Okay, I think this may be some of the best / worst promotional marketing I’ve seen for music software. It runs something like this:

Do you want to be just like Jamie Lidell?

The answer is as close as the iTunes App Store and your portable device.

Just download Native Instruments’ iMaschine app to your iPhone, fire it up, and then …

Forget it. Really. I mean, this guy is actually lying in bed in his PJs, the sound you’re hearing is really just the crappy internal microphone on an iPhone 4 iPod touch, and what you’re hearing really is the line out, and this is really all one take. (I confirmed as much with Native Instruments’ Constantin Kรถhncke as we watched the final take earlier this week at their office.)

For all we talk about microphone selection and placement and such, there’s not much substitute for being able to sing. That is, iMaschine can make anyone sound like this, just so long as they are Jamie Lidell.

And, actually, maybe that means this isn’t such bad marketing after all – perhaps not for iMaschine so much as music software in general. I’m kidding, of course – once you realize you’re not Jamie Lidell, you can work out who you are. And you do have a voice of your own.


I could at this point mention the features in iMaschine, but … what’s the point? It records stuff. You can lay down beats and then sing into it. Just like you can do with other tools for your iPhone or your laptop or even a piece of used sampling gear you found on eBay, all of which can fit comfortably into a bed on a lazy weekend.

In fact, who cares about how technically-sophisticated your software is, or if you have a fancy, high-end mic handy? I hope that we’ll all get a few minutes lying in bed somewhere this weekend. (I know that’s part of my plan.) So, use the internal mic on your laptop, or phone or tape recorder or whatever, use that bicycle for the mind, and in the words of Sesame Street’s “Sing,”

“Don’t worry if it’s not good enough / for anyone else to hear / just sing / sing a song.”

I’ll have a review of iMaschine by next week, but I’m even more interested in what you make.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

  • No iPad version… :(:(

  • one kidney

    love you peter

  • I had to send this to the fiancée. She'll recognize the scenario immediately (her: reading a Gandhi bio, him: laying down head-bobbing music in Ableton or on the iPhone). What a great promo.

  • brent

    dude has some pipes. good timing too, obviously.

    holy crap. what does jamie lidell's wife do for a living? take a look at the mansion they live in. don't tell me that's from his music earnings. he's great, but doesn't exactly earn coldplay numbers does he?

    so, trust fund? or maybe just a house used for the commercial? i guess that's probably it. would be interesting to know. what can i say?  curiosity gets the better of me sometimes.

  • doesn't appear to be approved for the iTunes store in USA as of yet.

    What would serve NI best, I believe, is if iMashine was a very light example of the workflow that one would expect on its hardware counterparts. Things like automap or the Kore 2, as examples, introduced workflows that are hard to appreciate from the outside. And they paid for it with limited market saturation. You really need an "aha" moment before you can say, "oh now I understand why I could really benefit from having this."

    Mashine has that same challenge, and it's even harder if you don't come from legacy beat machines, to evaluate the Mashine, face value, and appreciate if its an essential piece of hardware. Renoise is in a similar situation if you don't come from trackers. Thankfully both have an enthusiastic set of followers serving as catalysts to convince new practitioners to persevere. However, if this app was free and dumbed down, just to illustrate how someone on the Mashine works and explores creatively, NI would attract more people to the hardware.

    The pads are unavoidable, but have them imitate how they're mapped on the hardware. Going with recording and looping features that remind me of other apps, rather than taking, say, taking 1 channel off the mashine itself, I feel the app would be headed in the wrong direction. I'll reserve that judgement for when it's available in the states.

  • Peter Kirn

    @brent: Jamie lives in Nashville. That's the real house. Speaking as a native Kentuckian, those "fly-over states" that the people on the coasts make fun of all the time? They're affordable.

    More on iMaschine for Mondayish.

  • dumafuji

    that was wikkid awesome. perfect song/artist selection. that's kinda how i imagined the original song was made – now with mr. rodgers pajamas version!

    best part – the soulful breakdown when he just so slightly glances over at his lady, mid grunt and head bob.

  • dumafuji

    and…it's in my appstore and i'm in the usa. 5 bux.

  • Bill Cummings

    My Iphone 4 only has IOS 4.2.10 and itunes tells me that's the latest version….

    so I don't know if my Iphone 4 supports IOS 4.3

    (the itunes store says IOS 4.3 is required)

    Anyway, I bought iMaschine not realising this, & can't install it at the moment…am not a happy camper

  • This is awesome, now all I need is another Super Collider album and I'll be a happy man. 

  • KJF

    Is that an iPhone?  He's plugged into a headphone jack on the bottom.  Last time I checked iPhone jack is on the top.

    Awesome video though.

  • my iPhone won't run it… but you're right, who cares! It's never the tools you have that make the music! 

  • vaikl

    KJF, no, that's an iPod touch. I've just tried to be Jamie with mine, but if I hold it on the same distance like he does in the spot, I'll only hear the snore of my girlfriend. Maybe it could be a chartbreaker next year.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Thats a 4th gen Ipod Touch in the Video.

    I just installed IMaschine on my iphone 4 running IOS 4.3.5 (latest version)

  • Chris

    @Bill Cummings, Papernoise, Steve Conrad

    It's a carrier issue. The confusion is that Verizon iPhone4's are only updated to 4.2.10 and AT&T phones are 4.3+ right now. iOS 5 is coming out shortly anyways.

