Monday 5 December 2016

Niall Byrne: There's the wub

Niall Byrne

Published 14/10/2011 | 05:00

Sweet music: Jamie Lidell has been making music in bed using a Native Instrument app
Sweet music: Jamie Lidell has been making music in bed using a Native Instrument app

Dubstep. It's everywhere. Or at least its most recognisable feature is. Forget the sub-bass and dub rhythms that begat the genre in its birthplace of Croydon more than 10 years ago, today the 'wub-wub' wobble bass effect permeates the music of popular electro artists such as Skrillex and has been featured on releases from Britney Spears and Rihanna.

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The Dubstep wobbler effect is so dominant in the pop-culture conversation it's even been used in a Weetabix advert and Snoop Dogg has just released a free mixtape called Throw Your Dubs Up! (available at speakerboxworld.com/throwyourdubsup if you are so inclined).

If you're a musician and have yet to get on the zeitgeisty wagon of 'wub wub', all is not lost! A tongue-in-cheek music app is here to save your bacon. A quick visit to the.wubmachine.com and you can add some dub wobble or electro house to any song on your computer.

Its creator Peter Sobot spent 24 hours developing The Wub Machine at the latest Music Hack Day in Montreal (montreal.musichackday.org/2011). More than 20 other hacks were developed at the event.

They included some novel ones such as MP3 Steganography, which hides an MP3 inside another MP3 file; Cloudsound, a morning alarm clock which tells you by the song selected what the weather is like outside; The Echo NES, which uses Nintendo's graphics-emulation engine to display a visual representation of a song; and FaceQuencer, a camera-based sequencer and looper.

One genuinely useful application stands out -- The Beatbox Machine, which turns microphone beatboxing into real drum beats. It's not hard to imagine it being used by Jamie Lidell, the English soul singer who is known for incorporating beatboxing and looping technology into his performances.

As it happens, Lidell has been busy lying in bed making music. Head over to YouTube (bit.ly/lidellapp) where you can see a pyjama-wearing Jamie using Native Instruments' iMaschine iOs app to create a version of A Little Bit More from his 2005 album Multiply. Lidell uses iMaschine's MPC-sampler style interface, audio recorder, keyboard, drum kits and effects to make a one-take, one-off live version of the song. The app is available for €3.99 from bit.ly/imaschine.

Elsewhere, for those of us who need a bit more music to discover, Google Chrome extension EX.FM, which previously added music from the web to playlists in your browser for you to play at a later date, has added a rake of new features to its service.

Now no longer a one-browser-only extension, EX.FM works as a web app (with an iPhone version too) that enables music discovery through its new sections of trending songs, album of the week, monthly mixtapes, genres and tastemaker sections, meaning you'll no longer have to know a handful of music blogs to start unearthing some new gems.

Now, where's that 'wub wub' section?

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