Yellofier – Anything becomes music

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The Yellofier transforms any sounds into funky music in literary one second. The app can be used as a professional production tool or as a amusing toy. The app had 100.000 downloads within 4 weeks after the release on AppStore and has been no#1 music app (iPad) in 8 countries and was App Of The week at the Game Developers Conference.

The app is a collaboration between Swedish music producer Hakan Lidbo and Swiss synth legends Yello. It’s developed together with yello’s musical maestro Boris Blank and it looks like nothing else; you arrange and edit sounds by moving and twisting colored blocks.

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You share with email, soundcloud, facebook or collaborate with a Yellofier buddy.

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The project is made in collaboration with T-mobile/Electronic Beats Media and some of the greatest names in electronic music contribute with sounds and songs; Carl Craig, The Orb, Trentemøller, Booka Shade, Henrik Schwarz, Steve bug, Orbital, The The, Charles Webster, Thomas Fehlmann and more. But all songs can easily be re-arranged by the yellofier user.

Electronic Beats have created a remix /creativity contest. The app can be downloaded for free in april 2013 in AppStore.

Tutorial video and contest:

Here is 3 short films about how the Yellofier can change your life:

Yellofier teaser 1. from Audio Video Facio on Vimeo.

Yellofier teaser 2. from Audio Video Facio on Vimeo.

Yellofier teaser 3. from Audio Video Facio on Vimeo.

A tutorial where Matt Johnson of The The explains how it works:

Yellofier video tutorial from Yello on Vimeo.

Interview at IFA, Berlin, sept 2013:

Yellofier is developed by Jonatan Liljedal in collaboration with Boris Blank and Håkan Lidbo, designed by Håkan Ullberg, sound design by Boris Blank/Yello, invented by Hakan Lidbo. Films by Simon Carlgren.

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A session at a small restaurant in Berlin:
App session at T-Mobile flagship store in Berlin:

Yellofier in SRF, Swiss National TV:

Yellofier at T-mobile app session, Berlin:

Yello performing live with the Yellofier:

Yellofier app display at EB festivals:

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Review:

Talk at Berlin Startups:
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/>Interview with Boris Blank and Hakan Lidbo in Electronic Beats Magazine:

Yello’s Boris Blank has always been the low-profile counterpart of glamorous Fluxus entrepreneur Dieter Meier. But recently all eyes—or to be more precise: all ears—are on Blank and his playful new music-making app. For the Yellofier app, Blank teamed up with Swedish producer Håkan Lidbo to allow users to make music from the sounds of everyday life.

As Blank points out in his convesation with Håkan Lidbo and Max Dax, the Yellofier app is less a compositional tool than a blank canvas that invites the user to hear the world with different ears. By “yellofying” field recordings and thus turning them into treatable sounds, you can create your own or edit other people’s songs. To prove that, Lidbo and Blank invite the public to submit either your own song or to twist and tweak preset tracks by acclaimed artists such as Booka Shade, Carl Craig, Henrik Schwarz, Matt Johnson, Orbital, The Orb, Trentemøller, and more. The submissions compete for a flight to Zurich to spend a day with Boris Blank yellofying the rogue state’s capital. The song will also be released on the next Electronic Beats compilation. Go to Yellofier.com for details and to enter.

The Yellofier app seems to be basically a musique concrète app that allows the user to record and tweak sounds from the street—field recordings.

Boris Blank: That’s the first time I’ve heard musique concrète used in connection with this app, but I think it’s a very good description. You’re right, you can create musique concrète with this app. This style is really back now with the new technology that is around these days. It’s not like the original stuff with Pierre Schaeffer and those guys, but the idea is still there, but within a new concept and utilizing new technology. It’s still the same fun. That’s the basic thing with this app. We were talking recently about how there are some apps that are very academic and built to impress people, you can add synthesizers that 30 years ago cost €10,000 or whatever. Of course, it’s nice if you have a pocket synthesizer, but this one has a different meaning and a different kind of architecture, which means that sometimes you are really surprised at what comes out. With just a very basic sound, a piece of background noise or something, you can make a whole song by looping it and adding effects. That’s the difference I think. Usually I get bored very fast with apps because either they’re too complicated and after an hour my eyes get tired, or they’re just obviously a synthesizer or whatever and I don’t need something like that in a small application. They can be a bit cheesy too.

What do you think of the Kling Klang app by Kraftwerk?