  • Deaq

    I bought Imaschine yesterday, Soundcloud tipped me. and I am having a blast with it, however, they need to drastically improve it if they want to compete with others like beatmaker, flstudio and what not.

    I felt that iMaschine needs to become faster, it felt a little sluggish when I used it. hope the fix it and maybe add other features to it in near future. but hey, its supercheap. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • A very TapeOp-ian sentiment. THANK YOU!

    Context can validate any timbre. How many hours have I blown selecting microphones as the energy for the perfect take slipped right away?

  • Smash Hat

    One of the best adverts for anything, ever. And iMaschine is alright by me. I got an idea down yesterday whilst having a wee* and today, at work while eating a butty**, one handed style. And I used beat repeat! Love it ๐Ÿ™‚



  • ALTZ

    I hope it works professionally and does not make me think of it as a toy or gadget.

  • Peter Kirn

    iPod touch — thanks for the catch, folks.

    And yes, you can use it with a workflow with Maschine on desktop.

    Yes, not everything about the App Store is easy; some things are annoying.

  • Vitor

    Got it today for my iPad 1st Gen.

    I never had an MPC. This is great fun. The sounds are inspiring and sound great. Instant inspiration.

  • Gabe

    Looks okay but SampleTank for iOS may be THE app for music production on iOS. It along with iRig Mid and my MPC makes a killer rig.

  • vaikl

    I'll take it as the ideal complement for the Maschine workflow, just like the spot suggests.

    Audio-printing some ideas on train or airplane, adding some interesting sounds of your neighborhood and importing it ready-to-go into your desktop Maschine is a nice way to extend Maschine's capabilities into the mobile world.

    Sleek, neat GUI, easy to handle, common design elements together with the desktop software – it's like a real hardware add-on.

  • Nice!

    Bought it, obviously, as I have Maschine. I'm very impressed so far with how it's implemented and the fact that everything can be carried over seamlessly onto Maschine.

    Very interesting that iMaschine has an audio recorder as a Group option that Jamie uses to record a long vocal take in this video. Wonder if that means Maschine will eventually get a linear audio track?

  • Igi

    iPod Touch doesn't have a microphone… just sayin'

  • Igi

    oops, sorry, the recent one has one.

  • KarlPopper

    More substance less gimmick. I don't care about making scratch tracks in bed. I want decent sample manipulation features (timestretch). I want better sequencing (the current scene system is clunky). I want more/revised fx (the filters could be better). NI needs to focus on the core features of the product and stop branching out into all these new areas. If they do both all the better.

  • Jonah

    @peter kirn I think you vastly underestimate the power of self delusion, at least in regards to their singing voice. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I just got an ipad (and iMaschine) and I gotta say ipad + ipod touch + MPC1k = ridiculously awesome. And yeah, I have a little mixer in there too. So much fun bouncing MIDI and audio throughout creation or to hell and back as the case may be. ๐Ÿ™‚ If only iDevices had coax in/out. Still, super good times. I had planned on slowly re-integrating my laptop, but I'm getting so much done, I dunno. I'm going to have to re-think things.

  • antonio

    that was awesome. i really like what you said about the technically-sophisticated/fancy tools. it's all about the music.

  • a new app may not make you a better musician, but this app really shines in that everything is easily accessible. I literally learned all the ins and outs of this app in 10 minutes. That the app gets out of the way may just be what you need to get your creativity flowing.

    Hopefully NI will listen to their users, iron out the bugs and improve where the app is lacking.

  • It looks awesome. Any plans for an iPad version?

  • Todd Fisher

    Great app at a great price. I'm even fine with having to work around the latency issues that show up when loading new instruments sometimes (just save your song and open it back up, it's fixed). In one day, I came up with 9 different little riffs, including one in bed last night when I should have been sleeping. This is a steal.

  • Leon Tricker

    Latest OS available for my iPod Touch is 4.2.1.

    I know I should have checked this before downloading iMaschine, but like an idiot I didn't.

    So at the moment my only comment is "it looks good."

  • Leon Tricker

    Peter – when you do a full review, could you mention that iMaschine needs iOS 4.3 or above, and that iOS for 1st & 2nd gen iPod touch have stopped being updated?

    iOS 5 will not be compatible with 1st/2nd gen iPod touch.

    I'd hate for anyone else to waste their cash like I have.

  • An iPad version would be great, comes across more gimmicky on the iPod.

  • nickt

    gimmicks for a german gf. eff you NI.

    and yikes: appears to be some "self love" occurring @ 0.43… and gandhi is spinning in his iGRAVE.

    more music less ads peter.

  • iMaschine is not meant to compete with complete studio-in-a-pocket concept of Nanostudio or Beatmaker2.

    For what it actually is, a mobile sketch pad extension for Maschine/iOS users, iMaschine is awesome. Very fast and easy to use just like its siblings.

    I'm sure NI is already cooking up a native iPad version.

  • Great app! Must admit, I just got in the iPhone game a month ago, so it's my first sound app. But I'm quite impressed (though dissapointed by my own voice – I'll stick to the pads and keys).

    Here's a little review, including three scetches that took like 20 minutes each. I'm considering getting Maschine now. Well done NI!