Ninja Jamm is a new iOS app from record label Ninja Tune. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.
Ninja Jamm is a music-remixing app that allows its users to take a selection of Ninja Tune tracks and albums and play around with them to create their own custom mixes. These mixes can then be uploaded to Soundcloud to be shared with the world — and in the meantime, Ninja Tune and its artists are getting some extra promotion from fans.
Ninja Jamm is a fairly complicated application, so it opens with a straightforward, clear tutorial walking users through all elements of the interface. Essentially, remixing a track involves triggering various loops and different times and then applying various effects over the top. This is achieved in a variety of different ways.
The most basic means of remixing a tune allows the user to turn various tracks (such as drums, bass, synth and other parts) on and off at will, and trigger one of eight different loops for each track in real time. In this manner, the user can rearrange an entire track very quickly and easily, and even record their custom mix if they want to.
Tapping a button on each track allows the user to see the waveform for the current loop. From here, tapping and holding on one of the beats allows the user to loop it, or tapping and holding with two fingers allows for longer temporary loops to be constructed — releasing your fingers returns the sample to playing normally.
A selection of buttons across the bottom of the screen allow access to other features. The first allows the user to trigger various sound effects using drum machine-style pads and tweak the sounds using a slider. The second allows effects such as bitcrushing, echo, delay and reverb to be applied to each track. The third is a multitouch effects processor that allows effects to be gradually changed in real-time either using two fingers or, optionally, the gyroscope of the iOS device. The fourth includes a number of buttons that allow for the automatic creation of fills, patterns, loops and reversed sections. Users can also add “glitch” effects by shaking their device at any time during playback.
It’s very easy to produce something that sounds convincing using Ninja Jamm because the source material is so good. The basic free download includes Coldcut’s Beats and Pieces 3 for free, while additional music packs are available for in-app purchase for between $0.99 and $2.99 each. Finished mixes can be recorded and easily shared via Soundcloud, and subsequently as a link on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr — though due to the fact that the music Ninja Jamm creates contains copyrighted material, it is not permitted to enable downloads on the Soundcloud exports. The app is up-front about this restriction and the reasons for it, and provides full terms and conditions for users to browse on its website.
Despite this restriction, which may disappoint some users, Ninja Jamm is an excellent app for playing with music, and a great way for those interested in various forms of electronic entertainment to get started in remixing. There’s enough depth in the application to keep even experienced remixers happy for a while, yet it’s intuitive enough to navigate — once you remember what all the icons mean, anyway — for beginners to feel comfortable with jumping straight into. It’s a great use of iOS as both a creative and a promotional platform, and deserves to enjoy some success.
You can follow Ninja Jamm’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.