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simon.phoenix - Balcony Session Part One

I hate cabbage. Cabbage is the thing that ruins eggrolls for me, and I really really want to like eggrolls. I'm also not a fan of pickling, and the very idea of "fermented foods" makes my stomach turn. Despite these facts, I fucking love sauerkraut. I'm half-German. Sauerkraut on bräts makes my heart play a triumphantly boisterous rendition of Ride Of The Valkyries while shouting, "Deutschland über alles!"

If you think you don't like Acid, and you feel that ambient is too boring, I invite you to challenge your own preconceptions with this impressive bit of Ambient Acid by simon.phoenix!

Video Description:

It was time to finally remove dust from my old alter ego and share new ambient piece from simon.phoenix. Have a nice listening.
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Few technical pointed about software and hardware for geeks like me:
- Roland TB-03 as baseline is going through Behringer UCA-222 into iPad
- iOS Koala App with Rav Vast Drum samples
- iOS AUM app as mixer
- iOS Audio Damage Dubstation 2 App as send delay
- iOS Audio Damage Eos 2 App as send reverb
- AUM was recording full session for pristine audio quality
- Video recorded with Gopro 7 White
- Video montage done in iOS Luma Fusion App

JamKoo by Oscar Xie

Oscar Xie released JamKoo, a new AudioKit powered rompler. As you may guess from the developer's name, this is a Chinese app, offering 138 instruments in 7 Chinese instrument packages. JamKoo is free, but for $6 you can unlock pro features like importing your own SoundFont library. Thanks to Simon for this news!

JamKoo App Store Description:

JamKoo is an easy to use synthesizer, which is designed for live performance and practice.

Application Scenario

- Piano: Connect your keyboard to iPad, iPhone via USB-MIDI or Bluetooth MIDI. Play and record your performance with this app, share the recording with your teacher. The piano sound and tuning is more realistic than an ordinary electric piano.

- Wind MIDI controller: add a background music, pick a saxophone or trumpet tone. Add some reverb FX, and practice anytime without disturbing others.

- Electronic drum practice, import a classic rock track, pick a drum kit, and record your performance while adjusting the background volume and minimizing the reverb FX of the instrument. Recordings can be sent to other members of the band.

Elegant and powerful

Designed for music practice and live performances, the user who likes music is freed from the complexity of recording interfaces and can focus on the music itself. Sophistication doesn't necessitate complexity.

Built-in high quality and deep sound library
Pre-installed with a number of fine-tuned and rich sound sources, from a comprehensive instrument package containing 138 instruments to 7 Chinese musical instrument packages with outstanding sound. This is a musical weapon at your fingertips.

Add your own instrument library
If the pre-installed hundreds of instruments are not enough, you can also add your own instrument library and download the Soundfont format library to your own JamKoo library.

Main features:

- Import backing track music from iTunes or the file browser.
- Support octave change.
- Adjustable MIDI input channel.
- 3 velocity curves.
- Pitch bend adjustment.
- Support USB, Bluetooth MIDI devices.
- Transposition, instrument volume, reverb, backing volume, main volume adjustment.
- Layered recording with backing track, as well as solo recording.
- Pre-installed a set of high quality comprehensive sound library.
- Pre-installed a set of Chinese musical instrument library.
- Pro version users can add third party Soundfont format sound library.

Roland Zenbeats by Roland Corporation

Roland Corporation just released Roland Zenbeats. This appears to be a Roland themed version of Open Labs Stagelight. In addition to the visual similarities, one of the very few people following the official Twitter account is Open Labs marketer Travis Gallagher. Travis probably set up the account. The location is listed as Austin, which is home to Open Labs, not Roland.

As jumpercollins noted on the Audiobus forum, "It even crashes like Stagelight when scanning my AUs!"

Ordinarily I find the Audiobus forum to be unnecessarily grumpy, but in this case I think Roland has earned the ire. I'm personally feeling pretty pissy about their bullshit "Store Points" currency. Instead of just saying a sample pack is $4, they say it is 4 Points. This is the same kind of "spacebucks" nonsense games do to trick people into paying more for garbage. Open Labs is at least upfront about all of the pricing in Stagelight, but I hope they got paid well for this because the backlash won't stop at Roland's door.

The launch has also been mishandled. There was no press release, nor even a single demo video, from either company. Thanks to reader Simon for doing Roland's job, and letting me know about it this morning!

Update: Roland has released a short promo video. In the 1 minute and 23 seconds of the video, you only see the app clearly for 17 seconds. For contrast there are 8 seconds where we just see a dude walking.

Roland Zenbeats App Store Description:

Find Your Creative Flow.

Roland Zenbeats is a music creation app designed to keep you in an effortless artistic flow. Get started on any device or platform. With its collection of both modern and legendary sounds, Zenbeats brings Roland’s history of innovation into a dynamic, accessible environment.


