Gratitude#1 – SourceForce/WebJam

Every now and then it’s good to stop and pay attention to what has led to where you’re at.

Last week I found this flyer in our basement. It reminded me of some very important friends and years that eventually led to where I am now and to my current research:

Bjarne Nyquist, Mats Liljedahl and me formed a company called ”Source Force”. Twenty years ago we built one of the very first online tools for music creation – ”WebJam”. We were inspired by eJay – a music application where you could arrange loops to make your own mix – and built WebJam as an web-based, super-light-weighted, collaborative and cloud-based music application.

WebJam was built with “Macromedia Director” (the predecessor to Adobe Flash) and our own plugin “SequenceXtra” (later acquired by Sibelius Ltd). It came with beautiful MIDI-loops by Rune Fränne and cool graphics from a company I unfortunately can’t remember the name of. Appart from the fairly traditional aspects of a music making application it had a very cool feature: An animated character that danced along with the music you arranged with the loops. The more intensity in the loops, the more intense dancing. And it was all in sync with the music.

Today, when reflecting upon what we achieved with the limitations of that day (If I remember correctly, the whole application with loops and all was less than 400Kb), I get quite impressed and realize that a lot of what we did actually have a lot of bearing on my current research; Interaction, music, design, sonification, multisensory perception. All made with web technologies. Similar ideas and perspectives. New platforms and solutions. 

Without The SourceForce Team and the WebJam project my life wouldn’t have been the same. I’m truly thankful to Mats and Bjarne and for what we achieved together.

WebJam is gone but there are some still some digital ruins to watch: