At first when Iphone app’s came into existence the only app’s you ever saw were cheesey imitations of musical instruments like the Ocarina which were not really up to scratch for anyone looking to get substantial practical use out of them.
Cue the inevitable stream of youtube videos depicting awkward floppy haired geeks blowing and poking their phones, and looking very pleased with themselves. Of course the hype didnt end there and you had entire iphone bands emerging; meaning that instead of having to deal with those annoying kids sat playing N-Dubz full blast at the back of the bus, passengers could be forced to endure entire iphone karaoke concerts aboard any type of public transport. Not to mention Iphone Orchestras ,and whatever the hell these guys are doing.
Luckily times change and nowadays you can find some really high quality applications to satisfy your need for music at your fingertips. We have knocked together a list of five apps that we think will see you in good stead should you want to get more interactive with your music or like the idea of taking production out of the studio.
No.1 – TouchOSC from Hexler.net
Whether your a Dj, Vj, Producer or Programmer you can find use in this awesome tool available on Iphone, Android and Ipad.
With TouchOSC you can send out OSC and midi messages via Wifi to your computer and then create custom setups in a secondary program (eg OSCulator) for whatever you are looking to control. If you havent got wifi you can get a Line6 Midi mobilizer which allows you to send midi straight from an ipad or iphone directly to your equipment via a set of midi cables. We cant stress enough how good this app is! It is responsive, totally customisable and already has a large number of people using it in completely new and diverse ways. It comes with its own editor which you can draw in your own controls to suit to preferred setup and now features the ability to label them aswell so you can sleep sound that you wont forget half of the assignments by the next day.
For the full lowdown check out their website where you can get more info and pick up the app for a minimal £2.99.
No.2 – Korg IElectribe
Slightly pricier but still a bargain at £13.99 is the Korg iElectribe virtual analog beatbox. A faithful emulation of the classic Korg Electribe SX drum machine with a few added extras. This app has made us think twice about buying the real thing now! I was debating on buying one of these recently and your looking anywhere from £300 – £400 new or around £200 – £300 second hand on ebay. So you could actually buy an ipad and this app and still be saving a good chunk of cash over just buying the hardware new.
Downsides – It currently doesn’t have midi output capabilities and you cant overlay effects which was possible in hardware versions of the electribe.
Upside -The newest update means that you can now wirelessly link two ielectribes together for synced up jamtime with a friend, aswell as external midi input caperbilities now possible by connecting your nanokontrol or nanopad directly to you ipad for instant midi control of parameters. Lastly the ability to export your audio sessions to soundcloud or your computer with minimum fuss means you can record all your work to use in sets or producion later on down the line, or just to listen to.
No.3 – Konkreet Performer
Stunning visual control over your midi controls is what konkrete is championing with alot of other apps toying around with the idea and not quite getting there, Performer uses multi-touch technology to the full. Instead of traditional faders and knobs,you use multi-touch and gestures to manipulate PERFORMER’s beautiful shapes to dynamically control your computer’s software instruments in real-time.
In the studio, it allows the artist to approach their sound-design routine from a new, inspiring angle: to reconnect to their software instruments and Digital Audio Workstations by using Performer’s revolutionary interface and arriving at sounds and progressions impossible with traditional controllers.
Currently $24.99 in the Itunes store and is only available for ipad and works similar to TouchOSC by sending OSC messages via Wifi.
This app looks like it wold be a lot of fun for creating new and interesting sound textures aswell as experimenting with huge effects chains or even with Vjing come to think of it. One thing is sure, it looks awesome!
No.4 – Reactable by Reactable Systems
Next up is a re-interpretation of the award winning Reactable which since its conception in 2003 has received international acclaim and has been making music nerds everywhere hungry to try this futuristic way of making sounds and music.
Now available on Android , Iphone and Ipad for $9.99 you can use icons instead of blocks to add layers and modulate parameters within the program creating all sorts of crazy bleeped out wierdness. It takes some skill to get tunes to build out of the seemingly endless combination of effects and oscillators and the interface does take some getting used to. But that said you can have alot of fun and the cost of buying a hardware Reactable puts it out of the price range of the majority of people (normally 9700 euros). Space age music tech just got affordable with this ground breaking approach to making tunes.
No.5 – Music Stave by Farnell Computer services ltd
The Last offering is maybe not as flashy as the others on the list but it still ranks because of how incredibly useful it is.
Magic Stave listens to you singing or playing an instrument and displays the notes played on a music stave and shows the note position on a piano keyboard or guitar fretboard. This can be really useful for tuning many types of instrument, like for instance a kalimba which i successfully did recently using this app. Instantly find out what notes are being played while practicing and see where you go out of tune or hit wrong notes.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of this app is the ability to record yourself singing/ humming or playing a tune and actually capture the notes as a midi clip which you can then email to yourself and import straight into your DAW of choice (ideal if your not the most clued up on music theory). This feature alone makes this a worthwhile purchase for £1.99 since this will allow you to record your ideas anytime anyplace and might even improve how people learn theory, as you can instantly transport an idea to the piano roll without searching for the notes and losing inspiration mid way through.Currently only available for iphone.
If you found this useful then we recommend you check out one last app, and that is our own Personal Com64 app which keeps you up to date with everything going on over here on the site and gives you instant access to the newest music and art that gets uploaded. Aswell as that it acts as a bookmark for the media archives and audio player here on tour site. So instead of looking us up and clicking loads of links to get what you want (which is annoying when your on a phone) get the Com64 BeepA and you have direct links to all the good stuff right from the word go! Free on Iphone and Android Check it out