NodeBeat and NodeBeat HD are free!

NodeBeat is not only an excellent ambient music generator, it is also an excellent ambient MIDI generator. It even supports Virtual MIDI. This is a great app at it's usual price, and even better free!

Buy NodeBeat HD on iTunes: Free (On Sale, from $2.99)

Buy NodeBeat for iPhone on iTunes: Free (On Sale, from $1.99)

Here is a demo of it in action from Rheyne.

Details from the video:

NodeBeat's generators are sending MIDI notes to a DSI MoPho, two separate instances of NI's Massive (one polyphonic and one monophonic) and NI's Kontakt. Filters, delays, and reverb in Ableton Live are controlled by Lemur on a 2nd iPad, and Moog's Animoog is running on a third iPad. iKaossilator is running on an iPhone 4, providing some chord stabs. NodeBeat's tempo is set to 60bpm, and iKaossilator is set to 120bpm. Ableton's tempo is also set to 120bpm to keep the delays in sync. Nothing was pre-sequenced or pre-recorded for this jam.

TC-11 + Tabla Concert: Idiom

TC-11 developer Kevin Schlei had a concert over the weekend, exploring electronic music with the tabla. Tabla player Hindole Majumdar is excellent in this improvisational jam, with Kevin rocking 3 instances of TC-11.

Thank you very much to MATRIXSYNTH for finding this!

Buy TC-11 Multi-Touch Synthesizer on iTunes: $29.99

Magellan Tutorial #2: MIDI Basics

As the name suggests, this latest tutorial from Yonac is mostly just the basics. Though it does show how to use MIDI to do selective synth coupling of the two synth engines, like I did in the review. They even include a look at iRig MIDI, in addition to USB-MIDI.

Buy Magellan on iTunes: $4.99 (On Sale, Intro Price)

Nord Beat works with Virtual MIDI, kind of.

Nord Beat, released today for free from Clavia, is quite a neat app for minimal and functional drum step-sequencing. I've been playing around with it and although it doesn't officialy support Virtual MIDI, it can be used to drive other apps. There is a big caveat here; it does not run in the background. If you have to switch apps at all, it will stop and close out. This is kind of a pain in the ass, but it will remember changes you've made to your sequences, when you return!

To get it working with other apps you need to make sure of two things.

1. The drum app is open to Network MIDI connections.
2. The drum app is listening on the same MIDI channel Node Beat is Sending.

For most apps this is easy, as they are already listening to Channel 10, the default for drum MIDI. I tested it with MoDrum and bleep!BOX, both worked great. For MoDrum you do need to go the extra step for first enabling Network MIDI and then tell it to listen for notes, but once you do the notes come flying in.

Acoustic Bass Drum 35
Bass Drum 36
Side Stick / Rim 37
Acoustic Snare 38
Hand Clap 39
Electric Snare 40
Close Hi-Hat 42
Low Tom 43
Mid Tom (2) 45
Open Hi-Hat 46
Mid Tom 47
High Tom (2) 48
Crash Cymbal 49
High Tom 50
Ride Cymbal 51

The tricky part is finding the right note numbers for all of the drum parts. Most apps use the General MIDI note mapping, so I made this handy chart.

The bold instruments indicate the most common ones. There are some minor conflicts in some apps. MoDrum's synth snare, for instance, is on the accoustic snare number. The chart should help get you going though.

Buy Nord Beat on iTunes: Free

ThumbJam added to the Buyer's Guide

Several people have pointed out the omission of this classic app. I've now spent quite a lot of time with it and have given it merely an Awesome! rating. I know this is not going to be a popular opinion, but that's the beauty of the guide. You can go leave your thoughts now, or simply insist that I'm out of my fucking mind for not making it Essential.

In my defense I'd like to point out that the focus of the guide is on iPad apps and iPad usage; as I state in the review:

On iPhones this is practically an Essential app, you really can jam with just your thumbs, but on larger iPad screens the experience is a little awkward to play.

It's still amazing for all that it can do, don't shoot!

iPad Music App Buyer’s Guide Rating: Awesome!

Recommendation: For playing sampled instruments, or with Virtual MIDI, there is a lot to like here.

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