Music Shouldn’t Feel Like Work—It Should Feel Like Play

Whether you’re an emerging musician or an established producer, Zenbeats makes music creation easy. Make beats, access lessons, and sample the world around you. Wherever you are, no matter what platform or device you use, capture your creative spark with Zenbeats.


Fresh Sounds—Fresh Ideas

The Zenbeats store is packed with sounds, loops, and creative tools to expand your musical palette. Search by specific genre or access the entire collection with “Ultimate” to unlock everything inside Zenbeats.


Classic Roland Sounds and Themes

Awaken your music’s possibilities with signature sounds from Roland’s legendary TR-808, TR-909, and TR-707. Choose custom skins to match the vibe of your Zenbeats mobile or home studio. Launch themes include “808 Nights" and “909 Days,” with many more to come.


Touch the Future

Roland Zenbeats’ touchscreen interface places you in a tactile music-making zone. Zenbeats arrives pre-loaded with on-screen controllers, instruments, and effects. Tap, swipe, modulate, and pitch bend sounds using gestures with Zenbeats’ on-screen instruments including drum pads, keys, and ultra-flexible note grid.

Experience core versions of all nine instruments and 14 effects with your free membership. Then, upgrade to “Ultimate” to unlock external plugin support, automation graphs, and other features.


Sample the Universe
With its phrase arpeggiator, multiple oscillators, and powerful filters, SampleVerse makes musical possibilities infinite. Play, edit, and capture sounds from your world, including acoustic instruments and live vocals.


Pure Polyphony

Incorporating MIDI Polyphonic Expression, Zenbeats gives you control of each note’s parameters. MPE, paired with an intuitive touchscreen interface, makes working in Zenbeats a uniquely expressive experience.


Beatmaking Bliss

Roland Zenbeats provides access to beatmaking tools and comes with a collection of kits and pattern presets. Craft rhythms with classic Roland sounds, kits, and grooves. Audition and sequence drum sounds, then swipe from left to right to create fills, double-time hits, and ratchet effects.


Manage the Magic

Streamline your creative process by accessing and recalling song templates from a single dashboard interface. With Zenbeats, you can open, search, rename, even add personalized art to your songs. Save your work to GoogleDrive, OneDrive, and other cloud-based locations. Share tracks with your musical partners and collaborate. Finally, when the time is right, show your work off online via SoundCloud.


Beginner’s Mind Meets Professional Power

Features like loop-building, beat-sync, and key lock make Zenbeats the perfect platform for aspiring songwriters, beatmakers, and producers.

As a bonus, included with Zenbeats are tutorials like “Using the Loop Browser,” “Using the Audio Editor,” and others to elevate your music-making.

Start using Zenbeats for free. Then, upgrade to unlock more features.


Zenbeats Free

-Unlimited audio and MIDI tracks
-Nine instruments with full features
-Four effects
-Basic song sharing


Zenbeats iOS Unlock V1 ($14.99)

-Unlock Zenbeats for your iPhone and iPad devices.
-All 23 instruments and effects fully unlocked
-AUv3 Support
-Sampleverse plus 500MB content pack
-Unlocked mixing features
-Pro export options including stems



Zenbeats Ultimate V1 ($149.99)

Get an all-access VIP pass to Zenbeats and every loop and preset pack. Ultimate unlocks all Zenbeats features across all platforms and devices.

-All in-app loop packs included
-All in-app preset packs included
-Over 6000 sounds

JAF Collection Giveaway

Reader Simon talked Jens Guell into doing a JAF Collection giveaway here! I've got 5 copies of the Filter collection up for grabs!

Contest closed! Congratulations to Freddy, HC_Racket, WilliamC, abi, and Adam!

This is awesome! I love doing giveaways and we've had a lot in the last few weeks. Thanks so much to Simon for organizing this one.

For anyone who missed it, I've embedded the video that shows how the site's built-in contest system works. It used to be a pain in the ass, but now it's as simple as pushing a button!

Don't Eat The Brown Acid or Update iOS

When I first started this site the only time people would call me a journalist was when they were being angry at me. Usually in the context of, "You asshole! How can you report on my shady business and still call yourself a journalist?" Over the years I've grown into the role, and welcome the responsibilities it implies.

Warning off against iOS updates is the only time this duty burdens my shoulders. I feel like a broken record. I also feel it is important to stand up as a voice of caution against the reckless allure of the novel. I get it. I like new shiny things too. But please, do not update your iOS willy-nilly. This warning includes point releases; as fans of Audiobus discovered over the weekend.

iOS 12.4 broke IAA. There was a change that impacts the way an app signifies its availability for Recording into. Fortunately Michael Tyson was able to patch the Audiobus database with a workaround, requiring users to manually "Tap to Launch" the recording app. A complete fix will require every recording app to submit a new update with the relevant changes.

This serves as a good example of why I'm always repeating myself on this issue. No one expects a point release to suddenly break anything. But they can, and they have.

Thanks to reader Simon for being the first to point out this issue to me.

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