Earlier in 2019, there was widespread upset over the news that the popular region and builds of Chouchou in Second Life might be closing down and vanishing (see: A Farewell to Chouchou?). At the time of the news I noted:
Designed by Japanese pianist Arabesque Choche and vocalist Juliet Heberle, who together form the successful musical duet of Chouchou, the regions are among some of the longest running, unchanged private island environments to be found in Second Life, and are an absolute delight for all who encounter them. I made my first visit in 2012 (see Chouchou: blending music and art in SL), and have been back many times since, being particularly drawn to the sky build of Memento Mori (located on Chouchou V), a quite remarkable cathedral.
As the news of the possible closure spread, I was one of a number of people who reached out to both Chouchou and Linden Lab in an attempt to bring the two together so that the regions might be saved under the Lab’s Second Life Region Preservation Society (SLRPS). For a time, it appeared this might not be achieved, but in October 2019, Chouchou announced that an agreement had been reached that would indeed see the regions continue to exist as a part of the SLRPS programme (see: Chouchou set to remain in Second Life – and there’s more).
I raise this for two reasons. The first is, as noted in Chouchou set to remain in Second Life – and there’s more, the preservation will see the return of The Babel – of which more below. The second is that – more particularly on December 13th, 2019 Chouchou will be releasing their third concept album, and it is one that has something of a special appeal for me, inspired as it is by the theme of space travel.
Theme03: Hello Astronauts offers everything that is quintessentially Chouchou. It follows the first of their “experimental” series of recordings released in October 2019, and which has another space theme: Oort.
For the last week, Chouchou have made three of the tracks from Hello Astronauts – Voyager, Hyper-euphoria, and Lovers – available for download in advance of the release, together with a series of teasers available for You Tube, including and extended teaser for Voyager, which I’ve embedded below.
Hello Astronauts is available for pre-order via Bandcamp and iTunes – both of which include the ability to download the three tracks mentioned above in advance, and will also be available on the Japanese music site Fans’ Music following the album’s release. So if you’re looking for music that is ideal listening no matter what your tastes, and which carries with it an echo of Second Life – why not have a listen?
While it has yet to open to the public once more, The Babel presents a musical construct of boxes, elements and levels. Each box is a sound – an instrumental or vocal note or chord – which is played when touched. Some will play once when touched, others work on a toggle – they will play until touched again. These boxes are arranged in musical elements, with the lowermost boxes in an element representing bass notes or chords, and the boxes above containing percussion or melody elements. By touching the boxes in an element you can create various harmonies. It’s a place I last visited shortly before it was first retired from Second Life in (if I recall correctly) 2013; as such it is a place I’m looking forward to revisiting once it re-opens to the public.
In the meantime, the existing Chouchou regions remain open to visitors, and you can find out more about Chouchou’s music and all of their albums on their website.