BB: How should I put it? I like Kraftwerk as an act and they invented this idea of electronic music as being a slave to the electronics by getting up on stage looking and acting like robots. Regarding the Kling Klang app, now they’ve done an upgrade so you can move around a bit and do a bit more, but otherwise it’s basically just listening to different styles of Kraftwerk sounds. You can’t build a new song out of it, it’s all based on the significant Kraftwerk sounds. But I’ve only had a brief look at it, so I probably shouldn’t say anything more. I guess this is why I never wanted to be in a jury deciding what is good or things like that. I don’t really want the Yellofier app to be compared specifically to Kraftwerk because I don’t know enough about it.

The reason I mentioned this is because there seems to be a proliferation of electronic musicians who have gone one step further than being just a musician or a producer to also sharing part of their musical architecture with other people, and having their sounds become part of the DNA of other peoples’ music.

BB: It’s funny because people are always telling us that we get compared to Kraftwerk and when you go onto iTunes it says that people who bought a Yello album also bought Kraftwerk albums. Only the way we worked was similar, in terms of using synthesizers, but Kraftwerk used them much more than Yello. I always wanted to have the opposite to Kraftwerk, I wanted to give a soul to the machines, whereas Kraftwerk wanted to be played by the machines because they are slaves and they love this aesthetic. I love their concept and how they developed their ideas. It was and still is a monument, both in Germany and around the world. Yello was always different. We tried to give even those cold machines a soul, to get a human touch out of them.

Humor as well?

BB: Yes, humor as well. That’s why I like Håkan so much. We have a similar humor. He has a very dry humor and we both laugh a lot when we’re together. Same with Dieter [Meier]. Together we’re just children sometimes, talking bullshit and having fun. I like Kraftwerk a lot, but it’s not the same. We work with samples more. Yello also has this sense of irony and humor, it’s not stiff like Kraftwerk.

I went to six of their concerts during their MoMA retrospective, and it was interesting to see the differences, because I was always asking myself how much improvisation there is. There is actually a lot.

BB: So it’s not just one set of machinery where they press play?

No, it’s actually quite the opposite. Sometimes they change the percussion in different parts, they play the songs faster or slower on different occasions. It’s all within a certain framework, but they definitely leave space to improvise, particularly on their most famous songs. Coming back to the app, is it a career move, to extend your radius as an artist?

BB: Totally not. It’s far away from this. In terms of technical development, Dieter and I were doing an interview in Zurich with Håkan Lidbo, who had a weekly radio program called Ström in Sweden specializing in electronic music, and we were talking about how great it would be to have a 16-step sequencer where you could put different effects on each step and really change the way that effects were applied to the individual components. So he said, “Hey I have a friend in Stockholm who is a really great programmer. We should try and make this happen.” We did some drawings about what it could look like, and we got very enthusiastic about it. A few days later we put our heads together over the phone and planned the concept of how we could arrange this within an app. So, that’s how it started. It wasn’t about an idea for a Yello app or anything to promote Yello concerts or something like that, which I know some bands do. It’s an independent entity. The name is very important and it came from Håkan. The idea is that you have a sound and then you “yellofy” it.

Håkan Lidbo: It’s what life is all about. To take a sound and make music out of it is like making magic. Our relationship for the first 25 years was just through the records, since I bought the first Yello record when it came out. As a producer growing up in a small town where everyone was a punk and super left-wing and it was all about protest and very negative, Yello was an inspiration. At the time, I was in a punk environment, but then I discovered Yello and they were from Zurich and their music was elegant and humorous. It was liberating to hear that you could use synthesizers in a funny and life-affirming way. I think that’s the core of the app—that sounds can be fun. And that’s what life is about.

More and more musicians are using apps on stage. Kreidler for example are doing this. They played a concert with four iPhones, where one used a bass app, one used a drum app, and so on and they synchronized them together. It was really quite brilliant.

BB: It’s funny you mention this. You remember Claude Nobs, the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival who died recently? He was a very charming man. When I was in Montreux, I showed him this app and he said in his French accent, “Boris, we should do a concert this year. We’ll invite some DJs, we’ll do some rap, you know hip-hop, and we’ll do this on stage with this app.” He was very fascinated by it. He wanted to film while I was showing him how the app worked. That was an idea and I think it would work as long as you can synch with your partner’s app at the same tempo.

HL: I saw a concert by the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet where it was just them and the Yellofier. They were given iPhones and told to play bass sounds, which they then used to build an improvised concert. Just two-minute improvised pieces using the Yellofier app. It was very fun.

BB: When I make recordings, using the Yellofier, it’s like something I’ve just stumbled across or found. I create sounds that I think are really great and then I can use them as part of songs or easily adapt them to use with other music programs.

