Month: September 2011

There is something Strange about Curtis

Review based on Curtis v2.4 on iPad 1

Curtis for iPad is indeed unusual, maybe even Strange. I suppose that’s par for the course coming from the Strange Agency? This, however is strange in the best possible use of the word.
Curtis is a unique hybrid of wavetable and granular synthesis that creates tones and timbres in ways that the traditional synthesizers just can’t do.

What you get from Curtis depends a lot on what you put into it. Thanks to Copy Paste, audio recording from the iPad built In mic, or an iRig Mic, file share and now Drop Box compatibility, there are plenty of ways to get sounds and samples in to Curtis.

 The possibilities are endless. Just don’t expect to play melodies or solos, especially with it’s keyboard. Curtis just doesn’t work that way. Its about textures, temporal exploration, and manipulating tonality while accepting the random nature of audio mangling. Curtis is a blissful way to make abstract tones, from violently active to sublimely gentle drones. Again it depends largely on what sound you put in the audio ball park. Use your imagination, try different things. Explore, and listen. Try a big synth pad, arpeggios, or record a conversation and drag your finger through the waveform play surface to see what you can come up with.
Every direction you move your finger will express something, up, down, forward,backward, fast or slow, all movements produce something interesting.

You can “scratch” like a turn table DJ, sort of. You can play with it in the original geometric mode maintaining that randomness, or try the quantized “chromatic” mode for more precision. The two XY pads control pitch and position of the LFO.
Recording your performance while manipulating all the various controls and settings is always a snap, and fun.

My only complaints are that it seems to crash a bit often, and it could use a few more adjustable parameters to enjoy.

Curtis for iPad opens sonic doorways that might have been otherwise unknown. It’s expressive, random, specific, chaotic, or whatever you want it to be. It’s all wrapped up into a tidy single screen easy to use interface. It’s powerful, elegant and fun. It’s no toy, but go ahead and play with it.

All things considered, and after having a real nice time with Curtis for iPad I recommend it to those interested in having the ability to really shred up sounds, and explore new textures you can’t get anywhere else. 4/5 Stars!

Purchase Curtis for iPad at the App Store here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/curtis-for-ipad/id384228003?mt=8#

My 1st complete CD "Technopolis Lost" releases October 1st!

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Update:October 15

THE LINK to buy the whole 12 track album, for $8 or individual tracks for $1 each. Available via digital download. Click or copy the following link to you browser.
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/smitematter

Physical CDs will be sold soon at the same link, MINUS 1 track. “Face Of Two” had to be cut from physical CDs due to CD data limitations. Sorry 😦

From Oct 5th
This is a follow up to show the album credits, notes and special thanks to iOS developers of the music applications I used to create “Technopolis Lost” friends, and colleagues. It will be in physical CD inserts, but this isn’t visible when digitally downloaded.

Smite Matter is David A Israel

Credits. All music created, composed, arranged, and produced by Smite Matter using exclusively the Apple iPod Touch MC008LL, and iPad MB292LL, including music applications designed for iOS. Digital iOS Instrumentation includes Synthesizers, Samplers, Sequencers, Audio Editors, etc. 
Creative Production Consultant: Dean DeBenedictis
Cover art: Lisa Miterer
Mastering: Dean DeBenedictis and Jim Geotch
IKMultimedia iRig Microphone 

“A warm, special thanks to the following people for their extraordinary support: My wife Tina, Dean DeBenedictis, Lisa Miterer, Lisa Christine Shears, Liz Kempkes, Bruce Gall. 

Additional and formal thanks to the following iOS music application developers who’s designs and outstanding development of the applications making my passion for music a reality:
Sound Trends, Harmonic Dog, Intermorphic, VirSyn, Beep Street, Blip Interractive, Audanika GmbH, Jordan RUDES, IK Multimedia, Sonosaurus, Limelight Software(4Pockets), Leisuresonic, Green Oak Software,  Tempo Rubato, Korg, Wooji Juice, Audioforge Labs, Finger.

Update: October 7
It’s done! Finally! I am so pleased to announce the release of my 1st all iOS created album “Technopolis Lost” is available for digital distribution at $8, on: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/smitematter Tracks are supposed to be available for individual sale, but CDBaby made a little boo boo and has them all set to “Album Only” even though that box remains unchecked, lol. So they’ll fix that soon. Hard copies are going to be available next in a couple weeks for $12. Its been sent to iTunes, and other online merchants, but those places take a while to get around to making things available. It’ll happen. I’m just happy things are moving in the right direction for once. I thank you for the support, and I hope you enjoy my music.

