From the commentary on historical music software interfaces prompted by the colored bars of the Music Animation Machine, you won’t want to miss this:
There are some real gems in there, primarily from software innovator Electronic Arts (now the leading game maker). And if you happen to have a IIGS lying around, there are downloads of many of these abandoned applications. In fact, an Apple IIGS is a very capable computer, which makes me wonder if, instead of designing new $100 computers “for the developing world” what we should really do is try to save these old machines from becoming toxic pollution in landfills.
Also worth noting:
These are apps with one developer: There was a time when you ran a piece of software that had been written by one solitary dude or dudette.
Fresh interfaces: It’s funny, unburdened by the history of interfaces early music developers were often more creative with how their apps worked. It’s a spirit we could stand getting back again (the original launch of Ableton Live 1.0 a few years ago being a notable exception).
Funky covers: Uh, yes, this was the late 80s.
Except for the funky covers, these are all trends that could come full circle. With powerful new versions of software like Reaktor, Max/MSP, SynthEdit, and others, Flash-enabled mobile devices, homebrewed games, the single, idiosyncratic music app developed by one person is making a genuine comeback. Heck, maybe I’ll even try to incorporate the funky picture of the guy with his QWERTY in my next Reaktor app, and then we’ll come full circle on all three.