Ok, I have discovered a whole new way of experiencing everyday listening….still through my iPhone. Will the possibilities never end????? (Steve Jobs, pay me now, for free promo, or gimme cheezburgr, ktnx). After downloading this app called RjDj a while back, and wondering what the heck it does, something made me go back to it again and discover a whole new world of experiences. Initially, I only tried out the few simple interactive modules like Can of Beats and Scrambler. I have to admit, one thing that stopped me, or rather, made me lose interest at the time was, these were super quiet. Like suuuuuuper quiet. And there were only a few. I know I’ve updated it several times but I never checked back to see what was updated. And then recently I went back to discover a ton of new content, with the “scenes” separated by themes and modes of interactivity. Albeit still glitchy, probably due to the fact that most of this is user-generated content (using their great Pd-based software!!!) it contains a number of quite sophisticated, cool sound modules. The ability to record these scenes has been amazing for me. It’s like new style composition! One type of scenes called Soundtrips is especially interesting, relative to my research (I am thinkging of including it as an activity in the next two user sessions) – it contains modules specifically designed to interact with, sample and re-mix the environment around. Once again, I remember thinking about this a long time ago, trying these out at home, without headphones – “but it’s quiet here??!? I want to create music not wait for a sound to trigger something!!!”. So I thought, if I have to put on headphones at home, forget it, and if it’s so quiet, how would I hear it outside in all the noise of the city.
But now, I take this baby on the road and just listen to it go. Amazing! It was a big mental shift for me to put on the earbuds and go out. I often opt not to listen to music on the go becuase everthing is too loud and i just don’t want to ruin my hearing by turning it up too high. So the shift was precisely that – listening to a Soundtrip scene IS both like listening to music and listening to the outside environment at the same time, so the fact that they blend only adds to the experience. The whole point is ambient listening and the integration of the outside environment into that ambient listening experience. In other words, I am no longer trying to separate my inner and outer worlds, but combine them. Michael Bull could have a field day with this, but I found it first yesss!
I’ll likely blog about this a few more times, and for now here’s a little taste from my RjDj universe, a series I think I’m going to call “Commuter Music”: