Epic Free Synth Frolic

Matt Olgesby put together a great sounding song, using nothing but free iOS Synths. He even made a nice video of the process:

I love this sort of thing! Take what you can get your hands on and make music!

GlitchBreaks is Broken, so here's a Tutorial

I finally had some time to really dig into GlitchBreaks, but I've encountered a tremendous amount of bugs. The severest bugs are related to loops imported via AudioPaste, including a crash-loop that makes the app unusable until the pads.plist file is deleted in iTunes File Sharing. I don't know if these were bugs introduced in the 1.01 update, or if they've always been in there. Either way I can't do a detailed review of something when it is in a state like this.

The bugs are far fewer when playing with the samples that are pre-loaded, and none of them as severe! I'm sure a lot of you bought it already based on my excitement, leading up to the release, and there is already a good review of it on iOS Music and You. I think you'd be better served if I dismiss it and spent my time on a tutorial to help you get the most out of it.

Here's a little ditty I put together, using only the provided loops.

iPad Music App Buyer’s Guide Rating: Meh

Recommendation: GlitchBreaks is buggy, but it is fun and has potential.

Keep in mind Buyer's Guide ratings change over the course of an app's development and are not set in stone! MoDrum, for instance, started off with a "Pass". It is now up to "Friendly" and may even take "Awesome!" with just a little more polish. The reverse is also true when developers abandon apps; technoBox2 is flirting with losing rating if it doesn't get its promised MIDI Clock Sync!


GlitchBreaks works by playing samples through different tempos and loop sizes. You can see where in a sample you're at with the playhead. The grey line in the center of this image:

Watch the Playhead position!

If you want to keep your glitchy mix relatively harmonious, try to flip between samples only when the head is in the middle of a bar, or at least not in the height of a waveform. Alternatively, if you want to get maximum-glitchy-loudness play around with it when the playhead is in the middle of a busy section.

Loop Modulation

The X/Y Loop Mod lets you directly interact with where the playhead is at, in addition to setting loop length. The X-Axis (left-to-right) is controlling the playhead position, while the Y-Axis is controlling loop length. If you put your finger down in the bottom-left it will play from the start of your sample and loop about a bar in length. As you move up the loop length shrinks to a half note, then a quarter note and eventually a tiny 64th note.

There are a lot of interesting sounds to be explored here, but they are different for every sample so some practice is required. It is really easy to get some abrassive sounds when you're playing in the top-half, while the very bottom lets you play with it like a manual tape loop.

I encountered a bug that would keep playing the first bar over of a sample, as if the Loop Mod was in the bottom-left. To stop the Loop just hit the power-button above it, or press either the glitch or cut controllers. This can be played with rhythmically, as it will remember its position. This can create a nice effect if you have a specific sweet spot selected, by simply turning it on and off with power-button.

Glitch and Cut Corners

The Glitch and Cut controllers are split up into quadrants, with each corner having a different result.

The Glitch quadrants each play a different glitchy effect, and sliding your finger around within the quadrant will jiggle the playhead around.

The Cut quadrants retrigger the playing sample to start over based on a 16-step sequence. These sequences can be editted from the panel that appears when you click the gear menu. For every button you highlight the sample will start-over on that note step. So if you have it on every 4th note, it will retrigger a Four on the Floor type of pattern.

This is based on the current BPM, and will be governed by the quantization value. The quantize number represents a note length, before changes you make to the Cut will take effect. 1 is a full bar, while 2 is Half-Note, 4 a Quarter-Note, etc. You probably won't hear much difference beyond 8th or 16th notes, but quantize can be handy in trying to tame things and prevent overly aggressive transitions.

Undocumented Fun!

For the most part you can only play one sample at a time, by selecting the individual pads, but you can glitch-up GlitchBreaks to play more! If you hit the sliders menu button, you'll have sliders volume-sliders appear next to each of the pads. By simply tapping on the volume slider it will start to play the selected sample from the current playhead position! You can have all 4 samples playing at once like this; with all of the glitches goodness and playhead finickiness!

Buy GlitchBreaks on iTunes: $4.99

BassLine 4.0 is out!

Finger's BassLine got a great update today. As you can tell by the version number, it's a big one!

Here's the full feature list:
• MIDI note input
• MIDI controller input
• Gated sequencer mode with real-time pattern transposition
• OMAC Fast Switch sender support
• One-swipe App Switching on iPads running iOS 5
• Audio Sharing via "Open in..."
• Intelligent Background Audio: Avoid battery drain
• iPad Retina graphics

Awesome! BassLine was one of the first (if not, the first) apps to support Virtual MIDI, so it is great to see them keeping pace with other Open Music App Collaboration(OMAC) developments.

I hope more apps will support the Fast Switch to make flipping around between apps easier. Likewise I hope Finger gets MoDrum playing nicer with OMAC apps! I just spent this morning trying to provide tech support for someone who had MoDrum picking up Genome clocks when clock input was off... (Hi Maria!)

Now go get your Acid jam on!

Buy BassLine on iTunes: $3.99

New Multitasking with windows on iOS!

Marcus over at Brazilian site Music Apps has news of a great new jailbreak app! Quasar, $10 on Cydia, allows for apps to be windowed. You can resize them with ease and have apps sitting next to each other! Check out this demo video, that has GeoSynth controlling iMS-20 via MIDI Bridge, while simultaneously playing Animoog.

Perhaps most impressive is the fact that he's doing all of that on an old iPad 1! Google Translate does a poor job of Portuguese to English, so I don't want to try speculating too much on what all is said. Here is the full article.

Arctic Keys Updated!

Arctic Keys got an interesting update today! In addition to some bug fixes, One Red Dog have "incorporated new Unison Mode technology". One of my chief criticisms was the way Unison Mode was handled in the early versions, but they addressed those months ago. I look forward to playing with this new version to see what they've changed!

They're a sponsor, but no bullshit, Arctic saved me $700 on Easter. I was seriously tempted by the Guitar Center Easter sale that brought the price of the Moog Slim Phatty down to Moog Minitaur territory. Before I ran out and bought one though, I did my research and listened to some patches people had made on the Phatty. I then reproduced even Phattyier versions of them on Arctic. Slim Phatty's don't have Unison! The name suggests cool sounds, but I've gotten some very warm analog patches out of this.

Buy Arctic Keys on iTunes: $4.99

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