The year is 2021. Your grades are either dropping or rising (more likely the former). Your social media compass is always on your mind. We are on the cusp of a new age of technological divide and advancement, but somehow it still feels so far away. While we might want to, we can’t just hop into our exoskeleton, plug in, and hack other bodies. We can only imagine what it’s like to be in this future world. But why sit and ponder yourself when a bevy full of content can immerse you into these technological worlds? These albums and movies will get you in that futuristic vibe, and transport you to 2041.
Gloss Drop is a tangent of electronic keys and hyper visual sounds that are beyond what is felt around today. The opening track “Africastle” throws you headfirst into the mishmash of synthy, glitchy sounds from the keyboard. It sounds like a joyride of glass cities through a really fast flying car. “Ice Cream” is totally bizarre with more of the stagnant electric blips and lyrics that are just… confusing? It sounds like some futuristic jargon layered on top of a messy future club tune. Highlights of this album (“Wall Street,” “Sundome” and “Sweetie & Shag”) continue this ecstasy filled joyride through a cyber space. You can fall into a total trance of cyber infused sounds that transport you to another world, even if you’re just zoning out on the bus to uni. Party on a Tuesday morning?
Shaking The Habitual—The Knife
The digitised production across this album tracks is so ahead of our time. “A Tooth for an Eye” and “Full of Fire” give larger-than-life tones, but are not too overbearing in sound. It feels like something you would put on at your skybox apartment in a dystopian Blade Runner city. “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” creates a vibe of relaxation only possible in a cyberpunk future. Each of these tracks are uniquely infused with tones and instrumentation, but the lengthy “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized” manages to be more toned down from the rest. It might actually be perfect for a midday meditation (so quiet and peaceful… What world is this?). It’s an excellent practice in mindfulness, perfect for quelling an active mind in the anxious future.
Dir. Leigh Whannell
This sci-fi revenge film examines a world in which technology controls nearly all aspects of life. Grey, a technophobe, utilises a chip to become a super soldier and enact revenge on an attacker. The futurism is subtle yet convincing: the barren, neon lit world is incredible for such a smaller budget project. It all fits into the viewer’s known reality, but it’s imaginative enough to feel alien and distant. Small details, such as the touch-screen table and self-driving cars, bridge that gap between the present and future. There are many scenes (amongst the incredibly gross violence) that are simply amazing to witness. The central idea of technology being utilised to augment human bodies into superhero-like figures is rock solid, as it would be a key point on so many future wish-lists. Of course, the body horror is totally grotesque but who wouldn’t want an arm shotgun? Simply put, Upgrade is an engrossing romp that will prepare you for the future to come.
Dir. Spike Jonze
On the polar opposite spectrum of Upgrade is Spike Jonze magnum opus, Her. Theodore Twombly’s descent into an AI’s love embrace couldn’t be a more convincing projection of our present. For starters, the movie’s world feels just a bit more advanced than ours. There’s automatic voice-to-text typing, earpiece technology, and minimalist advertising littered throughout the movie: a vision so close to our world you could easily confuse it for an Apple commercial. But it’s really the AI, Samantha, that creates a compelling sense of unfamiliarity. Her voice responds so naturally, with a charisma that is far from Siri or Alexa. The charm is alluring and at times you can’t help but fall head-over-heels for Samantha (as much as Theodore does). And isn’t that just beautiful? A bright future where the romance we seek can be found in codes and blips, in our earpieces whenever we want, likely at an incredibly high price. Oh… maybe that’s a little dystopian? Regardless, Her paints a stunning picture of the near future and can be a good showcase for all those lovesick loners wishing it was 2041.