Song Exploder is an infamous podcast, where musicians dissect their tracks so listeners can understand how the tune came about. Each instrument can be separately listened to. Together with Google, it has collaborated on creating an app called Inside Music, which lets you listen to, and remix, these songs in VR. The project should, according to Song Exploder, be seen as an experiment, rather than a Google product.
Users select a tune from the menu, and are presented with orbs that represent parts of the song, or ‘stems’. Inside Music lets you toggle the orbs on and off. The listener can now hear precisely where a sound is coming from within the song. The app currently includes songs from Natalia Lafourcade, Phoenix, Perfume Genius, Alarm Will Sound, Clipping and Ibeyi. The app lets you move about in a 3D environment in your browser or in VR. You can use a Cardboard and load up the site on your phone. As you move around in these surroundings, you can switch individual layers of music on and off whilst the tune plays. The spatial audio will make you feel changes in sound as you go towards, or move away from, all the instruments in the virtual space.
The app’s design is simple, with pulsating orbs providing visual cues. By turning certain instruments on or off, you get a far better insight into how incredibly detailed songs can be. Isolated vocal track lovers should have a blast with this app. And if you wish to build an Inside Music experience for your own tunes, you can access the code in this GitHub repository and build yourself a tailor-made app. The application supports between 1-7 stems. Considered a WebVR Experiment, Inside Music was constructed using WebVR, which are accessible via various supported web browsers. VR headsets with access to WebVR browsers include Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows ‘Mixed Reality’ headsets, Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, and Samsung Gear VR.
Road to VR