Sunday, January 7, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Special To The Seattle Times

Web site review XXX iMusic

iMusic (get it?) is one of a growing number of cool sites conceived by the newest breed of alternative techies. A team of former Starwave employees who helped design CD-ROMs by Sting and Peter Gabriel were taken under Compuserve's wing to create this latest experience in hipper-than-thou.

"Culture for generation XXXTC" sums up iMusic's content with ingenious, truly interactive graphics-intensive pages (hence, sometimes slow) that touch on everything from hard issues to serious fluff. Among them is "Salon Betty," an electronic paper doll rocker girl that you dress with a series of clicks according to fashion or fetish. More substantial is "Front Burner," a gateway to issues for young, Net-savvy thinkers. One week the area had a link to the "Stormfront" white supremacy site. The iMusic folks rightly provided it as a way of pointing out that ignorance about such ugly ideas often can be more dangerous than the ideas themselves. Other "Back Burner" links take you to information, activism and protest pages about Internet censorship.

Another wacky feature is "The Surreal World," an ongoing story about virtual twentysomethings who would never have made it on MTV's "Real World." Characters such as Spike Venus, Betty X, Sister Sextra and Aphrodite Jones send in reports on their clubland and cyberland shenanigans at places like the Capitol Hill nightspot, Moe's.

iMusic also is linked with Moe's through the promise of live audio feed from selected shows there. The first offering was New Years Eve's mega-event featuring red-hot Seattle acts The Presidents of the United States of America, The Posies and Super Deluxe. Unfortunately, the music was only available during the concert, not for later download. A "Top 10" area provides lots of links to cool corporate rock pages like David Bowie's "Outside," the Rolling Stones' "Stones World" and Soundgarden's "Surfing the Superunknown." Overall, the site is slick, fresh and exciting, though curiously lacking in much audio content. But maybe that's why they call it iMusic. - Ted Fry Special to The Seattle Times

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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