My impressions of Oscilab

I thought I’d jot down a couple of notes about Oscilab, and as I wrote this it turned into  more of a rant about interfaces and how our music reacts to them. Anyway, as a result I thought it might be best to split this post up into a few headings.

Some (slightly rambling) thoughts generally about interfaces
I have to admit that I was really looking forward to Oscilab when it first got teased, and let’s face it, cross platform apps and anything that works well on Android is few and far between to say the least. So Oscilab looked like it was going to be really amazing. The videos showed it doing some really interesting things and producing really amazing sounds, so it had to be great, yes?

Well, that’s what I was expecting. When I opened up the app it made no sense to me at all. I didn’t get it, and these days, I really like to be able to dig in to an app very quickly and start making some sounds with it. Let’s face it, we all tend to be busy, in fact that’s one of the reasons we (and certainly I) like mobile apps for making music.

However, I persevered, and if I’m honest, it didn’t take very long at all to get into this app when I’d got my head around how it worked, or perhaps I should say, how I had to work to make it work for me. Whichever way you look at it, it worked for me, but the interesting thing for me, was how.

It’s probably true to say that my usual way of sequencing or composing or writing follows a fairly standard format. I like piano rolls, I like step sequencers and that sort of thing, so Oscilab’s approach to sequencing was very different. Although, as I said before in many ways, that’s very refreshing. In fact, I often feel that a change of interface can be a good way to try different musical directions. It doesn’t always work, but it’s always good to try, and that’s how I felt about Oscilab.

Actual impressions of Oscilab
So, my impressions of the app itself. Well, as I said above, I actually found the app a very interesting way to work. In fact the workflow is nothing like what I’m used to. I wondered if I’d get used to setting pitch through Oscilab’s interface, but it didn’t take long at all. In fact, I quite like it now. It’s a different way of looking at things, a different way of achieve self expression but without having to know about all the usual stuff that we can get hung up on, especially if you come from a traditional western musical background.

On reflection, using the Oscilab interface is actually very easy. I expect that a few people reading this will wonder what all the fuss is about, but for others it might make sense. So, if you have been put off when seeing the Oscilab interface and thought it didn’t make sense for you, then think again.

I’ve found that the app has made me rethink how I respond to different interfaces and how I think about music making. I’ve really enjoyed using it and I expect it’ll become more and more a part of my workflow.

Hopefully I’ll get a track out made using Oscilab in the not too distant future. Anyway, I think it’s a very different app, but perhaps not in the way you’d think. So, if you haven’t tried it out, I think you should seriously give it some thought.

Oscilab is on the app store. Click below:

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