Well, fine, Jamie Lidell. Now you go and ruin it for the rest of us. See, none of us playing with a Nintendo DSi will possibly look as good as you do.

I jest, of course. Jamie Lidell, the wildly-talented vocalist, picks up the new, online-savvy take of the Nintendo DS and breathes cool into it. This is what Sony ads tried to do, but Jamie does masterfully. And, okay, don’t expect the built-in sound app on the DSi to do as much as it appears to be doing here – there’s quite a lot of non-real-time, non-DSi remixing going on, even though what he does do with the simple app is genius.

Thanks to Liz Revision for finding this one.

This does bring us to a burning question: Nintendo and Sony, I’m looking at you. When will we be able to run eccentric and niche music creation apps as official software on your machine? Imagine NitroTracker on the DSi download store or PSPSEQ and PSPRhythm on the Sony Store.

It’s not lost on me, either, that I’ve complained about Apple’s App Store approval for iPhone and iPod touch as being vague and inconsistent with a few apps, while Nintendo and Sony and Microsoft’s Xbox only allow a few apps to ever see distribution. But now that the game makers have online distribution, I wonder if that could change. Movie multiplexes once promised that, amidst a few dozen screens, one would show Bollywood and experimental film. Perhaps these stores could have an “enter at your own risk” category for homebrew. Sony, after all, is desperate to recover sales lost on its PSP. And I have to admit, I think homebrew is, sadly, partly at fault. Homebrew developers and users painstakingly document hacking steps because it’s the only way to get their software on the device – only to have the same system abused by people who don’t want to pay for games.

Korg came out with its DS-10 app for the Nintendo handheld officially, and it was an enormous, runaway success, spawning YouTube virals and entire bands. Now, granted, the app had a major commercial publisher behind it (AQ Interactive), adding credibility – but distribution was limited by the physical cartridge, and the app itself didn’t shy away from Big Boy, niche soft synth controls.

8-bit musicians will likely never touch the DSi, preferring the vintage Game Boy. But a few hard-core gamers are also hard-core handheld musicians. Underground is great, and there’s a certain ethos around hacking. But access isn’t such a bad thing. If just one advocate at Sony or Nintendo would consider it, I think wonderful things could happen.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to see if it’s possible to get a DS homebrew music app running in an emulator on my Android.

  • I saw the video.. on my wii. I could tell that there was other stuff going on that couldn't have been done on the DSi.. and I say.. This is rife with deuchebaggery. This video is so irritating and about 5 minutes too long. Whoever Jamie Lidell is.. he's annoying. and the video makes me want to stay away from the DSi.

  • Actually, Jamie Lidell isn't annoying if you know him — and he's lived basically multiple lives, as a Max patcher, a (sometimes soul) vocalist, an IDM electronic musician, part of Super Collider (an entirely different-sounding band) … if you don't like *this* Jamie Lidell, you're bound to like *one* of them.

    But yes, a) this is fake, though b) it would be possible to build a mobile app that does a lot of this stuff, for real.

  • Ahh, ok. Thats a relief.. I'd still forego a DSi in favor of a regular DS lite, a rom cart and a copy of anything from GlitchDS.com. I KNOW the the potential is inherent in the old hardware.

  • Absolutely, homebrew fans should NOT be trading in their current DS / DS Lite. The DS Lite remains, really, my ideal model.

  • mandem

    is it just me or is the music really clunky and loose on the timing? like all the samples are not trimmed to the right start points and don't trigger tight, and the groove – whats up with that – sounds like he's trying to make a straight 16th groove do swing, but its not succeeding, overall a bit amateur really – Liddel's music is usually quite tight and well produced – this ain't.

  • leo cavallo

    I DO love JL and his music, but this is so incredibly bad…

  • ugghh – what a massacre of his own track. he is like the alan partridge of funk…

    and why is it sooooooooo long?

  • Boo on Mario Coins sounds forever.

  • Disclaimer: I may have been hopped up on Dr. Pepper when I wrote this / jealous of the nonexistent imaginary app he isn't using. 😉

  • Yeah, sorry Peter, I'm usually with you, but this is the supreme corn.

    It's really a shame too, because I'm really into the idea of gaming platform as legitimate (read: not hacked) music creation too. I think if this is their only ad for this it will turn a lot of people off.

    OTOH, Wii music looked pretty lame too.

  • jonnyfive

    Well i think this is just awesome, fake or not. Maybe I'm a little bit of a fanboy, but I think you all need to give JL some credit here: He's a master technician, and maybe you don't like some of the aesthetic decisions hes made here, but I would wager that the falling apart loops, cutting out, and "sloppy" sample playback are choices or possibly actual(or maybe even artificially exaggerated/manufactured) technical shortcomings of the app hes supposedly using. But I love looseness in electronic music, so much of it, imo, is over quantized, and like I said I'm biased by years of admiration.

  • Well, yeah, exactly. I think it's good fun. It's just musical candy, and I think JL has the right to make some of that now and then. It's obviously got a sense of humor. And, frankly, it *is* possible to create some fun mobile apps that would let you mess around in this way, even if the current DSi app doesn't.

  • fallafel

    it's so bad that it's cool.

  • @ Johnnyfive…. While I too can appreciate looseness, slop, and even chaos in electronic music, this seems jarring by design (and not in the usually cool "warp records" way).
    Why would Nintendo get behind something so generally unpleasant?

    Hate to be a Jamie Lidell anti-fanboy, but the guy was a real piss-gums when I did his sound at a radio venue in Philly 2 years ago; hostile sound-check, lax load-out, kept pushing levels into the board hot, and said ugly things to the crew. He may have a sweet voice, but he's got a SOUR vibe.

  • David

    The only problem with nitro tracker right now is that it cannot read from slot-2 ram. I cant wait fopr a DSi compatable ver. though.

  • I love Jamie Lidell, and good or not, i hope this vid creates a spark on making more music apps on the DSi. It has huge potential!

    The Korg DS-10 is great fun, and I hope more will follow soon. Only have the DSi, and i love it.