Recently, more artists have begun using applications in innovative ways that enables them to add features and additional depth to their songs. By using modern technology that is readily available to many of us with devices such as tablets and smartphones, it allows the artists to explore undiscovered territories that makes the listener’s experience a more personal, unique, and interactive one. Most notably was Björk’s Biophilia which was the “first app album” ever where each song had its own application that provided interactive material pertinent to the song’s title or inspiration. Now being added to this expanding roster is the Uruguayan Academy Award-winning singer-songwriter, Jorge Drexler. Music geeks and nerdy music lovers will rejoice!
Drexler recently teamed up with Samsung to release an application called n. The app is named “n” since in mathematics, it is the symbol for a series of natural numbers that can offer multiple solutions to an equation, and that was partly Drexler’s inspiration for this app. The app features three compositions that were specifically written for this interactive project that Drexler refers to as “aplicanciones” (application + songs).
The first song in the app is referred to as n1 and it is titled “Habitación 316.” One of the interactive features of this song is that the user controls 24 different verses as they emerge from a circle at the top of the screen. As they do, the user can spin the lyrics around giving them full control of what Drexler sings next. The other feature of the song is that the user can toggle between a full band version of the song and an acoustic version by pressing on the circle where the lyrics are coming from. Drexler has stated that the number of possible combinations for this song are 1,027. Once the songs are over, the user has the option of sharing his or her version on social media sites, saving it to the smartphone or tablet, or doing it all over again. n1 is the only song where Drexler sings in either Spanish or English based on the user’s language selection.
The second song n2 is called “Madera de Deriva.” Drexler recorded it with the Basque Symphony (Euskadiko Orkestra Sinfonikoa), a Basque choir (Kup Taldea) and a Stradivarius (a violin or cello built during the 17-18th century). One of the interactive features of this song is that the user unlocks instruments based on his or her current location when using the app. In the start, the user only has Drexler’s voice and one instrument. The other part of the interactive feature is that the user in essence becomes the orchestra leader where he or she then chooses from the unlocked instruments how long the song plays for and when the instruments come in during the track.
As for the third track n3, titled “Décima a la décima,” it’s orchestrated as a décima, which is a ten-line stanza of poetry or lyrics. The interactive feature here is that the user can click on a different triangle (see image below) picking from 10 different singers to sing this song. These 10 singers to choose from include Spanish singer Xoel López (Deluxe), Brazilian singer Vitor Ramil, Calle 13’s René Peréz (Residente), Uruguayan singer Fernando Cabrera, Uruguayan singer Martin Buscaglia, Jorge Drexler, Argentinian-American singer Kevin Johansen, Uruguayan singer Daniel Drexler (Jorge Drexler’s brother), Spanish singer Kiko Veneno, and Dominican singer Alex Ferreira.
This app is very cool, highly innovative and unlike anything I have seen before. It’s very nerdy on so many levels and that makes even more sense given that Drexler was a doctor before becoming a full time musician.
Jorge Drexler’s n app is available on his website and best of all it is completely free!
Kudos to Drexler for forging new ground and doing it so well.
The n app is available for Samsung tablets/phones, Google Play and for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch