A #TBT Geek Week Software Review: Ejay

Yo, check this out. Imagine the lifestyle of DJ Armin Van Burren.  Young. Talented. Blond-haired pretty-boy. Behind a turntable in the middle of a show, he’s the center of attention. Everyone’s attention.

Yes.  Including her.

Now, you’re him.  You’re rocking the set at an outdoor venue somewhere in the French Riviera. The warmth from the early summer sun still bakes off the sandy beach as you step onto the stage.  All you smell is the salt of the Mediterranean Sea, and suntan lotion.  Lots of it.  Like the one she’s wearing.  The honey out front, who’s just about to groove to the beat you provide her and thousands of other revellers.  Just as you set the needle down, the crowd sparks to life.  You throw up your hands as the synth sound starts to rise to a crescendo of electronic bliss.  You give a look to that honey with the mocha-latte skin, the ends of her curly chestnut hair gently brushing off her shoulders as she moves with anticipation.  But, all you can think about is dropping that dope-nasty bass….

Wait.  What?  You just described this amazingly hot girl, and you can think of nothing but “dropping a dope-nasty bass?!”  Nothing’s been “dope,” let alone, “dope-nasty” since the 20th Century.  Not sure anything’s been dope-nasty at that.  But, okay.  Just, listen.  Just, keep reading.  Okay?

eJay was a leader among a handful of games that allowed users to compose professional sounding EMD tracks that could be shared.
eJay was a leader among a handful of games that allowed users to compose professional sounding EMD tracks that could be shared.

Generations- technologically speaking –  before Activision published DJ Hero (2009) for the gaming console, another game provided would-be Armin Van Burrens a creative outlet for the personal computer.

To describe it as a precursor to DJ Hero may be misleading; but, than again, DJ Hero didn’t quite utilize records and true turntables either.

eJay started off as a Window’s based game for the personal computer back in 1997. To snap things into proper prospective, Nintendo and SEGA were still locked into fierce competition for console sales.  SONY and Microsoft were too wet behind the ear to be taken seriously.  And, serious, high-end graphic based games were still played on personal computer.

ejay was not a graphic marvel, but provided a lot of punch as an interface for the music lover to start producing music.  Users immediately started off on a fresh canvas that consisted of several layers, by which blocks of sound tracks could be placed.  The end product would resemble something of a constructed building, so literally, the track was built brick by brick.

Sound clips of one- to five-seconds in length would be organized, first under a handful of different sub-genres of EDM – Techno, Hip-Hop and so on.  From there, you could choose from a variety of sounds for percussion, rhythm and vocals.  With practice and developed talent, it wasn’t uncommon to wind-up with a professional sounding track worth sharing with the world.

The eJay series enjoyed a successful run before closing shop in 2009.  But, before falling victim to the crash of the global economy, according to one UK newspaper, it was the go-to game within a genre that was slowly building into popularity.  Keep in mind, EDM was a movement most popular in Europe in the 1990s, and slowly migrated to the United States through metropolitan megalopolises like New York City and Los Angeles.  By 2009, console games were more the rage, and DJ Hero was born.

Despite it’s demise more than five years ago, eJay still has a devoted following on the Internet and a Facebook Page that is still relatively active.  From the fan page, one can still sample tracks created by gamers or artist.  And, if you are such an artist, you can upload your work as well.

Search the web for eJay and see what magic can be captured.  If you’re lucky enough to find a program, perhaps then you too can imagine yourself as Armin Van Burren in the French Riviera.