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Retronyms Build: Wej Control Lightshow

Retronyms released a new Build video, showing off the lightshow produced by their $100 not-quite-a-dock dock. Retronyms is now halfway done with the funding window for the Wej, but sitting at only 31% of the goal.


Matt Hill did a synthtastic jam using a variety of gear and the rarely seen Omnisphere TR Orb on his iPad.

Video Description:

Haven't done one of these for ages, been too long. This was huge fun. Thanks all for subscribing :)

Sorry the video's a bit blurry. In my haste to get this done I forgot to focus the camera. Total n00b mistake! My brain was a bit blurry at the time though, so let's pretend I meant it this way.

Tech Notes for synthnerds:

Drums are Volca Beats through the Minibrute's filter being modulated by the 'brute's internal arp and lfo and controlled in real time. The 4 on the floor kick that comes in later is from the Electribe ESX-1.

There are 2 main arpeggiators running, both using Logic X's arp midi effect but with different settings:
One controls the Voyager, Volca Keys and Volca bass, (the Volcas being used as sound modules, not using their internal sequencers), but all 3 have different mod sources affecting their cutoff freqs and different delay effects.
The second controls the Doepfer Dark Energy which makes the throaty glassy distorted sound, and also has its filter contolled by the Dark Time sequencer. The Dark time sequence also controls the cutoff of the Voyager but inverted using the Moog CP-251.

The pad is Omnisphere, using the Orb interface on the iPad to make it swirl. I'm not ashamed to say it's a preset, because Spectrasonics' presets are works of art - it's called Mercury Rising if you want to play around with it yourself.

Buy Omni TR on iTunes: Free

zMors Update

zMors got an excellent update adding iOS 8 and Audiobus fixes, along with a bunch of free presets from App Sound!

Developer Sven emailed in with this note on the presets:

"The new presets are good starting points for exploring the specific sound possibilities of this app - think of four different sounds and four individual sequencer phrases."

What's new in zMors v1.42:

  • add modulation matrix
  • add iOS8 support
  • update audio bus 2.1.3
  • add additive osc mode
  • smoother automations
  • add more midi cc
  • new presets

Buy zMors on iTunes: $9.99

Harmony Learning

Ganko Tech has released a totally free app for learning harmonies, aptly titled Harmony Learning.

Harmony Learning iTunes Description:

Learn Harmony easily and efficiently, free to download today!
The UI is beautiful and clean for you to use!

In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches (tones, notes), or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic line, or the "horizontal" aspect. Counterpoint, which refers to the interweaving of melodic lines, and polyphony, which refers to the relationship of separate independent voices, are thus sometimes distinguished from harmony.

In popular and jazz harmony, chords are named by their root plus various terms and characters indicating their qualities. In many types of music, notably baroque, romantic, modern and jazz, chords are often augmented with "tensions". A tension is an additional chord member that creates a relatively dissonant interval in relation to the bass. Typically, in the classical common practice period a dissonant chord (chord with tension) "resolves" to a consonant chord. Harmonization usually sounds pleasant to the ear when there is a balance between the consonant and dissonant sounds. In simple words, that occurs when there is a balance between "tense" and "relaxed" moments.

Buy Harmony Learning on iTunes: Free

Hong Kong Danger Duo EP

Reader Aaron Apter has formed the Hong Kong Danger Duo with a guitarist friend. To fill out the band they employ a lot of iOS apps. He included an amusing tale of how they got there:

"Bassists always fuck everything up. When I started a new band with me on drums and a guitarist, we decided that we just didn't want to put up with shit from another flakey bassist, so we resolved to work as just a duo. To fill out our sound live and in the studio, I use various iOS devices and apps. The first EP from my new band, Hong Kong Danger Duo, is just drums, guitar, vocals, and a shit ton of iOS. Sunrizer, Magellan, Animoog, Flitatron, Glitchbreaks, and Voice Synth (used on kick drums for bass lines in conduction with StepPolyArp) are some of the tools I used to help shape our sound.

I've had videos on your site several times before, but haven't submitted anything lately because I felt everything I was doing with an iPad was merely a novelty. I wanted to focus more on making music and less on becoming a youtube hero. So here's my first effort at integrating iOS into my band. I hope you enjoy!"

I did enjoy this quite a lot! Their style is that New School Classic Rock that's been popularized lately by bands like The Black Keys. This EP is quite short, but each track packs in some weighty rock. The mastering is pretty excellent on this one, which is important in this messy-rich spectrum of sounds.