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Midem is just around the corner …

There are always some interesting things at MIDEM and 2017 is no different. I was checking out the categories earlier in the week and I thought it would be worth sharing some of the start ups that are going.

So let’s start with Skoog

I was lucky enough to meet Dr Ben from Skoog in Berlin at MMM2017 in March. He’s one of those people that I’ve been meaning to meet up with for a very long time indeed and it was great to chat about Skoog and mobile music in general. I’m still waiting to get my hands on a Skoog as I’m really interested in experimenting with it to see how I can use it with a wide variety of apps.

Skoog has both an interesting past and future and is the kind of device that could very much lend itself to gestural based music.

Also they’ve got some very nice new software coming up together with a Swift Playground.

Indiegogo Exclusive – Mogo (OSX) Preview from Skoogmusic on Vimeo.

The next is Hum-On!

Which looks like a very interesting if not entirely new idea. I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen other apps that are very similar. Even so, it’s still a good idea and one that could do with exploration.

So, as you can see, there are some good things coming to MIDEM. The two above are just a small sample of what will be at MIDEM this year. Check out the rest here, and if you hear of any other interesting ones, please let me know.

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WWDC17 announced

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Which will be interesting to see what get’s announced. I don’t have high hopes to be honest, I haven’t found these events terribly exciting or inspiring in recent times.

Having said that I’d like to hope that Apple could do something truly innovative. I’ll wait and see.

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So that was SuperBooth

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Just over a week ago I made a slightly last minute decision to visit SuperBooth in Fez Berlin. I could only make it for a day but I thought that it would be worth it. A few years back I went to Musik Messe in Frankfurt and that was pretty cool, so I was interested to see what SuperBooth would be like.

As far as I can tell SuperBooth is going to really take over from Musik Messe in terms of the synth world at least. It was literally packed with every kind of synth you could possibly think of. I had the whole day to check stuff out, but I think I still managed to miss a few things.

So here are some of the highlights from my day.

Bastl instruments (makers of the amazing and tiny Kastle synth) had an excellent booth with some new products. They had a lot of very cool stuff to play with as well. I was especially impressed with the ‘Dude’, a tiny mixer that the Bastl guys were using on their stand. Stay tuned for more information on this device.

Next I visited Soulsby Synths. You might remember that I interviewed Paul Soulsby when the original Atmegatron appeared. Soulsby synths have come a long way since then, and their product portfolio has become quite substantial too.

One of the highlights of going to events like SuperBooth is to meet up with people who I haven’t seen in ages. It was great to catch up with the guys from Musik App Manufaktur, which is made up from Triqtraq, Modstep, Elastic Drums and zMors. I also bumped into Rolf (Mr nLog) who I haven’t seen in ages and ages.

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Another highlight was seeing a bit more of the OP-Z, which I believe is going to be a big hit when it comes out. This is the first time I’ve seen it with an accompanying app too, but I apologise for the dreadful picture.

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Another thing I wanted to check out was the Tracktion Waveform running on a Raspberry Pi. The Tracktion guys had it set up but didn’t have any audio running out, which was a bit of a shame really. It looked good, but until I can hear it I don’t really have an opinion on how this thing works. I’m hoping to get it up and running on my Pi3 soon and even get it working with the Pi Octo Sound, which arrived last week. Anyway, enough of that for now.

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Lastly I thought I’d visit the Craft synth booth to have a look at this little DIY synth, but the guys on the booth didn’t seem very interested at all, which was a shame really. I would’ve liked to have got to know a bit more about this synth.

So that was SuperBooth. It was a lot of fun and I’ll definitely go again next year. If you can make it then you certainly should too.

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SuperBooth starts tomorrow, and it’s looking pretty amazing

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SuperBooth is one of those events that I’ve been meaning to get along to for ages now, and this year I’m going, just on the Friday, so if you’re going to be there be sure to say hi!

If you don’t know about SuperBooth then it’s well worth checking out the site here. The exhibitor list is pretty impressive and as far as I can see just about everyone is going to be there, and this year, PalmSounds will be there too.

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If you’re in London on the 5th of April you might want to come along to KRFT Jam!

I’ve said it before, and almost certainly (well certainly) I’ll say it again. I really like KRFT. It’s a pretty awesome way to make music. If you feel the same, and if you’re in London next week on the 5th then you should come along to the KRFT Jam.

When: April 5th 6:00-9:30pm
Where: Forest Rd Tap Room, London, E8 3RL

If you don’t know KRFT, then you need to check it out. If you can’t make it, I promise to take some pictures, maybe some video too.

KRFT on the app store:

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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.