It’s Duran Duran’s Universe (and we are all just visitors)

How do you describe the Duran Duran Universe?

Take Jane Fonda from Barbarella, sprinkle in some Blade Runner, let Andy Warhol blend it all together (for 15 minutes only), give it a good run through the transporter of the Starship Enterprise and set the entire thing to a thumping soundtrack for THE pop band of the 80’s, and you have a pretty good start.

Officially opened in 2011, The Duran Duran Universe (DDU) is, according to the band’s website, the permanent virtual residence of and by the band Duran Duran. If you have not yet not been to the DDU sims, you owe it to yourself to run, not walk, and give it a visit. Although the bands music and imagery are certainly evident throughout the area, the sim is much more than just an all out tribute to a musical group. Using some really interesting visual and sound arrangements, The DDU is a virtual feast for both the ears and the eyes.

A  lipstick shaped tower-nightclub  reaching into the sky, a giant retro phonograph club, geometric light displays, plus a mountain range of snow capped eyeballs staring back at me all combined to make my avi felt like it was on acid (again) as I explored the location. My favorite spots were a tunnel of light that made me long for my Spirograph from chidhood, plus a…well, it is sort of like a…a…it is an awesome  musical light and sound thingy! (Work with me here!)  Imagine sitting in a chair and you are surrounded by circling boxes each identifying a track of a song. Touch a circling box marked “bass” and a bass line begins. Touch the box marked “vocal” and Simon Lebon is singing to the bassline. Keep adding and subtracting from over a dozen choices and you are creating your own mix of a Duran song.

A few  real word musical groups have tried to establish a presence in Second Life, with mixed results. WIth the DDU, Duran Duran is doing it better than most and seems to take a keen interest in the virtual world. Duringa recent show for the 2012 Olympics, the band used footage from SL in the background during their live performance.

Chrissy Welinder

Chrissy Welinder is the DDU Community Manager and in world face of the DDU. An admitted fan of the band, she keeps everything running in world. I really love how she has taken what could have simply been a typical “Isn’t Duran Duran Awesome” self indulgent promotional space, and made it into a real piece of performance art that any 80’s supergroup would be proud of.

Visit the DDU in Second Life


SL resident Sw1tch Nirvana releases CD with in-world release event

Musician and SL resident Sw1tch Nirvana has released his first CD and is using SL to launch his music with an in-world “CD Release Party” at the club Pandamonia.

Switch’s release, entitled “Into The Mountains Of Madness” is currently available through Nirvana’s Reverbnation website. The release is available in both digital format and compact disk. Nirvan (aka Peter Natale) began playing music at the young age of 8, picking up an electric bass before switching to guitar as a teen, but that was just the beginning.

“I played loads of classic rock covers until I was about 18, then the guitar came along…thrash, heavy metal, death metal,” says Nirvana. “Then, at (age) 20, I got shown two turntables and a mixer. It was all over.”

Nirvana’s electronic music features an electro, house sound. The music reflect his influences that include BT, Deadmau5, Porter Robinson and Skrillex among others. The new release, according to Nirvana, was inspired by what was going on in his life.The entire process took about 10 months to come together. Nirvana says he feels that music, especially electronic music, has the power to touch people in various ways.

“Music is the natural healer, I think we can all benefit from it in some way,” said Nirvana. “whether it be for stress relief,  emotions we can’t say for ourselves, or just plain fun. It’s beautiful …and I’ve never been so proud of anything I’ve done like being an electronic musician.  I feel I actually connect on a different level with people more than with any other kind of music. “

As a resident of SL, Nirvana has discovered, like many other artist, that SL is a great platform to promote their RL artistic work. Switch is among many artist who have both influenced by the virtual world, and who have used to to promote their work.He says their is a huge benefit to working with SL.

“I see a huge benefit. People all over the world can experience the music you make from your own home, and be half way across the world,” he said “It’s really amazing!”

On Wednesday, March 28, Switch will perform at Pandamonia, a large venue located on the Retropolis sim.  Retropolis was recently featured on Treet.Tv’s “Designing Worlds” program. The event starts at 7 SLT with a short set by Missy Ember, followed by a performance from Nirvana that will include the tracks form his latest release.

Sw1tch Nirvana @ Reverbnation:

Pandamonia @ Retropolis Sim:

Musical group ChouChou’s immersive sim returns to SL

With so many wonderful sims in Second Life falling to the wayside, it was great to see the return of the stunning region created by the group ChouChou. After being gone for a while, the group recently announced the return of the region, along with a new album!



Chouchou is a Japanese musical duo formed in SL that creates electronic ambient music and has also created some visually stunning regions in SL as a unique way to promote and present their music to the rest of us. The three regions are simple and contemplative, much like the groups music. To put it simple, they have figured out how to do more with less. Yet each region makes a huge impact as you explore all the group has created.

To get the full effect of the regions, you want to make sure you have some basic viewer settings in place before you go. Make sure you have your viewer set to play a land’s music and media and you need the latest Quicktime on your computer. You also want to be sure and have your sky set to “Use Region Settings”.  With these settings, the unique sky settings move from day to night (every four hours), bells chime on the hour and the waters around you glow in a variety of colors. If you really want to have some fun, pick up the free “Chouchou Cinematic HUD” and get a real cinematic experience  as you take in the music.

The first and main region, aptly named ChouChou, is a pale barren landscape. The horizon line between land and sky is almost non-existent.  As I walked along  the region the water around me slowly changed colors form yellows and blues, to pinks and lavenders. As I watched others, i noticed we were all just sort of standing still, in our own little spaces, taking it all in.

Climb a slender tower and you will find the second region, Islamey or “The Garden in The Sky”. It is a beautiful garden like setting that also serves as the groups live performance area. As I walked around and listened to the music, I was amazed at how the group had done so much with so little. I probably have skyboxes in my inventory that use more prims than these entire regions!

Memento Mori

Memento Mori

The last region, Memento Mori, is my favorite of the three! It is a giant cathedral in the clouds that is breathtaking in its dimensions. To enjoy its full impact, set your view distance to 512m. I have made a point to experience this place  at both night and day and both are equally stunning.

ChouChou has recorded their music and it is available on Itunes. It would be easy enough I think for the group to just plop in world and stream their music in a club or other static setting. Instead they have used all the tools that SL has at an artists disposal to create a visual experience that intertwines with their music

Chouchou’s webite: