NitroTracker, DS Music Tool, Now Open Source

One of the most beloved tools in Nintendo DS homebrew has become free software, under the GPL v3. Talk about restrictive platforms – the DS requires special hardware just to get this app to run. But even with a couple of people involved in development, that could mean better, more frequent updates. I also wonder if we might see this largely-native code ported or adapted to another platform. (It’d work especially well with hardware that’s got a stylus.) The code release is not for everyone, as indicated by the phrases that mark the site: Do you write VBlank handlers instead …

READ MORE →

TouchDJ Arrives for iPhone

You’re now approved to DJ with your iPhone. Or at least the app is. I’m not sure if I can take credit for getting Apple’s attention, but Apple has approved the TouchDJ application from Amidio. That’s big news, partly because developer Amidio has consistently been at the forefront of musical development on the platform, including their Noise.io synth and wild hexagonal JR Hexatone Pro. This also is a big blog to the theory that Apple is intentionally blocking DJ apps — and a big boon to the theory that the App Store is just plain clogged, even if it may …

READ MORE →

Multi-Player Drumming: Handheld Open-Source Music for Nintendo DS

It’s drumming, the multi-player game. The Drummer is an open-source application for the Nintendo DS handheld, developed by Andrea Bianchi and Woon Seung Yeo and presented alongside a paper earlier this year at the NIME Conference (The International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression). As with any Nintendo homebrew software, you’ll need a special DS cartridge capable of loading software from flash memory – though if this app were developed more, it could make a terrific DSi app. The idea is this: while making a handheld game system into an instrument, why not take advantage of its networking features? …

READ MORE →

iPhone Day: Star6 Demonstrates Elegance of Mobile UI, Live Mobile Music with Style

The novelty of the iPhone or [your favorite device here] may fade. But part of what matters in mobile design is thinking about how to create interfaces and uses that can scale to the size of your palm. That can mean embracing radical simplicity, and reducing an interactive, digital musical object down to its essential noise-making functions. In acoustic instrument design, that means economizing sound production in a form. In the digital world, it means finding the interactive role you’d want to bring with you onstage, in the length roughly equivalent your fingertips to your wrist. I’m a few weeks …

READ MORE →

Inside Beaterator, Rockstar Games’ New PSP Beat Maker, with Gory Technical Bits

What’s that? A full-blown synth interface on the PSP – in a title from the makers of GTA, with Timbaland’s named plastered all over it? Yep. That’s exactly what it is. As you may know, the creators of games like Grand Theft Auto have collaborated with Timbaland to bring a mobile music studio to Sony’s PSP (and later, the iPhone), based on an ambitious free Flash experiment on their Website. Now, it’s my impassioned belief that you shouldn’t need lots of canned loops or celebrity endorsements to make music fun, so normally I might actually run the opposite direction of …

READ MORE →

Korg DS-10 Plus Coming, with Beefed-Up Features for Nintendo DSi

Fans of the Nintendo DS may have been immune to the siren song of Nintendo’s tweaked DSi model. Unfortunately, I have a feeling a bunch of you are about to upgrade your handheld game system. Why? Because the folks at AQ Interactive are doing an upgraded version of the DS-10 software synth for the game platform, now on the DSi. Palm Sounds gets the scoop. New in this version: Twice the analog synths (4 of them, instead of 2) Twice the drum machines (8 instead of 4) Twice the tracks (12 instead of 6) Expanded song mode: programmable track mute, …

READ MORE →

HTC Touch Pro as a Portable Beat Sequencer, with Windows Mobile, AudioBox

It’s easy enough to dismiss mobile music devices as toys, and I’d add, there’s really nothing wrong with toys. But the test – a personal one – is whether or not you can develop your musical ideas with them. Some of the deepest, most consistently satisfying tools for mobile devices are the ones that shrink down real production capabilities to a handheld size. Look closely at these apps, and you’ll see software that could easily have passed for “advanced” sequencers on computers fifteen years ago. (Indeed, I think arguably we’ve lost some usability with the complexity we’ve added since.) While …

READ MORE →

CellDS: Lua-extensible Grid Sequencer for Nintendo DS

We’re seeing all sorts of musical sequencer creations with grids, from software to hardware like the Monome and Yamaha Tenori-On. But, of course, the whole beauty of a grid is that you could map to it whatever you like. Maybe you want your sequencer to work differently than someone else’s sequencer. CellDS, from the creator of the popular, glitchy sample-playing homebrew DS apps glitchDS and repeaterDS, is a new DS sequencer. Out of the box, it’s already very usable. Six sequence lines play back either one of the 175 included sounds or sounds you convert for use on the DS. …

READ MORE →

Trinity’s Indamixx, Fully Mobile Music Studio with EnergyXT and Ardour – Take Note, Developers

Trinity, the folks who have been pushing the notion of a Linux-based handheld audio studio for some time now, have launched a full product today. It’s called the Indamixx Mobile DAW, and it’s a full software studio running on Samsung’s Q1 Ultra (formerly known as an Ultra Mobile PC). In fact, it might more accurate to say that it’s multiple DAWs, as you have various, full-blown software choices you can use pre-optimized on a handheld computer. For anyone unimpressed by people tapping on iPhones and such, this is the real thing. Software includes, among other things: Just-added special version of …

READ MORE →

Big Updates for Handheld Homebrew Music: NitroTracker 0.4, PSPSeq 3, PSP Rhythm 8

iPhone what? There’s big stuff happening in homebrew music development for Nintendo DS and PSP. NitroTracker 0.4 (Now) First up, on the uber-popular Nintendo DS, NitroTracker 0.4 adds some big features. Creator Tobias Weyand writes: I wanted to tell you that I just released NitroTracker v0.4 with lots of new features and improvements, the coolest ones being sample looping and stylus-drawable volume envelopes. You can basically just record a sound, make it loop, draw an envelope, and there you have your instant instrument. Sample looping is interesting, too – you can loop forward or, as in many video samplers, ping-pong …

READ MORE →