Update: Thursday October 6th.
Smite Matter debut album “Technopolis Lost” has been uploaded to CDBaby.com and is being processed by the merchant for online distribution. CDBaby.com will open my Smite Matter artist page with the album details and digital download availability when the process is complete. The notice on CDBaby says this may take 24 hours, but I’m told they often take much longer. Being that this is my very first experience with such things I just don’t know when to expect this to go live? I am however, happy to know it’s there and will be available very soon. In coming weeks physical CDs will be added to be sold as well. Later down the road, CDBaby will distribute digitally to other online merchants like iTunes and Amazon.com etc. Yay!
I want to thank Dean DeBenedictis AKA Surface 10 and also owner of Fateless Music for his efforts with all of this while touring the east coast, and battling a nasty cold. I just hope he gets well fast, home safely, and then gets his dang website up and running. 🙂
So I can breathe now. Thank you for supporting me, and all the kind emails, tweets, texts, etc. I hope you enjoy Technopolis Lost, it was a long hard road. A real labor of love, growth, and huge education. Its no cliche when I say it involved a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
What follows bellow, is the album description notes for anyone interested, or wonder what to expect.

Technopolis Lost. A melodic and free journey through audio scenes intended to inspire the imagination while telling a story unique to each individual. Combined inspiration from nature and technology blend seamlessly in a soulful expression to provide a getaway from boundaries and stresses.
This is the very first full album of ambient electronic music created entirely on iOS devices. No computers, hardware or dull dark studios. Everything was made using just an iPod touch and an iPad. Often the songs in Technopolis Lost began spontaneously while playing virtual instruments and synthesizer keys all on a tablet’s glass touch screen while in city and state parks, or a forest under a dense canopy of trees. Sometimes capturing the sounds of rain, crowds, or other ambient noise from rural to crowded areas.

UPDATE—October 1 2011 My friend and Fateless Music owner Dean, informed me that he ran into a technical problem while uploading my album to CDBaby.com, not their fault of course. He uploaded the wrong file formats on most of the tracks and didn’t get an alert until nearly 600MBs in to the upload. He is doing all this while on the road in New Jersey on a tour. Basically what I’m saying is my album release is delayed a few more days. Since he has all the mastered files (Yes I gave him my originals, stupid I know) we must wait for him to sort out the problem and reupload after the weekend. Sorry for the delay, being a very punctual person myself, it’s difficult to not be frustrated on my end as well.
Sh$t happens 🙂 lol, it’s outta my hands. Thank you for being patient. I’m having a hard time being patient.
After more than a year of hard work, discovery, challenges, tough lessons, literally blood, sweat and tears, it gives me great joy to announce my very first complete album will be released and available for purchase at CDBaby.com 10/1/2011

Initially on OCTOBER 1st all 12 tracks of “Technopolis Lost” will be available to purchase via digital download only. Physical CDs will be available not long after.
A little further down the road CDBaby will make “Technopolis Lost” available at other online merchants like Amazon and iTunes. Furthermore, after my tiny indie label (1 great guy doing it all) Fateless Music has it’s long idle website rebuilt, “Technopolis Lost” will be available there as well.
“Technopolis Lost” is a careful selection of my entirely iOS created ambient electronic music. It’s less about how I created it than it is about what I created. Facing some big technological limitations with my chosen devices for creating, composing, mixing etc (iPad, and iPod Touch), I learned many ways to work around those challenges to achieve a depth and quality many people said couldn’t be done. This album is about overcoming obstacles, breaking boundaries, and ignoring the purists with dead end opinions. I wanted to express my feelings of freedom in each song touching a different note to carry the listener further away from perceptions and preconceived notions of how “it should be done”. I hope by the last track listeners will forget about how what they heard was made, and just enjoy the music I created.  

This is the cover which is evolving daily. So expect a different variation of this to be the final cover. You can kind of get the impression here, but its not going to be the same as this here to the left.
I wanted to also thank certain people. The following will also be included in the CD insert. Many Names are taken directly from their App descriptions in iTunes. So, blame iTunes if anythings amiss 🙂 if there is anything to correct, now is the time to email me and let me know please.
“A warm, special thanks to the following people for their extraordinary support: My wife Tina, Dean DeBenedictis, Lisa Miterer, Lisa Christine Shears, Liz Kempkes, Bruce Gall. 

