Seminal hip-hop outfit and live jam band The Roots will debut a new app tomorrow designed to provide an interactive complement to new concept album undun, due out on December 6th. A mix of interviews, lyrics, music video snippets and images, the application will delve deeper into the mythos surrounding the short life of fictional character Redford Stephens, around whose tale the record is based.
Designed to elaborate further upon the faux inner city youth’s troubled life, the app will let viewers delve deeper into the events leading up to and precipitating the fallen drug dealer’s untimely demise. Serving as a multimedia complement to the album, a reverse narrative whose songs memorialize key moments in Stephens’ life that precursor his temptation and eventual fall, the program should provide fans added story perspective. Helping further deconstruct the character’s relationships, choices and motivations, its use of high-tech set pieces is designed to provide deeper understanding of, and emotional resonance with, the tale.
The album is currently available for live streaming online at NPR, and drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson recently told PBS that the concept piece is designed to provide the act’s work with a "unifying theme" and "experiential quality." One of a growing breed of new applications, e.g. those by Sting and Bjork, designed to pair images and interactive surprises with words and music, it could help the morality play take on even more unexpected dimensions.