Me, the great DJ


The past few weeks I have looking at DJ stuff. Since the reduction in cost of Traktor and the release of the new F1 controller, I have felt very tempted…

I cannot see those knobs and shiny colors, because I start drooling…

I think I should become a DJ… but I have mixed feelings.

I come from a place in which we believe that music is made with musical instruments… guitars, drums and maybe a keyboard. The only machines that you’re allowed to use are amplifiers and distortion pedals. But the DJ stuff has a very bad reputation.

The main reason is that any guy that is able of fading one song into another calls himself a DJ. The world is full of “song gluers”…

Is hard to quantify if these song gluers have musical talent or not.  I the past it was a challenge to combine two songs: matching the tempo, matching the pitch and effectively using  parts of different song in order to create new melody. But the guys of Native Instruments and many others have made great job simplifying the DJ workflow; anyone can mix. However, the fact simplifying the things, in the reality it makes them more complex.

Traktor is not anymore a software that only allows you fading songs. It is now a real time sequencer, an instrument that allows you to improvise and create full song from small pieces of audio.

In my opinion, the talent of a DJ lies on its capability of  creating. We just need to look at big artist like the Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk or the Prodigy.

The other predominant idea is that the talent of a DJ is the ability of connecting with the people… to make them dance and play the music that they want to listen.

In that case, I’m screwed…

One of my abilities is that I always play the music that the people does not want to listen.


My impressions about the iOS and music apps

Music, Synthesizers

During the past weeks my brain has been suffering a transformation due to the use of my new iPod (yes, I’m exaggerating).

The first thing that I did It was to configure my emails. And now easier than ever I can check all mi accounts in less than 20 seconds. Before I used to spent at least 7 minutes waiting for the laptop to start just to check my once my email. Now I check my email a few dozen times a day… I even read the spam…

Advantages and disadvantages… actually It was very cool that I didn’t had to carry my netbook during my last trip because I could check emails, maps, and touristic information in the iPod.

The frustration

Since I’m a developer there are many ideas that I have of possible apps that I could create. The bad thing is that I just can’t. First I don’t have a mac, therefore I cannot use the development tools 😦 … and even when I have a mac, I need to pay 100 bucks (a year) if I want to transfer my app to my iPod.

Until I get the money for that, I just can consume but not create.

My opinion on (a few) music apps

The first App that I downloaded was Rebirth (before Figure was out). I got it because Propellerheads makes Reason that is a great and easy to use program. I could say that using Rebirth in the iPod was a little bit disappointing. Since it was an a adaptation of the PC version, it was hard to use in a small touch screen.

Then I got iKaossilator from Korg

I really like this app. It is very easy to use and fun. Since it is like drawing, you can let your subconscious mind trace the music patterns.

I hope they upgrade the application by letting us add our own instruments… and a grid would be useful too.

The next application in  my list is Thumbjam.

This app sounds great and it is very easy to create expressive  parts. It has so many features that I haven’t explored all of them. Maybe the menus are not well designed but it is a great app. I specially like the sound of the acoustic instruments.

One of the apps that I use more often is iMaschine

This app has a very good balance among, features, sound and simplicity. Today this is my favorite (lets see how Figure evolves).

There are other apps that I like a lot, specially when using a MIDI input like iRig MIDI or Line6 MIDI Mobilizer. Animoo and Alchemy Mobile have very cool sounds and I specially like the way yo can manipulate the sound thanks to the touch screen. I use these apps more as instruments, but it would be great if I could assign the knobs of my MIDI controller to tweak parameters.

Amplitube is a nice app, the sound is good taking into consideration that it is using the iPod to simulate the effects, amp, cabinet and microphone. However it has one disadvantage for me… if I have my guitar I also have my POD HD300 that sounds by far better. I never travel carrying mi guitar, therefore I almost never use it.

 The full music studio in an iPod

There are very nice apps like Garageband, FL Studio Mobile, Nano Studio and Energy XT. These apps have very cool features, however, I think that the iPod/iPhone is too small and sometimes it feels slow for the task. I guess that in the new iPad these apps have more sense…

Maybe it just needs a little bit of help… things like the MPC Fly for the iPad seem very promising…

We just need to wait a few months to see the revolution.

Interview with Skanner creator


One of the things that obsessed me are the synthesizers… and I have been trying for a long time to build my own, but it is freaking expensive. One “cheap” option to get your synthesizer is by using a software version. I have tried:

at the end, I stayed with Reaktor. It may not be the cheapest, but It comes with many many examples, especially if you want to learn.

Recently, the guys from Native Instruments released Skanner, that is a synthesizer that makes really nice sounds… and the best thing it for free 🙂 you can get it HERE

If you want to know more about it, there is this interview with Stephan Schmitt, the creator or Reaktor and Skanner. You can read the interview HERE.