As I sit writing this, there is loud and fairly distracting music (noise?) emanating from my iPhone. It’s frenetic and electronic and not entirely pleasant sounding. But yes, it is funky.
I scroll one screen to the right, then press play again. This time, the music consists of a repetitive bass line and some incessant background drumming that’s making me nervous. Again, it’s undeniably funky.
This is The Boombox App, a new app created especially for D.C.’s quickly-approaching Funk Parade. D.C.-based composer and sound artist Alex Braden teamed up with some volunteer developers and designers from Deloitte Digital, and Boombox is the product of their labors.
The inspiration for Boombox harkens back to last year’s parade and a reflection from parade cofounder Chris Naoum. “While the festival was amazing I felt that there were large portions of the parade that did not have enough music,” Naoum said. “Maybe this was because not everyone can play an instrument.”
But what if everyone can play an instrument? The Boombox App is that accessible, equal-opportunity instrument. It’s goal is to enable the crowd to be “part of the creative fabric of the parade.”
— Deloitte Digital US (@DeloitteDIGI_US) May 1, 2016
The app works like this — open it up and you can scroll through eight different “boomboxes,” each consisting of one piece of a special composition by Braden. This is why the individual tracks sounded strange to me (see above), they’re meant to be played together. Each boombox features a unique design by the developers at Deloitte Digital, and (pro tip) you’ve got to take your phone off vibrate to hear the music.
“When users are nearby, the music syncs up using bluetooth to create unique, funky beats,” a press statement announces. “A pair of users can cycle through the eight combinations of instruments, ‘remixing’ the composition as they like; and eight or more users could collaborate to enjoy the entire mix of instruments and funk.”
Corey Speisman, one of the Deloitte Digital developers who worked on the app, offered a correction to the information above — Boombox doesn’t use bluetooth to sync, he told Technical.ly. Instead it uses Apple’s Network Time Protocol Server. As is probably obvious at this point, the app is for iOS only.
“Engaging attendees in the day’s experiences has always been central to the event,” Justin Rood, Funk Parade cofounder said. “This isn’t a spectacle to watch, it’s a celebration to join.”
The Boombox App will make joining in easy, fun, raucous and funky. Headed to the parade on Saturday? You know what to do.-30-
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