Music Creativity iPad/iOS.

“I recently set myself the challenge to work out how I would use the iPad/iOS environment to create and play music Live.”

2 Jan 2017 | Music | 0 comments

A New Approach.

I recently set myself the challenge to work out how I would use the iPad or iOS environment to create and play music Live.

I have always used hardware machines to create and play Techno (EDM or whatever you want to call it) after my initial exposure to electronic music back in the late 90s.

I was never interested in being a DJ or even using a DAW to create and produce a track. I am really only interested in playing Live and surfing through sound waves, tripping over happy accidents along the way. So how could I use the iOS environment to do a similar process?

I started by trying to replicate what I was already doing with hardware machines. This sort of worked but it did not even get close to having everything always available like you get with dedicated hardware.

I have got used to the Korg Electribes and how easy they are to use in a Live situation, I can tweak and adjust any sound very quickly. If I wanted to take a track and strip it down to be more ‘minimal’ I could do this on the fly very easily with hardware. I found that I could not do this as easily when using the iPad environment.

I love the apps that are coming out for iOS that are ‘Drum Machines’ or Synth or even Samplers. Love Patterning, DM2, iSpark and iElectribe along with others. I even tried the Korg iElectribe, but I just can’t accept using the touch screen interface for playing live. It is too hard to make adjustments to knobs or sliders in an accurate way through the touch interface. I even tried to midi-map some controls but this was a major limitation as well. I could not create a setup that allowed me the same ability that real hardware can provide. With midi-mapping controls from one app was fine, if I wanted to map another app at the same time with the same controller then it was not practical at all.

So unless I bought a few iPads and dedicated them to just playing one ‘machine’ app at a time and mapped individually to seperate controllers I could not really create a good live environment with just one iPad. Or could I…??

Although I could buy a seperate iPad and controller for each iOS ‘machine’ and use that as my live setup, was this the best way to go? Was this method really using the strength of what the iPad/iOS environment is really offering? Was replicating hardware the best possible path to go when using iOS?

After experimenting with trying to setup an iOS version of my current hardware environment I had to stop and redress my original intent. I was very happy with AUM and how I could route my hardware into the iOS environment and create my own customised mixing environment but if I wanted to move away from my hardware machines, how could I do this?

After a while it became clear that I was probably heading in the wrong direction here. I looked at the apps that I have accumulated on iOS and found that I have plenty of FX apps that I use in AUM, a couple of ‘Drum Machine’ type apps, a few Synth apps and I saw I had heaps of really unusual experimental sample type apps like Sector, Samplr, iDensity and Borderlands and more.

Then it dawned on me that perhaps I should look at how I can use these more experimental apps to create a completely new direction in music creativity. A direction that plays to the strengths of iOS and the direction it wants to go in rather than reinventing the wheel and just trying to create crappy virtual hardware.

So this is what I will do in 2017. I will still always play my hardware machines and I am still going to collect the rest of the Korg Volca range and grab a Korg Monologue as well. But for something new and different I will mess around with the iOS sandpit and see if I can find a new direction or flavour of sound waves to surf.

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The Next Wave.

The journey continues as a new wave of technology and mixing techniques bursts onto the scene which provides musical creativity in a live sense that was never before possible. The next wave is about to break!
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