If one company has benefited from the emergence of apps and the app economy more than any other it is Apple. It delivers the hardware, everyone else delivers the software. And Apple takes a cut of the revenue. But when the combination of device and apps makes things as awesome as this possible, very few people would have the heart to complain.
What follows are my Top 10 (purely arbitrary) songs played on iDevices. If you and your friends own iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches then there is no reason why you can’t follow suit and become the next big iBand. Where possible I have identified the iOS apps featured in the videos so a quick search of the App Store will be all that’s needed. Otherwise a good starting point is this short list of free music apps.
iBand – ‘Life Is Greater Than The Internet’
This is iBand performing Life Is Greater Than The Internet on two iPhones and an iPod Touch. This was uploaded to YouTube way back at the start of 2008, making this one of the first examples of an iBand in action. I love the simplicity of the song and, even more so, the video. The official website of iBand suggests the apps are those made by MooCowMusic.
The Mentalists – ‘Kids’
Another early example of a band comprising just of iPhone and iPod Touch app musicians. This is The Mentalists, a British all-girl iBand which in this video covers Kids by MGMT. And a fine job they make of it too. The four apps used are Ocarina, DigiDrummer Lite, Retro Synth, and miniSynth. This song is perfect to cover on iDevices. In fact, it’s hard to tell the difference between this and the original.
iPad/iPhone Music Studio Jam
Proving you don’t need lots of friends to create iMusic, this is Aaron Laszlo performing an original arrangement on a combination of his iPad 2 and iPhone. I don’t know about you but I can imagine this music working well as a backing track or even on a commercial. This primarily uses SoundPrism, with Bebot making a cameo, and the drums added afterwards.
iBand – ‘I Gotta Feeling’
Whatever you think of the Black Eyed Peas, and I’m kinda indifferent to them personally, this cover of I Gotta Feeling is pretty damn good. Although perhaps losing the female singer would be a good idea. Any singer would be better than a bad singer. Apps used in this performance include iGog, Pocket Organ, and ThumbJam.
Apple Girls Band Performance
Cute Asian girls playing the theme from Super Mario Brothers… what more could you possibly want. This video does demonstrate one of the problems with iBands though: the lack of movement during performances. They’re hardly dynamic, are they. Still, cuteness and Mario combined makes up for this to a certain degree.
The Ghost Of Steve – ‘What I’ve Done’
Perhaps more than any other video on this list, this shows what can be achieved by a few friends with iDevices sitting around the kitchen table. What we get is a near-perfect cover of What I’ve Done by Linkin Park. Which is no mean feat. Apps used in this performance include GarageBand, iShred, and Real Piano HD.
One Man iPad Band – ‘Street Spirit’
Take one man with an iPad loaded with two apps (GarageBand and ThumbJam), add in a green screen, a little creativity and video production, and a classic song from Radiohead. Cook for a few hours, and before long you’ll have this delicious dish served up on a platter. My favorite cover on this list by far.
North Point iBand – ‘Feliz Navidad’
The North Point iBand has made something of a name for itself over the last couple of years thanks to its awesome performances using iDevices and nothing but iDevices. This is a cover of Feliz Navidad, and it works extremely well with Bebot on vocals. Unlike the previous video there are around a dozen of these guys, but it’s no less impressive.
Lang Lang – ‘Flight Of The Bumblebee’
Lang Lang is a Chinese concert pianist known the world over. One of his aims is to get children interested in classical music, and what better way to accomplish that than by pulling out an iPad mid-concert and performing Flight Of The Bumblebee. Perhaps not as inspiring as his piano concertos, but still.
Jonathan Mann Duets With Siri
Something a little different to round off this list. Rather than performing on an iPhone, this video shows Jonathan Mann (he of Song A Day fame) recording a duet with Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant on the iPhone 4S. A little poetic license is taken to accomplish a strong duet between the two, but it’s still Siri showing she can sing.
This article is complimentary to a previous one which shows 10 more songs created using iDevices. Between them they show 20 examples of this new phenomenon, which is surely enough to inspire anyone thinking of forming an iBand. Choose an iDevice, download some free or paid apps, and get playing.
If you have seen any more videos of this nature which deserve a little promotion feel free to link to them in the comments section below. Do you think iBands are a good thing or would you rather people stuck to using real instruments rather than digital ones? The lessened learning curve has to be a positive, at the very least.
Image Credit: Richard Giles