Music visualizers seem like something from the past – the glory days of Winamp lit up our screens but our modern media players like iTunes or Spotify don’t give us an option for a crazy lightshow or some Matrix-inspired text falling down to the beat. This is not only a serious problem in our personal lives but there’s an industry need as well. DJs and bar owners want to keep us rocking and entertained, and a good visualizer adds something to the party.
Finnish startup APEXvj wants to “supercharge music visualization” with their newly refreshed solution that now takes advantage of WebGL. To do so they’ve announced a NOK 200,000 goal (€23,500) on Kickstarter that will help them release APEXvj TURBO to help DJs and individuals better tailor the experience with custom branding and 3D models with a desktop program. The full Turbo experience is set to be released in June of 2015.
That’s not to say you can’t take advantage of some music visualizations already – APEXvj can be found on your iOS or Android phone, and heading over to their website you’ll see that it’s possible to pull whatever music you want from sources like Soundcloud to see it in the browser. Because their visualizations are all done on the fly, bands and DJs can take advantage of microphone-based sources as well which looks really interesting in their Kickstarter video, found below.
Music visualizations have come a long way since your 2003 install of Winamp. Their stretch goals include Oculus Rift support for what has to be a crazy experience, and founder Simo Santavirta is digging into an interactive experience.
“According to several studies, when we listen to music our brain is wired into an anticipation-reward mode. It’s sort of like humming a song and waiting for specific sound patterns to emerge. When they do, or even better, when an unexpected pattern surprises you in a positive way, your body rewards you by producing dopamine.
The sound analyzing algorithm of APEXvj finds these rewarding moments in a song and strengthens the dopamine producing effect of music by adding a visually stimulating component to the mix at the right moment.”
An interesting side note is that APEXvj was one of the first pilot customers to use Fuse from Outracks Technologies, a Norwegian-based comapany that just raised €2.59 million and produces cross-platform content creation tools with a focus on good visuals. To do so, they’ve created their own programming language, called UNO, and APEXvj looks like a good test case of the technology.
If your computer’s graphics card is up for WebGL (my 2011 Macbook Air was not bullish on the technology) head over to the APEXvj site to see some visualizations from any track on Soundcloud. More info can also be found on their Kickstarter page.