GrainBender updated for Retina

I'm glad to see Burger Kone continues development on Grain Bender, now adding Retina support for the new iPad. This is an app many people in the community enjoy for it's intuitive take on modulation: just bend it!

My review is here for anyone who hasn't picked this up yet:

Buy GrainBender on iTunes: $3.99

Arpeggionome - Tone Matrix app Released

I'm not sure what to make of this, but I know a lot of you like Tone Matrix apps so I thought I'd share this.

Part Monome, part KaossPad, part Arpeggiator, this 8-bit all-in-one wonder looks pretty sexy. It will give the Yamaha TNR-i a run for its money too, at a quarter of the price. I haven't had a chance to play with it yet, so I'm not sure about the sounds this thing has or what sort of sound design options are available.

The App Store entry and website don't provide a lot of details beyond its Arp and performance modes. For performance though, this looks like it would be a lot more dynamic than most Tone Matrix apps.

Some of the feature highlights:
  • Control up to 480 notes per second, nearly 30,000 notes per minute.
  • For expressive changes in pitch, tilt the iPad left and right to apply vibrato.
  • For expressive changes in volume, tilt the iPad forward and backward to apply tremolo.
  • Eight touch-knobs are used to design the Arpeggionome's pattern.
  • Arpeggionome includes a Pattern Library with a wide selection of presets.
  • Includes an interactive tutorial.

There's even a nice demo video that alternates between sounding like the soundtrack for the Legend of Zelda and some wild dance music.

Buy Arpeggionome on iTunes: $4.99

SpaceLab gets Virtual MIDI!

When this $1 mono-synth came out last month I had ignored it - I've already got quite a lot of those, thanks - But I can't ignore any app with Virtual MIDI and background audio support! This update brings both, as well as screen orientation shifting; which will come in handy for digging into all of the many different ways this can be played.

Perhaps most novel is this app's wind instrument mode in which you blow on your iPad/iPhone. I assume that works better on the iPhone, because it just felt goofy blowing in the mic of the iPad. I was also not enjoying the knobs. After playing with it for a bit I still have no idea if the the knob movements are radial, vertical or entirely random.

Still, for a $1 you get some nice sounds out of a decent little mono-synth, with some effects to make it sound mean and analog. The MIDI implementation seems good, but the app crashed on me once. I had to reassign MIDI from my keyboard after the piece-of-shit camera connection kit popped out, and as soon as I re-selected my keyboard the app died. I'm not sure if that is the app's fault or CoreMIDI choking on lossing a source in the middle of playing.

Here's an amusing video from the developer, Iglesia Intermedia.

Buy SpaceLab on iTunes: $0.99

S4 Industrial & Rhythm Composer - New free apps!

Sobal Corporation has been busy! They now have two free apps up on iTunes, that are actually worthwhile. Perhaps even more surprising, they a worthwhile free apps that aren't trying to hit you up for In-App Purchases!

First up, Rhythm Composer, got an update bringing in support for AudioCopy as well as Virtual MIDI. This elaborate groove-machine app has support for up to 64 patterns, making it one of the most versatile rhythm apps. This is right up there with the $20 iElectribe, including similar features such as instrument sound shaping and effects. It is limited too only a few samples, but I'm blown away by the fact that this is free.

Buy S4 Rhythm Composer on iTunes: Free

Following right on the heels of that update is a new app that is also free! Industrial composer offers the same feature set, but this time with some "industrial" samples for your gritty grooves.

Buy S4 Industrial Composer on iTunes: Free

Here are the complete details for both:
  • 10 PCM sound sources (Kick, Snare, Perc1, Perc2, Perc3, Perc4, HHopen, HHclose, Hit1, Hi2)
  • Tempo (40-280 bpm), Tap Tempo, Swing, Groove functions 
  • Step Sequencer (up to 64 steps) 
  • Various Part Effect functions (Compressor, Roller) 
  • Various Master Effect functions (Delay, BPM Delay, Compressor, Distortion, Chorus / Flanger, LPF, Slicer, Roller) 
  • Audio Export function 
  • Real-Time Recoding function 
  • Wireless Sync-Start Technology (WIST) is supported 
  • AudioCopy is supported - CoreMIDI is supported

This is a really impressive feature set for free apps!

Insights from the Mad Scientist behind Grain Science

Wooji Juice developer, Canis (probably his LARPing name), has provided a deep look into his own perspective on Grain Science. This is an oddly unique opportunity to learn how the developer thinks his creation can be used.

Read the entire post here. It is quite long, but I think it is worthwhile for anyone wanting to get more out of Grain Science.

While most folks have been content with recording themselves saying goofy things and making scary sounds, Canis points out that it is entirely possible to make musical sounds too! The article focuses on cropping to hone in on particular tones of interest, and how to fine tune the qualities you're looking for.

Great "order from chaos" kind of stuff! I'd love to see more articles like this from developers.

Here is the "Messing Around With A Mic" that inspired the article. It does a great job of demonstrating the many sounds you can get out of just 4 household recordings.

Buy Grain Science on iTunes: $9.99

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