Looking forward to trying out Mogees Play

I got this a little while ago and so far haven’t had any time to even get it out of the box. However, I may have some time this weekend to give it a go and if I do I plan to see what it’s like against the original Mogees as I backed both.

I’ll let you know.

Meeting Basslet

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You may remember the Basslet, it Kickstarted not so long ago raising €599,950! Which is pretty impressive, especially as it is the kind of device that I think really needs to be experienced to be understood. Well I got a brief chance to do just that last week, at the Berlin Pop-Up store in Soho.

And Basslet is fun, I can say that for sure. It’s quite a different experience from any other. Whilst it looks a bit like a watch of course it isn’t, and in some ways that was a bit disconcerting. Having said that, I did find the experience quite unique. Basslet claim that the experience is akin to being by the subwoofer at a gig. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it is a different and in many ways deeper listening experience. In some ways I found in almost off-putting to be able to feel the bass in just my wrist. I did wonder what it would be like to have one on each wrist. Perhaps that would balance the experience?

Anyway, I can safely say that it works, it is an interesting experience, and whilst not for me personally I think, I can see this having appeal to a lot of people.

Poison-202 Vintage MIDI Synthesizer 1.2 is pretty big

Well it certainly seems that Poison-202 doesn’t pull punches in any way at all. In this second update to the app we’ve got a massive list of new features as you can see below, plus a lot of fixes too. Not bad for an app that’s only been around for 3 months.

Here’s what’s new:

  • added Midi Learn feature. To enter it, tap 3 times on any knob or fader control. When done, tap WRITE button to save changes.
  • added ability to Export / Import user preset sound banks using iTunes File Sharing system (look in Settings page);
  • added ability to merge user presets banks;
  • maximum number of user presets is raised to 300;
  • added “Poison-202” Virtual Midi In Port;
  • 10 new patches added to factory Bank B;
  • added new Bank C with 17 drum patches;
  • added background audio idle timer (adjustable from Settings page);
  • added default midi mapping (can be changed using Midi Learn);
  • fixed: audio units midi program change event issue;
  • fixed: issue with midi note off event, appeared when working with Geo Synth;
  • fixed: preset number related issues in audio units, which could cause crashes under Garage Band;
  • master volume and patch gain changes are now interpolated (no clicks);
  • delay time parameter change is now interpolated;
  • other minor improvements.

The new OP-1 OS arrives, adds PO Sync mode and much more

Which is great, and also makes me slightly sad as I’ve leant mine to a friend and won’t see it again or be able to try out any of these lovely new features for more than a month! And the most exciting feature of all is the PO sync mode! How amazing is that going to be! I’m going to have to wait an age to try it out!

Never mind, for all of you who own one (and have it to hand) here’s what’s new:

  • arpeggio sequencer added.
  • voltage synth added.
  • tape loops now automatically crossfaded.
  • tape effect chop twice as short + also works at tape start/stop position and across loop wrap.
  • FM radio press green encoder to autotune.
  • endless sequencer extended to 128 steps.
  • tremolo LFO updated with extra waveforms.
  • PO sync mode added.
  • tempo nudge when running on external tempo.
  • all new user contributed presets, based on the previous updates throughout the years. thanks for the massive support from the global OP-1 community!
    and more…

Of course, we all await more details on the forthcoming OP-Z, and perhaps there’ll be news in the not too distant future …

Elastic Drums 1.9.4 arrives

I’m a big fan of Elastic Drums, and I always have been since it first arrived. So much so that I noticed that the app’s store page has a quote from me on it.

Palm Sounds: “I have to say that I’ve been completely impressed by this iPhone drum machine. In terms of sound, in terms of design, and in terms of functionality. It is amazing.”

I stand by that, and I’d go further too, as Elastic Drums has gone from strength to strength and continued to develop and improve. Even small updates like 1.9.4 are a cause for a little celebration.

