Reality Jockey RjDj Album
Ambient music gets new material.
- Familiar interface, innovative, huge potential for different uses
- Album version doesn't provide much more than the Single edition, no easy way to share user-created data
RjDj Album combines pre-recorded songs with sounds in the user's environment to create unusual tracks. As can be expected, there is potential for calamity, but if users can tap the application's potential, the results can be well worth it.
Price$ 3.99 (AUD)
Unlike iDrum: Ministry of Sound Anthems Edition, RjDj Album won't help you create new tracks for the dance floor and unlike Shazam, it won't identify that Wham! song. However, it does offer an innovative approach to music creation.
RjDj Album makes use of the user's surrounding environment to alter pre-recorded music. Through processes including sound modulation, reverberation and pitch shifting, RjDj can use environmental audio to add a new dimension to tracks. The result isn't always enjoyable to listen to, but the process is involving and definitely fun.
The interface is simple and anyone who has used the iPhone or iPod touch for more than five minutes will be familiar with it. Resembling the iPod interface on both devices, RjDj has four separate views: Scenes, Artists, Recordings and Info (which is an About screen for the application). Users choose "scenes" through either the Scenes or Artists screen, after which they are taken to an album view which plays the song in question and displays associated artwork.
Employing the integrated microphone in the iPhone or, in the case of the iPod touch (2nd generation) Apple's headset microphone, the application uses external sound to alter a song.
Each "scene" will treat sound input differently: some reverberate and loop the input, while others use the input volume as a measure of how complex and loud the song itself should be. Our favourite, though, is the use of sound modulation and reverberation, as found in scenes like "Eargasm", which translates sound input into keyboard sounds combined with reverberated ambient sound. The results aren't always easy to listen to — as extended use of scenes like "Loopinger" too easily demonstrates — but they are an interesting exploration of on-the-fly environmental sound manipulation.
Though the Café del Mar-esque songs available on RjDj Album are a decent source of entertainment for a length of time, we have to call the application's pricing into question. The Album version is the same as the Single version apart than the number of songs: six as opposed to five on RjDj Single. While paying $3.99 means users have access to more songs as they are released in the future, for now there seems little point.
RjDj Album's success, like similar iPhone apps, relies on interaction from members of the user community and their ability to add to the repertoire of available scenes. It is unlikely the average user would be able to create RjDj "patches" easily, however. There is no way to download extra songs from the application, unlike Tap Tap Revenge. The application is restricted to a small number of songs, and users are forced to update the application itself when a song is added by Reality Jockey.
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