There are now quite a lot of apps that purport to do the job of the DJ. We (usually) don’t write about them because they inevitably miss the essence of what DJing actually is. DJing isn’t the seamless blend, calculated by a somewhat intelligent desktop app. It’s the combined effect of those two songs blended together. It’s the expansive musical knowledge of what those two songs could be and the experience of knowing what the audience needs and what they should be.
Neural Mix is being seen as DJ tool, but not as another “app-that-DJs-for-you” tool. But it’s much more than this. There’s been a lot of bullshit about AI in music (there’s been a lot of bullshit about AI in everything), but Neural Mix’s creator, Algoriddim, have adapted an AI to handle one very specific (and tedious) part of electronic music: sampling. Using Neural Mix, a DJ searching for effects for their sets or (more likely) a producer searching for samples is able to isolate beats, kicks, riffs and vocals from any piece of recorded music.
We mentioned “bullshit” above, and while this might seem like magic, it isn’t: it’s AI and some bleeding was noticeable when we took this for a test ride. Trying to use it as more than a handy utility knife — for instance, hoping to “make” instrumental tracks by removing vocals using Neural Mix — seems difficult if not doomed to failure. “Unmixing” tracks without having the multitrack recordings and doing it reliably is way beyond the pay grade of a $50 app and again something where our coding masters have lost the essence of the art.
But using what it’s made for? I can imagine studio rats shaking as they read this, as phase cancellation for clear samples is probably among the most tedious tasks you can imagine. The price is a bit steep for a desktop app ($50) but there’s a free version to try it out.