Why Mr NightRadio and WarmPlace is where the boundaries of mobile music are being pushed back

I started thinking about this piece when I saw the video above and realised that actually the boundaries of mobile music were being quite firmly pushed back by the work that Mr NightRadio is doing. The Quantum DJ is clear proof of just that. It’s a unique device and in fact one that I’ve been waiting for this year.

Just the fact Alex is making hardware as well as maintaining his already excellent software is impressive, but when you actually look at what Alex has done in software and hardware you start to realise that this is where the boundaries really are. Let’s talk about why.

We’ll start with SunVox. I remember when SunVox first started. I remember using it on my Palm OS Treo 650, then on a Dell Axim running Windows Mobile OS. Of course it came to iOS and Android, and it runs on desktop platforms too. SunVox keeps moving forward and even now is in beta again.

It has to be said that there are very few modular apps that can say that they run on so many platforms, and SunVox just gets better and better. I’d like to say that there are only a handful, but I’m not sure that there are even that many.

But SunVox is just the start. There’s all of Alex’s other apps to consider, for example, PixiTracker (+ the 1 bit version), PixelWave, SpectrumGen, SoundFields, and Nature Oscillator. Those are the ones that I’m not going to talk about (but they’re all worth checking out actually).

But there are a couple of apps that do require a little more attention. PhonoPaper and Virtual ANS. Both of these are just incredible apps. Unique and brilliant and capable of taking your sound to completely new places. I used Virtual ANS to complete a track called “Probably get the tube” which I wrote for the Cities and Memories project “The Next Station”. I used it to sonify old pictures of Regents Park Underground Station, and it did an awesome job.

These apps are amazing and, as I said before, they’re pushing the boundaries of the world of mobile music. Which brings me to this video, of SunVox and PixiScope.

PixiScope is a library for the PixiLang language, which itself was used to produce PixiTracker. How awesome is that?

So what am I getting at? This little multi-platform ecosystem is really going places in a very quiet and unassuming way, and that’s amazing in itself. If you’re not aware of what Mr NightRadio is up to, then now is the right time to acquaint yourself.

NOIZ 2.0 arrives, time to make some amazing music

NOIZ 2.0 arrives, and it looks great. I’ve seen this app grow from its pre-app store days and go from strength to strength, and it isn’t going to stop here either.

This is a major update! You can now make your own amazing tracks & share them with your friends.

  • Choose from 3 Surfaces, Dubstep, House or Trap to create your track
  • Powerful editing tools to edit, sounds, beats, melodies & more
  • Reworked Audio Engine for creating phat basslines and juicy leads
  • Record your performances and share them with friends
  • Listen and interact with tracks by upcoming NOIZ producers in the Stream

NOIZ on the app store:

Looking for a new drum machine app? Maybe Jack the beat maker will do?

I have to admit that I like the title. It made me chortle slightly, and that’s always a good start. An app with a bit of humour in its name is no bad thing in my book. I also quite like that it looks a bit like a calculator and also reminds me of the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator series too.

I’ve not tried this out, so I can’t tell you if it’s worthwhile or not. However, it is very cheap at just $0.99.

Here are the app’s details:

Pocket size drum machine, perfect for making beats. You can record live with the drum pads and even add simple bass line to the beat. 2 drum kits with 12 tweakable drum sounds and customisable bass sound. Easy to use!

  • real synthesised bass sounds
  • sampled drum sounds
  • export to WAV or MIDI
  • metronome
  • real-time parameters

Jack the beat maker is simplified but yet powerful rhythm greater tool.

Jack the beat maker costs $0.99 on the app store now:

HandSketch – Voice as an Instrument

A new, and rather intriguing app arrives today, called “HandSketch”. I’m not sure quite what to make of it, but it’s free (don’t know if it has IAPs or not), so may well be worth a look. Here are the details:

“HandSketch creates beautiful and expressive singing voice out of the sketches of your pencil or fingers. It is engineered and crafted to give you the musical chill and make you want to progress as a musician. HandSketch is unique and allows for true magical musical expressivity thanks to its artificial voice.”

Elastic Drums 1.9 brings a sample and more

Elastic Drums is a great drum app and for me it’s right up there with my top drum apps like SeekBeats, Patterning and MoDrum. So it’s great to see Elastic get better and better with this new version.

Here’s what’s new in Elastic Drums:

  • New SAMPLER engine, with sample pitch, reverse, envelope, and a genuine looper function !!!
  • Sample import via iTunes, eMail or AudioShare after purchasing the “sample import” option
  • Record your microphone input after purchasing the “sample import” option
  • Velocity/Automate edit view on iPad, via longtap velocity/automat button
  • top navigation: swipe to prev/next pattern works the other way round now
  • Copy instr + seq in Instr option sub screen
  • You now can import samples from an email into Elastic Drums
  • Limited master tempo X (multiplication) as it did not work properly after the Ableton Link rebuild
  • fixed badly working Midi Sync out start/stop behavior
  • doubleTap on instr parameters will set knob to default
  • button/solo labels on instr. buttons
  • selecting + longtap on an instruments preset or user sample will open a delete overlay
  • warning, if you really want to change to another preset, if you made edits to the current one
  • updated to newest libPD version 0.10
  • version info in info overlay screen

Sonoma Wire Works FourTrack version 7.2 arrives

FourTracks is one of the first multi-track apps to have hit iOS (before it was called iOS too) and is still a personal favourite of mine. It’s great to see it still get updated. Here’s everything new in 7.2:

  • Updated for iOS 10 (fixes broken MIDI communication with GuitarJack Stage in iOS 10)
  • Sessions can now be individually imported using iTunes File Sharing
  • Added ability to play audio through iPhone receiver
  • Fixed issues with File Import, email importing and Dropbox
  • Fixed issues with input monitoring
    Fixed bug where system volume was reset to 2 clicks on startup with an external interface connected
  • Fixed bug where MasterFX compressor reset button toggled threshold between min and max slider value
  • Fixed bug where saving a TaylorEQ preset didn’t re-enable song tools and exit buttons
  • Songs have been moved from the Sessions folder to the top-level Documents folder
  • Misc UI improvements and updates
    • GuitarTone improvements:
      Fixed bugs prohibiting saving of edited presets and impeding navigation
    • Improved navigation and behavior with unowned presets loaded (“More Gear Required”)
    • Fixed delay and filter bugs in tape delay FX pedals

And now Blocs Wave gets Ableton Live Export too

Well it’s been a bit of a day for apps adding an ‘export to live set’ feature. The latest is Blocs Wave, a bit of a fav of mine anyway, but this new update takes it up a notch really.

Start your tune in Blocs Wave, recording and tweaking sounds wherever you are. Then when you’re ready, export to Ableton Live. The enhanced integration names your pads, converts them to clips, sets the tempo, clip size, and arranges the sounds neatly onto the powerful Ableton Live Session grid.

For users of other DAWs, Blocs Wave also has a Project export option. This also collects all your sounds, including any tweaks, and creates a folder for you to easily transport them. You can then take this to any other DAW including Logic, Protools, Garageband, or even other apps.

For existing users on iPhone and iPad, this is a free update.

Highlight Features

  • Export all your project sounds to Ableton Live from iPad or iPhone
  • The Grid positions, names, tempo, pad colours are all maintained
  • For Non-Ableton Live users a project Export option can also be used

Other Improvements

  • Other minor improvements & bug fixes

Don’t forget that Blocs Wave is also on sale at the moment with 50% off:

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