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That was MMM2017 and it was pretty amazing

The International symposium MOBILE MUSIC IN THE MAKING 2017 was last weekend and I was lucky enough to get along to speak at it, to meet people, to catch up with long time friends, and to put some faces to names who I’ve known for a long time. As so often happens with events like this you don’t really know what to expect until you’re there, but MMM2017 exceeded any expectations I had by a long way, which is a tribute to Matthias Krebs and the team of the Research Center for Mobile Music Making and App Music and the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) that worked with him for months to make it such an amazing event for everyone involved.

Gathered there was a fantastic mix of developers, musicians, academics and more besides. The range of talks, demonstrations, and performances was excellent, and if anything I just wish I could have gone to more of it, but sadly I still lack the ability to be in more than one place at a time.

So for now I’m just going to pull out the highlights for me personally, and I’ll start with meeting someone who I’ve wanted to meet in person for a very long time.

Yep, it’s Mr Jakob Haq in person. It was wonderful to meet him on the Friday when I arrived (very late) and have a catch up. You can also see in the first picture Dr Ben Schogler from Skoog. More about him and about Skoog later. Jakob and I managed to catch up a few times over the weekend, but as you can imagine it just wasn’t enough so I’m going to have to get to meet up with him again I think.

The Saturday of MMM2017 was the big day for me. I was speaking a couple of times, but also there were some amazing sessions I really wanted to get to, so let’s go over a few of those.

Firstly there was AudioBus 3:

AudioBus 3 is coming soon. As far as I know it’s due to drop on the 28th (apologies, this should be the 27th) of this month, so there isn’t too long to wait. The big new features in AB3 are MIDI and a Mixer. Sebastian’s talk focussed on their journey to AB3 which was really interesting. You might wonder why MIDI is such a big deal, but as Sebastian explained, every app treats MIDI differently. Getting one single way to configure MIDI via AB3 is going to make a huge difference, at least in my view anyway.

Another interesting view from Sebastian’s talk was around the UI/UX approach they’ve taken with AB3. It’s very user focussed indeed and from I could see I think it will make the creative interaction when using AB3 a lot easier and less distracting.

Sadly we weren’t able to see the mixer in AB3 but as there isn’t long to wait now it’s something else to look forward to.

Next was Hari, the maker of the AC Sabre. Hari talked about the idea and evolution of the concepts behind the Sabre, which was really interesting even though I’ve heard him give a shorter version of this talk before. He was of course very entertaining and enlightening. The only downside was that I didn’t get to see Hari perform, which is always a joy.

As I mentioned before it was a slightly unexpected pleasure to meet Ben from Skoog at MMM2017. I’ve known of the Skoog for a very long time now although I’d never got my hands on one. I found it intriguing to hear Ben talk about the process that they went through to develop the device and how it got to where it is now. It’s definitely something that I want to follow up on and try out personally as well. I think that the Skoog has some really unusual potential as an instrument in a lot of settings. Expect to hear more about it in the coming weeks.

If you want to find out more about Skoog you should check out their web site and also they have a swift playground that you can use on your iPad too.

Next was Russell from Trackd. Trackd is a collaborative 8 track recorder / mixer for iPhone that’s getting some real attention. It allows users to collaborate with each other from anywhere in the world. I’ve mentioned Trackd before, originally when they pitched at Music Tech Pitch last year, and also around the work they’re doing with Dave Stewart and in education.

Russell talked through the background to the app and a little bit around where he wants to go next with this. Personally I think that Trackd has a bright future ahead and will be a very useful tool for a whole host of musicians from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences. Again, you’ll be hearing more about this soon.

With events like MMM2017 one of the most import things to do is just to be around. People are always showing new ideas, apps etc, and one such app is PolyJam. You can take a look at the app as it’s beta now, click here and scroll down.

I got a chance to try out PolyJam and was impressed at its immediacy, simplicity, accessibility and just how much fun it was to use. So I’m really looking forward to seeing it for real and hopefully bringing it into some of the work I do at Heart n Soul as well.

Peter Kirn gave a really good talk about libPd and reminded me of the original RJDJ apps and the origins of using Pd in mobile. I found this very inspiring indeed and he touched on apps like MobMuPlat and PdParty which I really need to revisit.

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I was lucky enough to invited to speak at MMM2017 and I gave two talks. The first of which was around the work we do at Heart n Soul in digital music making with people with disabilities. This was part of the education strand of the event, which I wish I’d had more time to be a part of. I’m hoping that it won’t be too long before the videos of the event come out and when that happens I’ll be sure to share those with you.

I also gave a talk about the future of mobile music where I shared some themes and topics that I think are important to what’s happening in mobile and where we might go next. I’m not going to go through all of those here as I think that they deserve their own space. So I’ll do something separate on those soon.

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At the end of the event there were a bunch of totally excellent performances. All very different, all made with mobile. I just wish there’d been more. I think there could’ve been a while day of performances alone.

Finally I’d just like to round off with how nice it was to meet people at MMM2017. There were so many people that I caught up with, either for the first time in person, or after a long gap. It was awesome.

