LISTEN: All Along the Watchtower Performed Solely by iPhone Apps

Some traditionalists have never forgiven Bob Dylan for ‘going electric’ almost half a century ago. So they're really going to hate what a group of musicians have done with their smartphone apps.

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Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Bob Dylan onstage during the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards held on January 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

Some traditionalists have never forgiven Bob Dylan for ‘going electric’ almost half a century ago. So they’re really going to hate what a group of musicians have done with their smartphone apps.

An anonymous collective of coders and instrumentalists recorded this version of “All Along the Watchtower” — which admittedly is more of a cover of the 1968 Jimi Hendrix version of the song — and sent it to Evolver.fm. The project was spearheaded by developer Adil Sherwani, who created the Guitarism App that simulates the experience of strumming away on six strings using any Apple smartphone, music player or tablet.

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“Recently, I teamed up with two other creators of iOS guitar apps to form an iOS developer band,” he told Evolver.fm by email. “I met these guys on the Audiobus developer and user forums, and we’re recording everything using only Audiobus and its compatible apps.”

Sherwani performed the vocals himself, singing directly into an iPhone without employing a external microphone. Although the constituent parts were mixed together using desktop Macs — ostensibly because the ‘band members’ were scattered all over the place — 100% of the resulting music was created by smartphone apps.

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7 comments
javed_tweets
javed_tweets

Fantastic effort! What the haters fail to see is that an attempt - and a good one at that is possible using apps solely written on iPhones. Easy to criticize, difficult to create. 

AdilSherwani
AdilSherwani

@quasimodo987 @ChaoticBuddhist @LaLapinNoir Hey guys, I'm one of the app developers who made this recording along with Jesse Chappell (ThumbJam, DrumJam) and Hans Anderson (iFretless Guitar, iFretless Bass). We're sorry it wasn't to your liking but of course, honest feedback is always welcome!

None of us is a professional musician, but we enjoyed collaborating with each other in an experiment to see how a classic rock song would sound on our iOS instrument apps. We don't believe iPhones and iPads can ever truly replace real guitars, but we find it interesting to explore how expressive they can be as instruments in themselves. Any feedback on what about this particular performance you didn't (or did) like would be very valuable for us to learn from and improve our craft. Thanks!