By Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
Weâve heard of other technologies that can detect how much âenergyâ is present in a song, as well as how âdanceableâ it is (including this one from our publisher), but weâve never seen one rack up as many celebrity DJ endorsements as Mixed In Key, so we figured this Mac and Windows DJ tool was worth a look.
Originally released in 2006, Mixed In Key ($58) was designed, quite obviously, for club DJs â but you could ostensibly find it useful if youâre crafting mixes for MixCloud, your own workouts, your college radio show, or anything along those lines. Mixed In Keyâs original function â the one that earned it endorsements from world-famous DJ Pete Tong and the like â was to ascertain which key a song is in, to facilitate smooth mixing from one song to the next. It presents this information using the âCamelot Wheelâ pictured above â which, along with the tempo read-out, answers the question, music-wise, of âwill it blend?â
The latest version of Mixed In Key â 5.5, now available as a beta â adds energy analysis to output a âdanceabilityâ reading from 1 to 10, so that DJs know what to play when they are trying to rachet the energy level up a notch, or give club-goers a chance to hit the âchill out zoneâ and take a breather.
So, does it work?
To find out, I imported every song on this computer by my brotherâs and cousinâs band, Javelin, into the app, as suggested by a Mixed In Key spokesman. The results pass the smell test.
Lowest Energy / Danceability
The least-danceable, lowest-energy tracks were determined to be the following, each with a rating of 3 out of 10. Most of them came from the bandâs post-urban cowboy record:
Javelin - Fievel Goes West
Javelin - Trembler
Javelin - Sagebrush
Highest Energy / Danceability
Meanwhile, the rarity âSTD Furyâ (NSFW lyrics) received a 7/10:
Javelin - STD Fury
Several other Javelin songs received 7/10 ratings, actually, but they have yet to be released (other than this one, which received a 6/10), so I canât embed them here without committing a fairly serious crime against members of my family. With that in mind, hereâs one of the many 6/10 tracks identified by Mixed In Key to give you more of an idea how it works:
Javelin - Lindsay Brohan
Mixed In Key also offers a mash-up tool, also for Mac and Windows.