British virtual band Gorillaz partnered with Google Spotlight Stories to release a new virtual reality (VR) music video titled Saturnz Barz (Spirit House) 360. The video contains tracks from the band’s upcoming album Humanz that’s set to be released on April 28. Music aside, the introductory and final moments of the video depict an ordinary train car which you’re riding and watching Saturnz Barz on a smartphone. As most other creations authored by Gorillaz, the video gets kind of surreal at times and features a wide variety of bizarre characters and strange encounters. Without going into further spoiler territory, you can watch the entire thing below.
Saturnz Barz (Spirit House) 360 was directed by Jamie Hewlett, the co-creator of Gorillaz and a well-known English comic book artist and filmmaker. The production was handled by British producer Cara Speller who already collaborated with Google Spotlight Stories in the past as she was the executive producer of Pearl, the first ever VR short nominated for an Academy Award. Pearl received the nomination in the Best Animated Short Film category during this year’s Oscars alongside Pear Cider and Cigarettes, another film that Speller executive-produced. In addition to Google Spotlight Stories, Saturnz Barz (Spirit House) 360 was produced in collaboration with multinational production company Passion Pictures Animation.
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The partnership with Gorillaz marks another effort by Google to promote VR content, which is why the Mountain View-based tech giant established Google Spotlight Stories in the first place. Prior to its historic Academy Award nomination, the company’s VR content unit announced a number of upcoming VR features that are scheduled to debut on YouTube later this year, including Son of Jaguar, the first 360-degree short directed by famous Mexican animator Jorge Gutierrez. Apart from content, the Alphabet-owned company is also hard at work promoting VR on the hardware side of things as the firm recently debuted the Daydream View headset and Daydream VR platform that’s slowly growing as an ecosystem thanks to the constantly increasing number of compatible smartphones and head-mounted displays. As Google’s ambitions in VR space keep growing, the company will likely fund more projects similar to Saturnz Barz (Spirit House) 360 in the future.