RjDj is an iOS app that takes the sounds around you, transforms them, and then plays them back to you. The process is referred to as “reactive,” because the transformations occur in real time — i.e., they react to your (sonic) environment, as well as, in some cases, to more common iPod/iPhone/iPad techniques like touching the screen and moving the device.
RjDj is an app, but to borrow a phrase, or two, from Walt Whitman — who taught us to sing the body electric — it contains multitudes, because RjDj contains within it a growing library of “scenes,” each of which reacts to the world in a different way. When you install RjDj on your iPhone, it comes with a few scenes. Then you explore the RjDj library and select new ones. And, if you get adventurous, you can design your own scenes.
The incredibly popular Inception app, released last week, is a descendant of RjDj — it’s essentially a bespoke edition of RjDj, tailored to the sounds and aesthetic of the brain-twisting summer flick; each “dream” in Inception is, essentially, what would be a “scene” in RjDj.
Given how many RjDj scenes there are out there, with more every day, I asked the crew that develops software — at the company Reality Jockey, based in London — to recommend their favorite RjDj scenes and Inception dreams:
Michael Breidenbrücker, CEO (twitter.com/byzo):
Favourite RjDj Scene: Dimensions (by Kids on DSP). Why?: There is a part in it where the microphone input drives the synth — I like that. More Info: rjdj.me. Favorite Inception Dream: Travelling Dream. Why?: Whatever you are traveling with becomes an instrument. The music is composed and designed for exactly that situation: travelling. There is so much to say about this piece of music you could write a book about it, but it just sounds simple and super, too, which is the reason why I won’t write a book about it. :-)
Favourite RjDj Scene: Eargasm (by Damian Stewart) Why?: Eargasm was the first RjDj scene I heard while beta-testing it as a user in 2008. It completely blew me away. I used to listen to it for hours at a time. The sensation Damian Stewart created, of reality musically glowing — almost revealing a secret inner beauty in everything — is really special and has certainly touched a lot of people. More Info: rjdj.me. Favorite Inception Dream: Sleep Dream Why?: I like a lot of the dreams we worked on for Inception for different reasons, but the Sleep Dream is especially fascinating because of the pervasive ways people are using it. Many people are actually going to sleep with this dream on and using it as a way to induce dreams. It’s very abstract sonically — reality is twisted into a vast intricate texture where time is reversed. It’s extremely surreal. Its also incorporates music from the movie in a very interesting way, stretching it out into huge granular soundscapes.
Martin Roth, CTO:
Favourite RjDj Scene: Echolon (by Günter Geiger) Why?: This is one of my favourite RjDj scenes, not because it is some technical tour-de-force or an artistic masterpiece, but because it is so simple and yet so addicting. Echolon is a bundled scene in the RjDj player and has become the most popular scene of all time. The basic effect is one that echoes your surroundings around you, pitching everything up and down. You hear different versions of the echo in your left and right ears. Sounds in your environment are pitched, giving the impression of a musical world. Possibly the greatest reason for the success of Echolon is that it provides a very striking effect, but that it is also relatively easy to understand. Everyone knows what an echo is, but few people seem to have had the opportunity to hear themselves or their surroundings echoed on demand. So here’s to you Echolon, the little echobox that could! More Info: rjdj.me.
Favourite RjDj Scene: Aware (by Florian Waldner) Why?: It’s very relaxing listening to it in the office. You get a nice spherical soundscape and you are connected to the “outside” to a very high degree. More Info: rjdj.me.
Dominik Hierner, iOS developer (twitter.com/k1n1m0d):
Favourite RjDj Scene: Replay Atlantis (by Kids on DSP ft Kirsty Hawkshaw) Why?: Atlantis throws you into the deep sea and you feel surrounded by a nice bass, relaxing melody and mermaids. This scene was like the first scene that really puts you into a complete new world. Replay Atlantis has kind of a story within it; it is an adventure, an experience rather than “just music.” And it also sounds great when the real world around you does not give the music something to react on. More Info: rjdj.me.
Joe White, Reactive Music Producer:
Favourite RjDj Scene: Seduction Part III (by Shuga) Why?: I like the idea of actively performing with someone else’s music as you listen to it. Seduction Part III has this cool r&b groove where you can add cheeky drum fills, synth lines and whooshes. It’s great to learn the interaction of the synth; after a while, you can create own your expressive melodies. More Info: rjdj.me.
Florian Stege, Intern:
Favourite RjDj Scene: Nothing on We (by Chiddy Bang) Why?: I like the groove of this hip-hop track and the way you can manipulate the beat and play with the instruments. I also like the variety of the different parts of the track. It gives you the opportunity to create a really nice, perfect individualized backing track for your vocals. More Info: rjdj.me.