Additional and formal thanks to the following iOS music application developers who’s designs and outstanding development of the applications making my passion for music a reality:
Sound Trends, Harmonic Dog, Intermorphic, VirSyn, Beep Street, Blip Interractive, Audanika GmbH, Jordan RUDES, IK Multimedia, Sonosaurus, Limelight Software(4Pockets), Leisuresonic, Green Oak Software,  Tempo Rubato, Korg, Wooji Juice, Audioforge Labs, Finger.

"My Favorite Must Have iOS Music Apps"

Updated January 20th 2012:

This list has become a bit outdated. It is still well read, so I will make a whole new “Must Have” list updated to both include and or remove music apps based on what I use today, and recommend highest. Check out my new “Must Have iOS Music Apps-2013” post. Ill leave this up in case it remains of some interest. Thank you for reading and all the kind messages.
Cheers.

I seem to have neglected this during the holidays. You know how it is. Anyway, like you I’ve come across some amazing new music apps since this was last updated. So of course there must be new additions to my list. AND a new category. The new Must Have category is for a combination of both Loopers, and DJ type apps. Its a short category to start. Check it out.

I’ve added, Grain Sience, by Wooji. This is one huge synthesizer that shows off some of the more finely detailed programmability options to hit a grain synth, or any synth really.

Also, new to the must have list is Bit Shapes TC-11 Multi Touch Synthesizer. This synth is an amazing work of art itself, taking full advantage of the iOS user interface. It’s a very organic feeling instrument. A 3 dimensional experience allowing a monstrous amount of programming and routing possibilities beyond the traditional synthesizers. TC-11 took the “box” and set it on fire, leaving us the most effective and powerful multi touch synth to date.

The Drum Machine DM-1 has to go on this list. Even with it being slightly off the mark as a truly mobile (waiting for ACP) music app, it really is an amazing drum machine with loads of classic, and modern drum machine styles and sounds. DM-1 is teaching me to be patient. Good development doesn’t happen over night. This is the sole exception to the “must have ACP” rule. Only because it’s so damn good, and it will have ACP sooner or later.

Updated October 31st: I’m adding iSequence HD. I really wish I had this app a lot sooner. It is a fantastic sequencer, great sounds, easy to use. A real delight!

Also, on a related side note. I want to note that I am going to integrate some apps from this list into what will be a small series of blog posts about my iOS creative process. It will help flesh out more about why the apps are “must haves” and how I use them as they relate to my process. I know, I said I’d write about my process for a while, and still shown you nothing. I apologize for that delay. It was harder to explain than I expected. Harder than the process actually is to practice. Then I thought since I get so many questions and requests to write about that process, and also about the apps on this list, why not work that out all together? I will start with step one this week. I’ll give you both the process and talk about specific must have apps.

Updated October 17th:
I have to include a couple more synths recently released. Alchemy Synth because of its huge sounds. Also adding Animoog! Its just to cool for school.

Updated: October 7th. I am adding Xewtons Music Studio to the list. It’s always been an excellent music app of exceptional quality, but it lacked certain fundamental functions that prevented it from making my personal choice list of “Must have music apps”. Now it has been updated to include(among many other great additions)my number 1 required function, audio copy paste. ACP is an absolute requirement for me, and I’m happy to add it to my list.

“How did you do that? What music app did you use? What do you consider must have music apps?”
Those are questions I hear the most from other iOS musicians, especially those just starting out. I am always more than happy to answer and engage in a dialog to learn more about the person asking to better advise them. If I can, of a few apps they might get the most out of.
After several of these friendly email conversations ending consistently with, “You should write about your must have apps on your blog!”
Hmmm? OK.
After a lot of careful thought and not so careful note taking I did come up with a list of my most used, and needed music apps.
The first thing that I want to explain right off the bat is that it should be very clear to you, my friendly reader, that this is only my opinion based on personal experiences, needs and style. Additionally, I use only my iPad and sometimes iPod for every aspect of making music with a very serious approach. Besides obviously needing quality, I also need complete freedom from wires. For me, that freedom defines what I consider a “must have music app”, and it also means they must have (ACP)  copy/paste, pasteboard support. My entire music studio is in my lap, and on my iPad. Not even iTunes file share will cut it when I take my studio to the park, woods, or mountains. I won’t… scratch that…. I cant use anything that needs a cable to move files around through a computer.
So now that I’ve explained where I’m coming from here is my list of what I consider my favorite, must have music apps for iOS. I’ll try to make this simple and clear by app type, but not really in any particular order.Also, how anyone mixes and matches is up to them. You can expect this list to be updated regularly as more new amazing iOS music apps hit the app store.

