You won't find clips of incendiary guitar solos—or even flaming guitars—in the reverent House Full of Mirrors: The Official Jimi Hendrix Web Site, but you will find lots of semischolarly and otherworldly analyses of the 25-years-dead rock god. The site, sponsored by the L.A.-based Jimi Hendrix Foundation, which is funded by the singer's estate, offers accounts of Hendrix's performances, as well as essays explaining his musical impact. There's even an area in the site that examines the rock star's astrological chart. "The fire element fed not only his artistic vision," one seer writes of Hendrix, a Sagittarius (birth date: Nov. 27, 1942), "but inspired an unquenchable desire...that led naturally to the public stage." Can an online Hendrix seance be far behind? (URL: http://www.wavenet.-com/~jhendrix)
Mick, Keith and the gang are throwing a party at a dilapidated New Orleans plantation. That's the tantalizing premise of this CD-ROM based on the Rolling Stones album of the same name. But true fans won't get much satisfaction maneuvering through dark and boring scenes of leather-clad bikers in order to encounter grainy scenes like one featuring Keith Richards and Ron Wood at a bar. Click on Richards, and he groans, "My brain hurts." Wood grunts, "Mine, too." Maybe they should have stayed home. (CD-ROM for PC and Mac, GTE Entertainment/Virgin, $49.98)
MUSICIAN TODD RUNDGREN HAS MADE a career out of being an iconoclast. In his 1972 album Something/Anything?, he sang all the vocals and played all the instruments. Soon afterward, he says, he began to see the potential of "using computers to change the way music is experienced." Two decades later, Rundgren, who is now 47 and living in San Francisco, has fulfilled that vision with his new album, The Individualist (see review).
When did you first start using computers?
When I was still in high school, around 1965.I was interested in all sorts of technical things, like robots and rocket ships. You needed a computer to build a robot. They used computers at the telephone billing office not too far from my high school. So I used to go there and hang around.
How did you get the idea to put music videos on the computer?
Upon hearing a song, the average person creates an emotional picture. Music evokes a specific line of imagery. I wanted to reinforce that by doing visualizations of the music.
What kinds of things will music fans be able to do on their computers in the future?
Eventually, with the interactive music CD, you will be able to specify how you would like the music performed. For instance, if you like the instruments, you can listen to an entirely instrumental version of the album. The only limitation will be how much music you can stand to listen to.
- Erik Ashok Meers.
Todd Rundgren brings MTV to the PC in The Individualist, his latest album. Using the extra memory available in the new Enhanced CD format, Rundgren has filled The Individualist with stunning montages set to 10 new Rundgren songs. For example, in the cut "Family Values," a swirling kaleidoscope of images—from quaint postcards to crayon stick figures—surrounds a '50s-era family. At the end, the family confronts a disturbingly distorted vision of itself. The album also can be played on an audio CD player (you get the sound but not the graphics) and is priced like most audio CDs, making it a bargain for a state-of-the-art multimedia experience. (Enhanced CD for PC and Mac, TR-i, $16.98)