The music section of the Chrome Web Store has amplified quite a bit since its initial rollout of 23 apps. In addition to offerings from heavy hitters like MOG, Rdio and Pandora, it’s also home to a wide selection of apps and extensions from smaller developers from off the beaten trail.
Getting an app into the Chrome Web Store appears to be fairly easy; the store’s selection runs the gamut from non-functional to uninspired to great. Finding the last kind can be tough, so we filtered out the noise and found you some fun, functional, and downright bizarre apps and extensions to delight the ear and amuse the mind.
Remember Chatroulette, the web app for videochatting random strangers? Imagine that, just with fewer creepy dudes and more synthesisers. Basically, that’s the Plink concept. This Chrome app gathers you and a handful of strangers into a “room” to make music on a side-scrolling interface together. Pumping out fat bass lines and four-on-the-floor drum grooves is as easy as clicking and dragging your mouse, as the others do the same. Everything you play is quantised, so no matter what, it’ll all sound pretty good.
Another variation on the theme of simple, social music creation, Technitone draws inspiration from André Michelle’s well-loved (and sadly, non-functional at the moment) Tone Matrix. Technitone provides a grid on which you and your cohorts can place instrument sounds on various notes. Like Plink, it automatically hooks you up with buddies to jam with, and it doesn’t take much musical know-how to get up and running. Technitone packs a few neat extras, too, such as a solo mode for those who like more control, and a gallery where you can publish your masterpieces, whether made on your own or with a group.
This Chrome app pairs the Los Angeles Police Department’s radio dispatcher with ambient music from SoundCloud, mixing both streams together at the same time — a beguiling approach that makes for soothing, occasionally brilliant listening. It’s as if the ambient backdrop gives what the dispatcher is saying a kind of magical weight. This is precisely the sort of oddity that only internet culture could have wrought, and it’s absolutely fascinating. RIYL: eavesdropping, zoning out, Boards of Canada.
Plain and simple, Nickelblock keeps you from ever having to read about crap again, as its name implies. This extension simply redacts all mentions of everybody’s favourite Canadian buttrock (not our term) ambassadors, from the entire web as viewed through your Chrome browser. Those of you who bristle at the mere mention of those whose name shall not be mentioned can now surf the web in peace. If only they would make more of these for non-fans of Skrillex, Chris Brown, and Foster the People, too.
Speaking of buttrock, Guns N’ Roses are back. Axl and co. are visible as ever, between the release of their infamously delayed Chinese Democracy album a few years ago to their upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But even a non-fan like myself knows that without the man in the top hat (or even the man in the KFC bucket hat), GNR only commands a shadow of its former power. If we can’t have guitarist Slash back in the band, we can at least have him in our browser. Slasher, a Chrome extension, will turn any “/” in your browser window (or, perhaps preferably, those of your friends) into an image of the guitarist’s face. No kidding.
Evolver.fm observes, tracks and analyses the music apps scene, with the belief that it’s crucial to how humans experience music, and how that experience is evolving.