So here’s what’s new in the latest version:

  • 80 new samples from Berlin musician Phon.o (http://www.phon-o.com)
  • Improved knob and automate behavior in song mode
  • Bass synth was playing 1 octave too high in old presets with pitch modulation
  • When changing the master tempo X in song mode (mix screen), the sequencer could act weird, repeating or even stopping
  • Fixed copy seq+instr bug with copying channel data to another pattern
  • Reworked XY control – please double check, if effects and jam page still work as they did before

Pioneer brings us WeDJ for iPhone

In amongst all the special deals for this weekend Pioneer have released a new app, WeDJ for iPhone arrives and is available for free until November 28. After that, the app will be available at it’s normal price of €0.99.

According to Pioneer it’s easy to start mixing on the intuitive app, which inherits hardware traits including a two-channel user interface with waveforms, jog wheels, play/cue buttons, tempo sliders and crossfader. You can use the Sync button to get your tracks perfectly in time and Auto Gain to automatically set the volume to the right level, leaving you free to use the performance features including Hot Cues, loops, Pad FX and Combo FX to make your mix unique.

There’s even an Automix feature to mix tracks at the touch of a button. And to take your WeDJ performances to the next level, you can connect the new DDJ-WeGO4 controller for tactile control of the app’s features.

KEY FEATURES

  • Colourful animated user interface for intuitive control
  • Performance features for endless creativity
  • “DDJ-WeGO4” and “DDJ-WeGO3” support for tactile control
  • Flexible layout – Choose the layout you like best, with two options for jog wheel position and displaying waveforms horizontally or vertically.
  • Automix – Press the Automix button and WeDJ will start mixing in the next track automatically.
  • Record – Capture your performances within the WeDJ app.

WeDJ for iPhone is free on the app store right now:

PocketCHIP does music making, and Phase is one of the first apps specifically built for it

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If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about when I mention the PocketCHIP that’s fine. CHIP was kickstarted in June of last year, and units started getting to backers a few months ago. One of the builds of CHIP was the PocketCHIP which you can see above with the nice round silver buttons on it. In the picture, the PocketCHIP is running Phase.

New platforms are important, and what signalled to me that PocketCHIP was going to be potentially noteworthy was that it shipped with an app that we all know and love, SunVox, and it runs very well on this device too. Since then there have been quite a few moves to port existing apps to PocketCHIP. In the main these have been older bits of software like MilkyTracker, PicoLoop etc. People are even trying to get Pd running on the PocketCHIP, which could be fun. But, as far as I’m aware, nothing new (I could be wrong there of course).

That is, nothing new until now. Phase is the first new music app for the PocketCHIP as is from one of my favourite developers Erik Sigth who has brought us amazing apps on iOS like nils, frekvens, shapeSynth and strng. Erik has also moved into Android as well, but as far as I know this is the first thing he’s produced for PocketCHIP, and it’s very much up to his normal high standards.

So what is Phase?

Well you can read about it on Erik’s site, but in a nutshell:

“Phase is a phase distortion synthesizer written for the pocket chip. It has two individually tuned oscillators with controls for ring modulation, adsr, 4 – 32 point phase distortion, 8 point pitch adsr and distortion adsr. Further shape the sound with a stereo delay, phaser and chorus. Play the three playmodes: 4 voice polyphonic, monophonic or arpeggio with the pocket chip keyboard or by plugging in a usb midi device. “

It’s probably easier to see it though:

Whilst a device like PocketCHIP is never going to be as polished as an iOS device it does have one big advantage, and this is that it’s open. Being open means that it will hopefully see a lot more experimental apps arrive for it that we wouldn’t see elsewhere.

I hope that more developers start to experiment with PocketCHIP and that we see more high quality apps like Phase arrive that open up the hardware to a different group of musicians. Who knows, I may even have a go myself!

My personal view is that more hardware platforms give us more choice and a wider range of creative possibilities, and that can only be a good thing. PocketCHIP isn’t the only option of course, but given its highly portable nature it feels like a good fit and a useful way to step out of the mainstream app economy to play with something that’s a bit different.

I hope that PocketCHIP has a musical future. I’ll be watching it closely, and I’ll let you know how it unfolds.

 

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