Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Voices That Matter

  • Print
  • + Share This
From the author of

Moby: Body Rock

Moby's Body Rock mix machine at broadcast.com has a few more technological requirements than Supermodifier. It won't let me use Internet Explorer on my Mac—only Netscape (PC requirements probably vary). You need the Beatnik plug-in, and I think there are even a few extra proprietary Shockwave plug-ins to install. The good news is, the site analyzes your system, figures out what you need, and then talks you through the download process. It's a no-brainer; it just takes some time.

Once you've downloaded your plug-ins, there are several remixes from which to choose, ranging from David Bowie's Fame to Thomas Dolby's She Blinded Me with Science. But the grand daddy of them all is Moby's Body Rock.

Unlike Amon Tobin's site, the Body Rock loops are synched up. This means that you have less control, but you are also less likely to make a noisy mess. The Body Rock interface has a left channel and a right channel. The same seven loops are available for each channel. Each loop has two variations. So, there are really 14 discrete loops in all. In the middle of the board is a fader, and that's the cool part. You can get a bunch of loops playing in the left channel, push the fader hard left, and then set up your loops silently in the right channel. Then when you're ready to switch over, you throw the fader hard right and your new mix seamlessly kicks in. At this point, words fail to describe all the possible combinations that such a setup allows. Add a special bounce button that pings your mix setups instantly from side to side, and you've got yourself one great big-time sinkhole. Forget Solitaire on your lunch break. Just remix Moby.

If all this seems confusing, you can hear/view a demo constructed by Moby himself. As you watch the mix machine react to Moby's choices, you begin to see what's possible. To make things even more interesting, you can record your own remix, play it back, and email it to a friend so she can be blown away by your funky genius. How cool is that? If the song itself were lame, it might not be so cool. Fortunately, in addition to all the wacky interactive mayhem we're licensed to unleash, Body Rock is a massive techno-funk rocker. One of the rap loops says it best: "We rock the body, rock the body, come on, get down with me, gonna make you freak."

Personally, I do not even touch the synth or piano loops. The funk bass, conga, and fuzz guitar alone are plenty mighty. Again, the live performance vibe is in full effect, particularly because each mix is being recorded. The first time I discovered this site, I must have done 30 takes before I got "the perfect mix." I was so proud of my creation. Of course, the fact that I created neither the audio loops nor the technology that allowed my mix hardly seemed to matter. The song was mine—mine, I tell you! I was not a visitor, a surfer, a concert-goer, a fan, or a listener. I was a CREATOR! (Or, at least, a co-creator.) Such empowerment is heady stuff for a 30-minute lunch break.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account