Events like MMM2017 are so important for sharing ideas, for meeting and getting to know each other. I hope that MMM continues and that we see an MMM2018 too. I’d love to be involved. For now it’s worth taking a look the conference site and especially the ‘flashback’ page which will continue to be updated with photos and video soon enough.

I’ll leave you with one quote from an attendee right at the end of the conference, “It’s like finding a family that you didn’t know you had”. I think that’s spot on.

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Retronyms brings iMPC to Android

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Or to be specific to Samsung devices running Android. I’m also slightly confused as they’ve kept the name as iMPC and not changed it to something more appropriate like aMPC? Anyway, at the very least it it good to see something new for Android users and to see Retronyms branch out into the Android world.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“We are excited to release our collaboration with Samsung and Akai Professional! iMPC is available now on Samsung Galaxy Apps Store.

With more than 1,200 samples, 50 editable programs, 80 editable sequences and iconic MPC workflow, iMPC is the first app to bring all the functionality of a classic Akai Professional MPC to the Samsung Galaxy Apps Store.

“With the iMPC, users can create and manipulate beats and sequences with amazing precision and creativity,” said Dan Gill, Product Manager for Akai Professional. “It’s simple to use, and has all the flexibility and options anyone could ever want—and then some.” We can’t wait to see what you create.”

You can find iMPC for Android on the Samsung store here.

To celebrate Retronyms have a bunch of iOS stuff on sale, including some stuff inside Tabletop and also Hook for iPhone and iPad are on sale.

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Wotja Pro 2017 – Generative Music & Cut-up Text 4.2 arrived

As a long time fan of Intermorphic’s work it’s nice to see the development of their apps into Wotja (pro and subscription). With version 4.2 they’ve brought in the functionality from Liptikl (an app I had a lot of fun with) directly into Wotja. This is pretty cool. Everything is now in one place and it makes a lot of sense.

Anyway, they can explain it much better than I can. Here’s what they’ve got to say about version 4.2.

NEW CUT-UP TEXT FEATURE:
The Cut-Up Text Editor app that was branded Liptikl 2 for iOS is now fully integrated into Wotja and accessible via a new “Words” tab. It can be useful for helping to break “Writer’s Block” and is a great fit for the reflective music that Wotja creates. Amongst many other things it can randomly select words drawn from a word pool comprising up to 5 different bodies of text and/or an editable User Word Library and/or an editable Wotja Word Bank. Of the cut-up it creates, it lets you lock words you want to keep before you randomise again and lets you select on-screen cut-up alternatives to quickly change single words. See the updated Wotja User Guide.

  • The 3 Cut-Up sub-views (Sources, Create, Cut-ups) are selected via a segment control at the top in the Words tab.
  • Wotja can open Liptikl files (for it to find them just copy them to your Wotja iCloud folder) but an *active subscription tier is required for the Liptikl File data to be utilised or resaved*.
  • Liptikl files display with special red icon until resaved.
  • Once resaved as a Wotja file, the thumbnail shows the cut-up text in red on a white background (i.e. the standard Liptikl colour scheme) meaning they will start-off look pretty much as they did in Liptikl for iOS.
  • When a new Random Mix is created any TTM voice can now be populated with random words coming from the user-editable Wotja Word Bank, the number of words being added determined by two new Randomization properties found in Randomisation Settings.
  • The TTM Text Editor (Voices > TTM > Text) now includes a powerful Randomise facility that lets you either Shuffle Words (those already there), Shuffle Text (jumble up the characters) or populate with new Random Words, these being selected by the ITE from a word pool consisting of the user-editable Wotja Word Bank and any Sources or optional Word Library you might have configured for that file.

CHANGES / IMPROVEMENTS:

  • Design tab moved to far left and Design tab moved to far right.
  • Now we’ve included Words tab for the Cut-Up Editor, the TTM icon in Design Screen panel selector has been changed to better represent TTM (Text to Music).
  • So you can set what text is shown in the File thumbnail we changed the “Text” button in the Display Tab to display a pop up menu: “Show Text from TTM Voices”, “Show Text from Words” and “Change Text Color”. When “Show Text from TTM Voices” is selected, you can prevent that text from displaying in Voices > TTM > Display.
  • To make it easier to create interesting new mixes right from the off, the Templates screen “Random?” toggle defaults to on for a new installation and with Paks “WJ4 TTM Players” and “WJ4 Gen Backings” selected.

NOTES:

  • We have yet to figure-out how to make the locking of words in the Words “Cut-Up” section accessible to VoiceOver users. That might take a while to resolve.

SUGGESTIONS?
Please provide them via our forum or through our website contact form. We’re always improving Wotja, so thanks for your support and interest!

BUNDLES
We have created a iOS bundle to help aid Noatikl, Mixtkl, Liptikl for iOS and previous bundle customers who may be considering whether or not to transition to Wotja Pro 2017 for iOS, a *non-subscription version* of Wotja. See https://intermorphic.com/bundles.

WotJa Pro on the app store: