and adoption of AR/XR goggles that may happen soon and the ways this will affect our daily lives and probably open the doors for more complex experiences and a stronger immersive relationship with NFTs.
As for the music side of things I’m confident that the recording industry will embrace some aspects of NFT culture and technology allowing for an integration of old and new ways of distributing, streaming, collecting and consuming music and merch. It’s our job as consumers and creators to help in the process of defining what’s here to stay, what works and what needs changes.
The fascinating aspect of web3’s culture is that in the end platforms, collectors, creators, and developers work in tandem to define and determine which path this technology will take. I’m confident in the community and looking forward to experiencing the future.
Place your bid on “PHONONS” here. (Note: All collectors of this work, Master and Stem Layers alike, will receive a gifted airdrop from the artist). Or, pick up a Blank Record in Silver, Gold, or Platinum, and listen to the current state of the Master Track here via Async Player.
For more, follow KOR3 on Instagram and Twitter. Plus, stay up-to-date with all things Async Art by joining our Twitter and Discord communities. And, be the first to know about exciting collections by signing up for our newsletter.