What can BlokDust do?
BlokDust is a free-to-use web-based music making app. Using it’s simple drag & drop interface you can create playable synths, build unique sounds and soundscapes, make samplers, modify your voice, record yourself, create self-playing contraptions, plug in a guitar and run it through a load of effects, load in tracks from SoundCloud and mess with them, plug in a MIDI controller, procedurally generate loops, and when you’ve made something cool, you can generate a unique URL and share your creation with others. What we really hope is that it’s users will create new things and teach US what it can do.
Do I need to be a musician?
Nope, we’d like BlokDust to be accessible to everyone, there’s scope to make complex things and there’ll be things familiar to some musicians but we’ve tried to also make it simple enough that anyone can use it. And there’s no wrong way to play with it, what you make doesn’t even have to be melodic, it could be interesting sound fx, a strange vocal effect, or even just something visual.
What do I need to run it?
BlokDust is browser-based, there’s nothing to install and you don’t need an account. A desktop/laptop will give the best experience, or a good tablet. Chrome browser is recommended. There’s nothing else you need, but some headphones or external speakers will definitely make for a better experience. If you happen to have a USB audio interface, then you can connect pretty much anything into BlokDust using the Microphone block, and by setting Chrome’s microphone options to use your interface. And if you happen to have a USB MIDI controller, then plug that in too.
Can I use BlokDust sounds in my song?
Yes, we hope you do! BlokDust is free to use and share, and just like any instrument, you’re free to record and distribute sounds you make with it.
If you’re using tracks loaded in from SoundCloud then please check with that individual track’s licensing, or check with the owner if unsure. BlokDust will load in any tracks with a license other than ‘All Rights Reserved’ or ‘No Derivative Works’, OR tracks which have been tagged ‘BlokDust’. However SoundCloud offers a range of licensing through Creative Commons, each with different conditions of use. Find out more about the different licenses available.
Can I use my own sounds in BlokDust?
Yes, if you have a SoundCloud account, BlokDust can load your tracks from there, so long as either your tracks are tagged with ‘blokdust’, or if you’ve selected a license other than ‘All Rights Reserved’ (default) or ‘No Derivative Works’ for your track.
In BlokDust, create a Sample block, open it’s options and click ‘Load New Sample’. This will open the SoundCloud search screen where you can search for your track title, or your username to find the track. After the search is complete, clicking on a track name will load it into the block.
The Sample block will find tracks with a maximum duration of 8 minutes 30 seconds. The Granular and Convolution blocks also load in samples from SoundCloud, Granular will find tracks with a maximum duration of 4 minutes, and the Convolution, a max duration of 12 seconds.
Is the source code available?
Can I contribute?
Yes! If you’re not a coder but you have suitable samples/recordings and a SoundCloud account, then tagging your tracks with ‘blokdust’ will make those tracks instantly available for the whole BlokDust community to use in their creations.
If you are a coder, or even if you just have ideas, then you can email us, or take a look through our GitHub repo. We’ll hopefully be publishing some developer notes when we have time. There’s a lot of things we’ve explored for the first time with this project and plenty that can be improved so we welcome any extra insight.
Can I use BlokDust as an offline app?
Not currently, but a general offline-mode, and a Chrome App version are both planned features, so keep an eye out for future updates, and we’ll try to post news on what we’re adding next.