Ever recognised a sample used in a song, but can’t figure out where it’s from? WhoSampled can provide the answer. Billed as ‘the music DNA discovery app’, it will scan your music library and tell you what samples each song contains and/or which tracks have sampled it, along with any covers or remixes. One limitation is that the app can only scan tracks stored locally on your device and not yet via Google Music or Spotify etc. Fortunately, you can also search for artists and tracks not in your library and browse a variety of charts – such as latest additions, most influential and most connected.
The results are well structured for easy exploration. Each artist page includes groups and/or member solo projects, plus a list of tracks as both an artist and producer. For instance, look up Kraftwerk, tap Tracks, then ‘Trans-Europe Express’ and you’ll discover it’s been sampled in 58 tracks; tap on one in the list, such as Afrika Bambaataa’s ‘Planet Rock’, and you can play the YouTube video and compare it to the original song by swiping. Helpfully, WhoSampled tells you at which point the sample appears in both tracks.
As well as being useful for identifying those sampled hooks and beats, the app can lead you on a fascinating journey of musical discovery. Tapping on ‘Planet Rock’ reveals that it contains three other samples and has itself been sampled in 281 tracks, including Lana Del Rey’s ‘Off to the Races’. In the latter case, however, the full track isn’t available so you have to make do with an audio excerpt. Sadly, this issue occurs fairly often while browsing and there’s also the occasional fullscreen advert (since, unlike the iOS version, the Android app is free). Even so, the overall experience is still very good and you may soon become hooked.
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