keezyiphone

Simple Isn’t Easy: Keezy Drummer is Easy, Free, and – Maybe Too Minimal [iPhone]

Introducing Keezy Drummer from Elepath, Inc. on Vimeo. Here is a plot line we’ve heard before: Musical interfaces are complicated. That makes them unfriendly to beginners. They give you options you don’t need. (So far, no argument.) The solution, of course, is some new product. Each time we hear this plot line, someone talks about it like they’ve discovered it for the first time. This time, it’s Keezy Drummer, a new, simple drum machine app. You can hear them talking to The Verge about why this will change music technology, and why apparently in several decades of drum machines, they’re …

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Auxy Is The Best Piano Roll Editor for iPad Yet – And Not Much Else – By Design [Free]

It’s been asked over and over again: can a simpler software tool attract more people to music making? But the next question is, invariably – what’s the right stuff to leave out? Auxy, released today, is an extreme exercise in app minimalism. It radically reduces what’s in the UI by focusing on making and cueing patterns — and leaving out the rest. It’s also free. Built exclusively for iPad, Auxy centers on a grid as its main screen. You’ve got four tracks in which you can create, edit, then trigger different patterns. Tap on one rectangle, and you draw in …

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Reason 8 Overhauls UI, Adds New Softube Amp Models [Video, Gallery]

Let’s face it: Reason has started to look a little bit crowded lately. What began as a small rack of virtual effects and instruments has grown to add an enormous mixing console. Sequencing features have, since the beginning, been squeezed to tiny lanes at the bottom of the UI. And a browser floated around in a window. Reason 8’s individual parts aren’t so different from Reason versions you’ve seen before. But it’s the way they fit together that has changed – rather radically.

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Minority Report Meets GarageBand: Airborne Beats is Hand-Controlled Music Making

From the Lab: Airborne Beats from Oblong Industries on Vimeo. With hand gestures recalling those that first reached the mainstream in Minority Report, “Airborne Beats” lets you make music just by gesturing with your hands and fingers in mid-air. You can drag around audio samples, and make gestures for control, controlling both production and performance. Coming from the labs at Oblong, it’s the latest etude in a long series of these kind of interfaces (see below). They in turn point out this could work with any time-based interface. And because of the nature of the interface, it also makes those …

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Helix, A Digital Turntable Proposal, in a Visual, Touchable Circle [Kickstarter]

The basic idea of the turntable, its round rendering of sound as a physical object, still attracts fascination. But is there a way to truly make the same metaphor fit digital media? Peter Adany is the latest to try, with a design proposal and mock-up he’s trying to fund for iPad (and Mac and Windows) via Kickstarter. What makes his proposal compelling, like some of the best concepts in this field, is that the results are visual and sensitive to movement. It’s a design that stays true to the geometry and physics of the record that inspired it – rather …

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In Drifting Circles, Ambient Patterns Off the Grid: Sona on iPad, a New Take on Simon

Sona iPad App ECAL/Ruslan Gaynutdinov from ECAL on Vimeo. Like animated graphic scores, software interface is becoming a palette for musical experimentation. Sona is latest, beautiful combination of interface design, musical composition and visualization, and ambient instrument. You’ve seen works like this before, naturally, but this one – recalling the off-the-grid patterns of ambient master Brian Eno – is especially nicely executed. It also illustrates a point: this kind of work is now routinely done as a student project, but then distributed to the world, not only confined to thesis reports or conferences. This also goes a long way to …

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Visual Music: My God, It’s Full of Dots – Yayoi Kusama Meets Musical Design

Tenori-On and iPad apps, hardware designs and visual creations: set against the beautifully-generative mind of Japanese/New York artist Yayoi Kusama, the flurries of dots and circles and patterns in musical interfaces take on a richer meaning. This video, from a workshop hosted at the Tate Modern alongside an exhibition of Kusama’s work, needs little introduction. Instead, the dizzying cuts of geometric abstraction, the array of visual ideas for musical interface begin to take on the same personality of her expansive creations. The galaxies produced out of the minds of musicians somehow overlap with this iconic artist. I hadn’t really made …

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SoundCloud Provides First Look at a New Interface [Gallery]

For all you hear about the primacy of visual culture, you might not expect a Web service exclusively focused on sound to be a big hit. SoundCloud, however, has seen meteoric growth, hitting 10 million users in January. Its interface, however, hasn’t quite grown and matured at the same pace. We’ve seen a lovely-looking new HTML5-based player embed, but the main site hasn’t gotten the same refresh – until now. Yesterday evening, SoundCloud provided press and some members of the public with a first view of the new site. The facelift is organized around even greater focus on SoundCloud’s signature …

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Inside Phaedra, the Analog-Style MIDI Sequencer for iPad

I’m not sure how everyone who owns an iPad uses it for music, but I find myself strangely drawn, more than anything else, to analog step sequencers. With MIDI connections – via a special interface or a standard USB MIDI interface connected via adapter to the tablet – you can even drive hardware. For me, the app of choice has been Little MIDI Machine. Developer Chris Randall has a new application in the analog-style sequencing category, though, called Phaedra. If you haven’t grabbed it already, you have until the New Year to get it for US$4.99 before the price jumps …

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Talking Head: Design and the Musical Tablet, iPad and Beyond

Normally, you hear my voice in words on the screen, so here instead – courtesy the talented video crews at Toronto’s NXNE – is me communicating on camera, prior to a talk on tablets, music, and design. The conversation is one I find myself having with a lot of people these days offline, away from the Web. It goes something like this: “sure, the iPad has been a big thing, and you can obviously do music with it, but what does that mean? Is it going to stay around? Does this change what we’re doing?” For my talk, rather than …

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