Israeli funk musician and producer Kutiman, creator of the famed Thru-You, is back with an encore. Once again, he’s mixing the best performances of YouTube into a single video. Calling it a “mash-up” is perhaps unfair: this is really mix and remix. It’s no different than laying down multiple tracks in a studio, except that the players were working independently in different parts of the world. “My Favorite Color” is a jazzy, soulful number, particularly carried by those incredible vocals on the original song “Green.” The rest is really arrangement, and it works pretty darned-near perfectly. (An occasional ragged rhythmic edge seems only fitting to the form.)
This raises a question. I don’t think anyone would question that the ability to work musically in the same room, to pick up on physical gestures, eye contact, and inhabit the same space together is the ideal for collaboration. But there’s no reason that shouldn’t stop musical expression from taking place in less-than-ideal circumstances, too. You could think of it less as a poor substitute for playing together in a room, and more an improvement upon lonely solo production, a chance to add collaborative musical experiences to, say, time late at night after a long day of work. It could the ability to share something with someone who would otherwise be separated by geography – as imperfect as a letter from a pen-pal, but also as intimate.
As the above video hits my inbox this week, so, too, does a new video from the creators of Ohm Studio. Among other ambitions, they hope their software production workstation, now in progress, will be Internet-connected and collaborative. In its execution, it represents nearly the opposite of the YouTube video above: whereas a tool for simple YouTube sharing is mixed together by hand, an accidental session, this software is engineered with intricate connections of workflow. On the other hand, they both represent the same idea: cloud-connected creation, across geography, between human beings.
Software workstations have traditionally not only emulated studio hardware, but assumed one person in front of one computer working in isolation. So part of what the Ohm crew have to do is to answer how one piece of software can be used by more than one person across the Internet. They make an effort to do that in this video; it’s best to watch. (Thanks to Cid Andrade from Ohm for sending this our way.)
Ok, the Ohm Studio brings real-time music collaboration. But when two people are working together in the same project, how exactly does it look like?”
We’ve just put online a sneak peek of it, a video capture of two people starting a track from scratch. We see both screens, listen to both audios, and understand how artists will be able to compose/produce as if they were together.
I still think there’s value in solo creation, but that doesn’t have to exclude collaboration. I’m curious – YouTube upload or sophisticated DAW, does any of this look practical to you? How have you collaborated online, if at all? (Or is it back to a rehearsal room or studio to work face-to-face?)