Remember the intriguing story of the Google Maps co-creator who quit his plush job at Facebook to launch a music app?
The product of his labour has arrived… and it’s rather ambitious.
Lars Rasmussen (he of Google Maps fame, and also the developer of Facebook at Work) and his business partner at UK-based startup Cute Little Apps, Elomida Visviki, have launched Weav.
The aim of Weav isn’t merely to find its place in a heavily populated world of music-related digital platforms: it’s to entirely change the way musicians create (and audiences listen to) music.
The premise is simple enough: when a track is sped up or slowed down by a listener at home today, it inevitably becomes distorted.
By decreasing or increasing the BPM, the song’s original form becomes warped – not least when the voice of usually crystal-clear singers starts sounding scarily low or helium-high.
As such, the idea of an ‘interactive’ track, one which permits listeners to freely play with tempo, is impossible without ruining the artist’s original intentions.
Cute Little Apps thinks it has a solution: asking musicians to record different elements (stems) of a song suitable to be played at different speeds, leaving the listener able to move the BPM up and down while receiving an audio blend that is always pleasing to the ear.
Lars Rasmussen, cute little apps
As the company puts it, this “allows musicians to create tracks that can be played back at any speed… and still sound awesome”.
Cute Little Apps have developed Logic-like studio mixing software – that’s Weav (pictured) – which simply allows creators to set different drums, vocals etc. at different BPM trigger points in a song.
On the user-facing side, the company has birthed a digital player which it says can be embedded in any third party app. And it’s here things get really interesting: Rasmussen is excited by the possibility, for instance, of a fitness or exercise app that constantly responds to your body’s heartbeat with an appropriate song tempo.
“This is an exciting opportunity for musicians and listeners to experience music in a new way,” said Visviki, an entrepreneur with experience in banking, advertising, consultancy and NGOs.
“We can’t wait to hear what musicians will create with this new software.”
To demonstrate the new format, Cute Little Apps has released tracks from Dean Gillard + Matt Ward, Ryon Lawford, PHiLyesPHiL and Konstantinos.
The company hopes other musicians will create their own tracks with the new software during its beta phase.
“This is the music format for the mobile generation,” said Rasmussen. “We do more and more things with an app helping us – this is the first time that music can also adapt in real time to what we are doing.”
He added: “There have been attempts at interactive music before but the availability of powerful, sensor-rich mobile devices means that the time is right for this kind of technology.
“Our format is focused on keeping creative control with the artist and delivering the music in contexts where the mobile device can sense your activity and adapt the playback accordingly.”