Must Have synthesizers. NLog Synth Pro, Addictive Synth, Sunrizer Synth, Crystal XT, Grain Bender, Synthtronica,  BassLine, Alchemy Synth, Animoog, Grain Science, and TC-11 Multi Touch Synth.

Must Have samplers / sequencers. SampleWiz, Electrify, SampleLab, iSequence HD.

Must Have beat makers / drum machines. MoDrum, Funk Box, Molten, The Drum Machine DM-1, and iElectribe.

Must Have Audio Editors and FX. Reforge, Hokusai HD with pro tools package, Moog Filtatron and Mixtikl

Must Have Studio, mixer, or DAW style. Nano Studio, Multitrack DAW,*Music Studio, Studio HD, BeatMaker2

Must Have iOS instruments and (or) Virtual Core MIDI controllers. iShred, Thumb Jam, Sound Prism Pro,

Must Have Loopers, or DJ apps. Looptastic HD, Loopy, and Meta DJ HD.

These are all apps I use on a regular basis, and honestly just can’t live without. I realize that it’s not ideal for everyone, and really selecting one or a couple from each category would build a pretty nice iOS studio for most people into electronic music.
But what if you really only want to get started? You’re not sure how serious you want or need to be just yet? Maybe you want to get the best possible set up under $20 that won’t be too complicated?

That’s easy. Get Nano Studio and the 16 track upgrade. It has everything an electronic musician needs covered. Honestly even if you think you have out grown it down the road, you’ll still come back to it for the amazing Eden Synths. It’s not iPad Native yet, but my experience with it on my iPad has been solid and trouble free. It’s a superb, complete music studio type app. My second choice would be Music Studio.

Remember this isn’t a set of rules, or an edict. This is just MY opinion of Must Have iOS music apps. How anyone chooses to make their purchases and in what order is entirely up to them. I do believe you can’t go wrong with any that I named here. I hope this answers some of the questions I hear most and might help someone. Thank you and have fun! Surely we will all see more Must Have iOS Music Apps as iOS music evolves and improves.

EG-DR808 App Review: The 80s Are Beating Again

Review Based on iPad version.
When you think about the 80s you might recall certain things like Aqua Net, Acid Washed Jeans, Glam Rock, Big Hair, Miami Vice, Leg Warmers, and the iconic Roland TR-808 Drum Machine!
When the Roland TR-808 Drum Machine came out in 1980 it was $1000
Marvin Gaye arguably was one of the first to really popularize the 808 in 1982, and after later being discontinued found new life and fame thanks to the mid 80s Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill.
It has been used for decades now by many famous artists, in some classic music spanning many genres.
Today owners of the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad can relive the classic sounds of the great 808, thanks to iOS app developers like Elliott Garage. Now anyone can have a virtual copy on their iOS devices. 
You can see from the photo above that attention to detail in recreating the vintage look is uncanny, and faithfully emulated. More importantly the sound is spot on. Elliott Garage really put some love into this going for the same functionalities and feel of the old machine. It’s love you can hear, and music lovers as well as vintage enthusiasts should agree this is one of the best 808s on iOS.
The EG-DR808 features are….
– 16 steps sequencer
– 12 programmable rhythm patterns and 4 fills patterns
– Auto fill in every 2, 4, 8, 12 or 16 pattern
– Save the pattern you’ve created and play your songs
– Manual Play, Pattern Write and Pattern Clear mode
– Drum kit pieces parameters control (tuning, decay and snappy)
At the moment there is no iTunes File Share or Audio Copy Paste. Don’t despair 808 fans, Andrea of Elliott Garage Software Team assured me that iTunes File Share to export patterns will be included in the next update.
Being the pushy app lover that I am and stubborn supporter of Audio Copy Paste, I didn’t relent without confirming that they do want to implement Audio Copy, but it will take a little more time.
Considering the quality of this app, I think we can be patient for ACP so long as iTunes File Share doesn’t take too long to be added.
For $1.99 this is hard not to recommend even if we must wait a little for sharing capabilities to be included.
Get This App!