I started to think about this again after a long time and also following a brief discussion on twitter to do with interfaces that were innovative. Let’s face it, mobile music has moved a long way from the early days when Palm Sounds started in 2006. A lot has changed and there has been a huge amount of innovation. But even so I don’t think that we should let the debate end there.
More recently I’ve seen lots of new iPad synth apps with some great sound design capabilities, but increasingly, with a common theme in terms of the interface. What’s the theme? I’m sure you can guess. Lots of synth apps now have a very similar look and feel with the keyboard occupying the bottom third of the screen and the controls occupying the rest of the screen real estate. Now I’m not saying that this is a bad design. It works, and the reason it works is because users can relate to it very easily. It looks like hardware synths look. That’s fine, I understand that, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the only design for a tablet synth, not does it mean that it’s the best.
There are of course many synth apps that don’t have this design, like TC-11, Jasuto, Audulus, Reactable etc. These apps and many besides have taken a range of different design styles that suit their own purposes. All of them different, all of them requiring the user to understand how to interact with the UI as well as the controls for the synth itself.
So what am I saying? Well, my point is this, the tablet and the phone are not synth hardware. They lend themselves to mobile use by design and so interfaces that take advantage of this very fact should be where mobile music creation apps are heading. That’s my opinion. If I look back to the innovative work that RJDJ did with interfaces and gesture based apps I wonder where this has gone.
So, I’d like to see more interfaces that are suited to being mobile and making music whilst mobile, and also interfaces that are more playful and that encourage exploration and experimentation too.
You may agree with me, you may not. Either way, I’d like to see more debate on this, and I’d like to think that within the overall mobile music community we have the ability to take different approaches.
So, what do you think?
CDR Berlin workshop with AYBEE (deepblak) from CDR on Vimeo.
Good to see my old friend Tony talking to AYBEE who’s using an iPhone running DrumTrack8. It’s a long video, he starts talking about the app around 33 minutes in if you wanted to skip to it.
DrumTrack8 on the app store:
This is a great way to integrate touch based hardware and apps into music making. Given my recent experience working with Heart n Soul on the Sound Lab project it is of especial interest.
So a big thank you to Discchord for posting it.
It’s been a while since I posted one of Ellen’s videos and I nearly missed this one! Sorry Ellen.
For this track she used FunkBox for the beat & Loopy for the parts, and the sisters of Voicelive handled the background vocals & harmonies.
A friend pointed me at this site not so long ago and I thought that I really ought to share it as I’m sure that there are people than just me who like to check out interesting MIDI gear like this.
So go visit MidiSizer see cool stuff.
Intua have just published the feature list for BeatMaker 2.5 and it’s pretty amazing. The highlights are:
- Apple Inter-app audio hosting: Record, sequence and control your favorite audio apps inside and outside BeatMaker 2.
- INTUA Sound Store: Get free and paid high-quality extension kits through in-app purchases
- MIDI learning directly on the drum sampler pads, and every automatizable controls in BeatMaker 2 (pad note, mixer controls, etc.)
- Version 2.5 is fully compatible with the new iPhones 5S/5c and iOS 7
And the full feature list:
- Compatible with Apple iOS Inter-App Audio (iOS7 only, iPhone+iPad)
- INTUA Sound Store for getting new kits and sound banks
- MIDI note learn on drum machine: configure each drum sampler exactly like your MIDI controller
- MIDI Clock and MIDI transport messages improved
- Quick MIDI CC touch’n’learn on instruments, mixer and effects controls
- Every instrument will listen on MIDI Channel #1 by default
- Take-over mode for reading back sequencer automations
- Looping will no longer reset automations
- OMNI disabled by default
- MIDI Clock messages are sent by default
- Auto-saved sessions (“Last Session”) now saved with project name, in a special directory “Auto-saved Sessions”
- MIDI configuration templates will now save custom note mapping
- GM Drum mapping mode in Drum Machine MIDI configuration panel
- Note length can be edited directly on the pattern editor
- Missing samples will still be displayed on pads and keyboard mapping editor for easier recovery (prefixed with a cross)
- Update to Audiobus SDK 1.0.2
- Other fixes and enhancements
You might remember this video from a while ago. Well I was lucky enough to meet Mr Junglator (which isn’t his real name) last Saturday for a chat about the app and where it’s going. I can tell you that the app looks a bit different now, a lot more polished. I got a chance to play around with it briefly and I can tell you that this app is going to be loads of fun to play with. In fact I think that it’s appeal is going to be quite a lot wider than the current mobile music community, which is only a good thing in my book.
So, not too long to wait for Junglator now I hope. Expect to hear more about this in the near future.