Traktor DJ on iPhone, Waveforms and Touch, and the Phone As Desktop Companion

Not long after its debut on the iPad, Traktor DJ is available for the iPhone and iPod touch. The surprise is that more or less all the functionality of the bigger iPad version is there, only reorganized visually for the smaller screen. In fact, zoom in on a waveform and it’s the same height in your hand as it is on the iPad mini. You get the same 3-band EQ and filter sections, waveform loop and cue points, time analysis, scrubbing, library browsing and management, and even the same eight effects. NI has been fairly clever fitting that onto a …

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Breeding Beats: Pattern Mutation with Elektron Machinedrum + iPad

For all the variety in synths and control methods, patterns and sequencing often tend to be rather same-y. That’s why it’s wonderful to see things like this short video from Jakob Penca. In it, rhythms mutate and vary, all as clever gestures on an iPad manipulate the beat-making noises of an Elektron Machinedrum. The app is still under development, but it’s nice to see this early glimpse. Description: a quick improvisation demo of my upcoming iOS app for the Elektron Machinedrum. This shows how you can mutate a pattern with copy & paste operations directly on an iPad. This app …

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Orphion is an instrument, merging ideas from percussion and strings into something you can play on the iPad. And now you can create your own layouts and tunings. Images courtesy the developer.

Freehand Playable Circles, in Any Tuning, on iPad: New Orphion Editor

Design is the art of compromise. And so, as the touch tablet asks you to sacrifice some things – velocity sensitivity, physical separation, tactile feedback – it gives back the ability to produce freeform interfaces. The iPad’s downside is that it is a piece of undifferentiated glass; its upside is that that glass can transform into anything you like. That makes it a bit puzzling when it is reduced to a set of fake knobs and faders, which has the advantages of neither physical hardware nor the iPad’s open-ended possibilities. When it was first produced, I praised Orphion as an …

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A DJ App for iPad That’s Modular, For Exactly What You Want: d(- -)b from touchAble Creators

d(- -)b brings the colorful, visual, touchable waveforms that are part of the draw of iPad DJing. But to that, it adds another trick: custom, modular layouts, letting you choose up to six decks, for instance. Two decks, or more decks? Horizontal, or vertical waveforms? Which controls? DJ app designers normally have to make such decisions for their users – and users must, more or less, take what they’re given. Not so with the odly-named, just-released d(- -)b iPad DJ app. Using a grid to neatly-align elements, it lets you choose what you want on-screen, and whether two decks or …

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As a Musician Loses Her Sight, A Rush for Music Apps for the Blind [Hack + Listen]

Take a good, long look at your computer screen. Now imagine you can’t see it. That’s the reality Mandy Matz is facing. At age 36, she’s losing her vision to glaucoma. The musician and multimedia artist makes some beautiful, ethereal music, having cut her teeth on Buzz. Listen to the haunting “Alpha Waves,” her first song. EP by Theory Anesthetic And now, because sight is so deeply connected to the way in which music developers map your brain to software, losing her vision could mean losing her ability to work with digital tools. It shouldn’t be this way. As Paul …

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With Advanced MIDI Controls, Radial Loopseque App on iPad Gets More Interesting

In a world of $5 apps and no upgrade fees, the fear of abandonware casts its shadow on the otherwise lush gardens of the App Store. (The spectre was raised just yesterday by iMaschine lovers eager for new functionality.) Here’s a terrific counter-example. Loopseque was a compelling app when released; we covered its launch and design in 2010, complete with one of my favorite images from an iOS story on CDM, impromptu ballpoint-pen sketches of its circular interface. Loopseque hasn’t just gotten updates. It’s gotten MIDI functionality so rich that it could be worth a second look, even if you …

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Interfacing Music with Light, A Musical Instrument Makes Performance Mysterious, Surprising

24 light sensitive sensors ‘lightefface’ – arduino + max/msp from kaziem on Vimeo. One of my earliest memories is of the piano. We’ve become so accustomed to this contraption, that it’s easy to lose sight of the pleasure of touching the apparatus of the keys and hearing sound. So, perhaps the endless experimentation with sensors and interfaces – whether entirely practical or not – is a chance to rediscover the wonder of the connection of body to sound. For all we might talk about precision in expression or making clear the connection of gesture to noise for player or audience, …

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e_theremin_on_iphone

Look, Ma, Hands: iOS Theremin App Draws from Tannerin, Martenot, Trautonium

So, you want to go beyond conventional, piano-style keys and guitar frets. Even if the ultimate goal is hardware, the touch interface of iOS is a lovely blank canvas on which to experiment. In the latest app, the work of UK-based graphic designer Paul Betowski, the Theremin proves a jumping-off point to other instruments, like the 1928 Ondes-Martenot, 1929 Trautonium, and the instrument used on The Beach Boys’ legendary “Good Vibrations”: the Tannerin or Electro-Theremin. The new app is called the E Theremin – an Electro Theremin – but it owes more to the “Good Vibrations” instrument than the wave-your-hands-in-the-air …

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PPG WaveMapper for iOS, Sequel to Beloved Synth, Adds Graphical ‘Mapping’ [Coming Soon]

It looks like it might be some sort of synthesis board game. But the grid above is actually a way of using touch to design new hybrid sounds. And it could appeal to both newcomers and synth die-hards alike. Wolfgang Palm must really like his iPad. The digital synthesis pioneer, the founder of classic maker PPG and credited with inventing wavetable synthesis, has already had a thunderous debut on the iPad. His PPG WaveGenerator has been one of the best-reviewed synths for Apple’s mobiles yet. But, apparently not resting on his laurels, he’s already back with a sequel, the PPG …

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In-app editing, at last. Without switching to your Mac or PC, you can now edit or create layouts right on Lemur. Images courtesy Liine.

Make Controller Layouts Right on an iPad: New Lemur Arrives, LiveControl 2.0 Soon [iOS; Gallery]

Once the layout is done, using an iPad as an interactive, do-anything-you-want, Star Trek-style music and visual controller is a unique pleasure. But as your fingers surf through virtual knobs and faders, the idea has surely occurred to you: why can’t I actually do my editing and layout on the iPad? Lemur is perhaps the most powerful controller app anywhere, a terrific demonstration of why a tablet controller can be useful. And its editor – directly descended from the editor that went with the original, pre-iPad Lemur hardware – is powerful, unquestionably. But switching between an editor on the desktop …

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