iPhone musicians tinkle the touch screen

Posted by Hitarth Jani | 12:33 PM | 0 comments »


iBand ... Seb, left, on drums, Marina, centre, the vocalist and pianist and Roger, right, on guitar and bass.

A trio of tabletop musicians have turned their gadget lust into an art form, using two iPhones and an iPod Touch to form the "iBand".

The three art students from Vienna in Austria have eschewed roadies and regular instruments in favour of custom music applications loaded on to the touch-screen gizmos from Apple.

Seb, 24, is the drummer, Roger, 25, is on bass and guitar while Marina, 26, is the vocalist and pianist. They declined to give their surnames for privacy reasons.

The iBand's first video, uploaded to YouTube two weeks ago as a demonstration of what could be done with new music applications, jumped from 20,000 to 300,000 views within the first three days.

After spreading virally across the internet and being linked to on various gadget blogs, the clip now has just over two million views.

The band's first real song, Life is greater than the internet, appeared on YouTube six days ago and has attracted over 60,000 views so far.

"Of all possible things you can do with a mobile phone, what could be more meaningful than to create music," Seb said in an email interview.

"We have been thinking about forming a band that would only use iPhones as musical instruments for a long time now, since the possibilities of the iPhone as a programmable, customisable platform became obvious with the first wave of third-party applications."

The custom music applications, which are unauthorised by Apple but can be used after performing a simple software hack, are called MooCowMusic Pianist, MooCowMusic Drummer and PocketGuitar.

Buttons displayed on the touch screens correspond to different sounds, allowing the band to emulate a range of real musical instruments. All three band members play conventional instruments but decided to form the iBand to "create a new type of sound".

"To use the iPhone as a musical instrument isn't about getting a technically perfect song together," said Seb.

"It has very innovative input methods, but we could also use any sort of synthesizer and full band equipment; with today's technology there are no limitations."

To create their music, the iBand connects the iPhones and iPod Touch to a mixing table, which is in turn connected to a regular stereo hifi system so the trio can hear what they're playing. Everything is recorded and mixed live, except for vocals which are added afterwards.

The band plans to continue churning out tracks but Seb insists they are more than just gadget freaks having fun. He said the iBand's first song seeks to express the message that real life is just as important as virtual life.

The track is available as a free download from the iBand website and the band is asking those who like it to donate through PayPal.

"It seems that many people are sucked into the black hole of the web too deeply, losing their idea of what life can really be," Seb said.

"We think that although the internet comprises the possibility to lose oneself within it, the technical developments of our world can also be used to realise the potential of oneself and the life that is given to every one of us; to realise that there is something higher to be sought and found in life."

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