The social aspect, sharing files and so on, is a major part of this app culture. If I were recording sounds in Berlin and I wanted to share these with people in Johannesburg, I can do this and we can make music together. This seems to be where the real potential lies.

BB: Yes, the social aspect is very important. In a very short space of time, I can send anyone an email with the file and she can listen to what sounds I am creating and then send something back. It’s like modern musical chess playing. I make a move, then she makes a move, and that way you can build patterns and songs.~

English press release from Electronic Beats:

Bonn, 25th March 2013

Anything becomes Music – Boris Blank and Electronic Beats by Telekom launch brand new Yellofier App on 1st of April 2013

*  Yellofier transforms everyday sounds into music within seconds

*  Developed by Yello co-founder Boris Blank and Swedish music producer Håkan Lidbo

*  Track Contest with sounds of Carl Craig, Henrik Schwarz, Trentemøller, Booka Shade, Orbital, Steve Bug, Thomas Fehlmann

Boris Blank, co-founder and music composer of the Swiss avant-garde electro duo Yello, is also the inventor of the new music/recording app Yellofier. About a year ago, together with concept director Håkan Lidbo, programmer Jonatan Liljedahl and designer Håkan Ullberg, Blank filed to implement the ingenious idea that is Yellofier. Electronic Beats by Telekom supported the team of developers with its expertise in technology and communication and enabled a perfect realization. As a result, from April 1st users can go sound hunting with Yellofier app and create music out of the sounds of one’s life. Innovation, sound and technology – these keywords describe not only the philosophy of Electronic Beats, but also the impressive career of Yello, who are always on the lookout for creative sound combinations.

Boris Blank decided to develop an app that he would like to use as a musician himself. Clearly, the multimedia era is not only reserved for the youth. Through a combination of zeal and a three-member team of experts Blank turned this vision into reality. Now the result of this work is in the wings: Yellofier – which can quickly turn the sound of a closing car door into the sound of a kick drum, all to the driving beat of one’s very own song.

The slogan: “Anything becomes Music”. But what makes the app so interesting for sound explorers who don’t have any music education?

Håkan Lidbo: “You edit sounds and effects by moving and spinning cubes – the interface is different from all other musical interfaces. Therefore anyone, even without any musical experience, can create unique music with Yellofier.”

Boris Blank: “The uniqueness of Yellofier is in the intuitive, visually supported quick handling of recording and editing of sounds, the high quality sound, the playful aspect and of course the built-in Yello soundbase.” Fans using Yellofier also enjoy maximum feedom to remix the original sounds of the successful duo. They can also share their songs with the social media world.

Other musicians are excited about Yellofier and are already working with the app. Booka Shade, Carl Craig, Charles Webster, Håkan Lidbo, Henrik Schwarz, Magnetic North, Matt Johnson, Orbital, Steve Bug, The Orb, Thomas Fehlmann, Tim & Puma Mimi and Trentemøller have contributed songs and sounds to the app. These could be used for own tracks, and thus enter the Yellofier Track Contest hosted by Electronic Beats. More info here: www.yellofier.com and www.electronicbeats.net.

Further information:

Boris Blank

Boris Blank and Dieter Meier made music history as Yello and revolutionized electronic music far beyond German-speaking borders. The first session of Yello was held in a car laboratory, where they recorded the sound of engines in order to transform them into songs. Yello shot all their music videos themselves, and were seen less and less as a band, but more as an artist project. Several of their albums reached platinum status. Besides Yello, the Zurich-based Blank also works as a composer for film music and has his own music library at Extreme Music in Hollywood alongside musicians such as Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Massive Attack and many more.

Håkan Lidbo

The smart producer from Stockholm has already released 300 Records including everything from aspiring club music to acoustic experiments (he is represented by record labels such as Poker Flat and Shitkatapult). He has worked with artists such as Fatboy Slim, Depeche Mode and Yello. He also has his own radio show and organizes a festival in Sweden. He sent music to space and let monkeys from the Stockholm Zoo play on synthesizer.

Electronic Beats

Electronic Beats is the international music program by Telekom. All activities share a virtual home at electronicbeats.net, where the latest news on artists and events meet with reports on travel, art, design and fashion. Committed to the cause of advanced Music, the site features its own EB Radio and EB Video. Completing the media portfolio is the very collectable EB print magazine and the multi award winning DVD Slices, both appear quarterly through select distribution channels.

For further information: www.electronicbeats.net

Media contact:

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