Traveling with Electronics : iOS Update : Top Ten Performance Apps

sampling & looping in performance

.....the art of juggling sound 




It's been a year now, since I posted my last iOS update : THE DIGITAL DILEMMA 

This month we are going to take a look at some iOS music apps that in my humble opinion, excel in performance - specifically, in real time electro-acoustic situations where improvisation is a key component in the act of creating a sonic composition.


Let's call this my "Top Ten Apps List"(the apps I use to compose in real time)

SAMPLR - if I could only have one app - Samplr would be number one

THUMBJAM - if I could have two - ThumbJam would be the other one

NAVE - my go to synth is Nave (I also dig Animoog - Sunrizer - iProphet - Lorentz)

DRUMJAM - just the best sample based percussion machine out there

LOOPY HD - simple, solid, flexible - Loopy rocks for iOS live-looping

ELASTIC DRUMS - a drum synth capable of way more than 4 on the floor

HEXAGLYPHICS - sometimes you really need a playable noise generator

BEAT HAWK - MPC style music production with great sound and a fast flow

BORDERLANDS - real time granular processing with an innovative interface

AUDIO BUS - is ESSENTIAL - if you want to run multiple apps on an iPad


with an "Entourage" - (the apps I use to create new samples in pre-production)

AUDIO STRETCH - for all those time domain and pitch shifting tricks

APE FILTER - insanely flexible equalization from surgical to savage

TAP DELAY - a killer multi-tap virtual tape delay with three feedback filters

AUFX SPACE - a great sounding, tweak-able, cpu-lite reverberation app

TWISTED WAVE - a simple and flexible audio editor, which you need

AUDIO SHARE - is ESSENTIAL - your audio file librarian - for iOS

(-: as always, when I can alert you to new options, I will keep you in the Loup ;-)


    Here is my current (sound juggling) performance rig - in two sections     


This section of the rig uses an iPad2-7.1.2 with a Korg NanoKey usb controller, plus a Pigtronix Infinity Looper. Generally, I use one app at a time on this iPad, playing it from the iPad screen and from the NanoKey. Sometimes, I will play two apps at the same time - one from the iPad screen and one (running in the background or via Audio Bus), from the NanoKey. Live-looping is done on the Infinity.



This section of the rig uses an iPad4-8.2 with an Akai MPK mini usb controller plus a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface (via a powered usb hub). I run multiple apps on this iPad through Audio Bus and play them from both the iPad screen and from the MPK keyboard. I also do live-sampling into Samplr via the 2i2 audio interface and do live-looping with Loopy HD via the pads on the MPK.

Both iPads live in Griffin Survivor cases and the rig fly's in a Pelican 1510 carry-on. 


These apps, in this configuration, serve me very well as an improvising artist. They provide a wide range of sonic possibility in a very travel friendly set-up. I can take this rig with me anywhere and be ready to play in any musical situation.

As always, I hope that sharing my practical experience in the art of composing in real time while approaching technology as if it were an acoustic instrument will assist you in your research, as you implement the tools of today into your musical vision.


With iOS nine on the horizon I would suggest turning off automatic updates and then just waiting until the dust settles before updating anything -  to avoid any down time:

1- launch the settings app from the home screen of your ipad

2- Scroll down and tap on itunes & app store

3- Under the automatic downloads section, turn the option for updates to off


One last thing : of course, as soon as you formalize your top ten list, there is always a new app with yet another point of view - in this case a sample based drum machine with a circular interface, that handles both poly-rhythms and user samples very nicely - PATTERNING by Olympia Noise Co. - I think my top ten list just got a little longer.


until next month travels.....dino