For the open-minded, non-topical internet user...

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Making Music - The Fun Way

It's Tuesday evening already and while failing go concentrate on my work duties, I though of a fun topic to present to you - making music.



WAIT ! - Hold on... Don't hurry to leave the page because: "This is not for me, I'm not a musician..."
Well, guess what ? Neither am I..



TL;DR Backstory time!


I wanted to be a drummer as a growing teenager. Me and all my friends were into rock music, and naturally, everybody wanted to be a musician, so most of us tried. I figured early the guitar is not for me, so I tried drums.

Initially, I started on my mother's pots and pans (and you'd be amazed how good they can be, actually), but in time I wanted my own drum set, my own drum teacher and my own drum studio...
I got none of those.. Lessons and equipment, the whole story costs thousands of pounds, and my parents already knew me as a "quick to get in to, quick to get out of" kind of person (which is mostly true), so the investment didn't fit.

The pots and pans show continued for an year, until my summer job paid enough for me to get the next best thing after drums - a set of bongos. I was already into African vibes, so it only made sense. I can say it was one of the best decisions of my life, and to this day (5 years later) I still jam.

Naturally, with no teacher or lessons, I can't play like a regular percussionist. That is to say, I don't know any notes, nor the names of the rhythms - I just hit them with my arms and music came out. In time I got relatively good - that is to say, people didn't mind me playing around them (most of the time) :D.

So, what does it have to do with you ?  Well, didn't you ever wonder if there is no easy and fun way to make music, WITHOUT being an actual musician or knowing complex music producing software.

As you might know, almost everything you can think of (and has a practical application) already exist.

So, here are a few fun tools and apps for you to enjoy wasting your time with (I know I did).

Incredibox


This is a sweet drag and drop music maker. Equip the dude with some style and let him do his thing. The pre-set beats, effects, melodies and voices are carefully picked, so you can't really make a bad thing. It's just whether you can pick the best combo and get that vibe in your head to your speakers.

I made my Tuesday tune in under 3 minutes. Listen to Audrey's music.  But there are guys that seriously invested and created legit songs that are much better than some "professional" productions, all with this drag and drop editor. Check out Over Head Projecter by April and the Top 50 page - much better than the first imo.

And, of course, try the Incredibox - best time spent today.

Super Looper 


This is a test project by Univers Labs. The tool resembles more of an actual music making application than a game, but it's still really easy to use.

You have 7 channels available to you. Each of them is independent from the others, just like the Incredi-dudes, but you have a bit more control over the sound. When you turn on a channel, just tap the beat you like with your Q-P keys, or with the mouse (screen taps for mobile). When you're happy, click the channel again and your sound will loop forever.

The sounds you have available are pretty limited, but the application is just an experiment, at least for now.

There is good and bad about the app. Trying it on a PC, I can't help but feel it hard to control and hard to "catch the beat". However, use it on a tablet like the video below and you're left, essentially with a super responsive sampler - pretty good. Be sure to try it, however your case maybe.

Click for super loops!


Patatap


Patatap is pretty similar to what super-looper presents, only it's more of a sandbox app. You have no record or looping. You simply have wacky tunes and cool visualizations and you can play until there is no more time to lose.

I like Patatap, because it really provokes you to play with the sound and find new awesome combinations between audio and video. Really great experience there !

Check out this actual song, made with Patatap. Also, visit and play :)



Keezy


All these apps are great, but they miss one essential thing - freedom. They are really cool and fun, but at some point the pre-set sounds are going to get boring and..well..not fun anymore. 

This is where Keezy comes in the game. It's an application for iPhone (only ;| ) and it's pretty straightforward and easy to use - tap the button; create your sound; release; and tap to play it again and again. 

That's all you have to do, which renders your possibilities infinite. It's essentially an app that substitutes a few thousand dollars worth of microphones, audio processors and loopstations, and speaker - which you already have as hardware in your few thousand dollar iPhone. Brilliant ! 

 It's still in development for Android devices, but the developers offer to send you an email when it's ready and remind you of their great product. 

There is a desktop demo app, but it only has a couple of sounds in there, so there's no real point in trying it out. 

Still, iPhone users, you can get your Keezy from the appstore right now, and  for us Android folks - we'll have to wait a bit, until it gets ready. 

In the mean time, I leave you with famous beatboxer Reggie Watts and singer and musician Reni  Lane and their amazing Keezy performances. Also, check out Keezy at their website and support them if you enjoy their product. 

Have a great Tuesday and see you tomorrow for the Silent Wednesday post !