Pitchfork’s The Wanderer

Pitchfork does pretty great multimedia pieces on artists and other musical topics (they did one on the developments of streaming music). Their latest piece covers Panda Bear (Noah Benjamin Lennox), an experimental musician who also co-founded Animal Collective.

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Autoplay always irks me – I really dislike when sound starts coming out of my computer when I’m not expecting it. So, off the bat, that’s something I really like about this piece. There’s a gif of sorts as the background, so you have movement, but there’s no sound. The reader has the capability to listen to a few of Panda Bear’s songs as they read the article, but it’s not something that automatically starts playing. You can begin the music by clicking the play button in the top left corner, and the squiggle menu reveals the tracks.

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The pattern is pretty simple – you scroll as you read, with each section transitionally dissolving into the next with various pull quotes and gifs of Panda Bear.

I quite like the way the piece transitions and builds throughout. The chosen gifs correspond with what is being said in the article (like when they discuss Panda Bear’s skill of juggling).

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.24.50 AMI like how each “part” of the feature is broken up with a full-screen picture and the text visually indicates a new section.

If you adjust your browser window (I’m using Chrome), the story morphs to the new size of the window.

My favorite part of the feature, however, is the design connection between the beginning of the piece and the end. It begins with Panda Bear walking on the beach away from the reader with his back turned, and ends with him walking towards the reader. It’s not very complex or revolutionary, but I like how the ending visually parallels the beginning.

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From the cover story page, you have the option to read the feature in a dynamic or standard format. The piece was published on January 5, 2015 and was written by Philip Sherburne.

–Shelby Mann




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