Samplr, and Borderlands Granular are simply fantastic apps for making music with sample-based sources. Neither had been updated in quite some time so I’m happy to report that both have received updates.
Samplr Version 1.4.2
This is THE most used APP in my arsenal. Version 1.4.2 is the first update on Samplr since 2014. Here is what’s new:
The Borderlands Granular update is HUGE. Here is what developer Chris Carlson says about it on the product web page.
NEW! Version 2.1 is available now on the as a free update for all existing users! While this is technically a “point” release, it is packed with a ton of new features, bugfixes, and improvements that I have been chipping away at for the past 5 years. Highlights include tempo synced grains via Ableton Link, waterfall-style input and sound on sound recording with an overdub control, semitone pitch tuning, a new ADSR option, proper scaling at all iPad resolutions, and artist presets from Electric Indigo, King Britt, Mikronesia, Tom Hall, and Cristian Vogel. There’s a lot more – please have a look at the changelog to see what’s new.
Jakob Haq Video Helps You Grok Borderlands Granular and Offers Interview Snippets with Developer Chris Carlson
I have to admit while I’ve used Borderlands Granular on-and-off some parts of the app where just a mystery to me. Now thanks to 36 minute video Jakob Haq I grok it! The video also includes some audio interview segments by developer Chris Carlson.
The video reveals the scope of development for Borderlands Granular so if you want to support Chris’s work beyond the app purchase, or if you got this as a free update, go http://www.borderlands-granular.com/app/ and click the “Buy Me a Coffee” link.
Also it’s clear Jakob put a lot of effort in this video and if you’d like to support him check out his Patreon page.
Here Is to Future Updates!
Now that both devs have popped the hood on these amazing apps I’m really hoping looking forward to future updates.
I’ll be performing an improv experimental set at the Beat Cypher event at madelife in Boulder using my trusty Elektron Analog Four with some outboard FX from iPad with hands-on control with Launch Control XL. I’ll also be live sampling all that into iOS Samplr but all source sounds will be from Analog Four.
“All styles welcomed and invited. The purpose of this event is to gather music producers/performers in the Boulder/Denver area and build community. Each performer gets a 10 minute time slot. Sign up is FIRST COME FIRST SERVE so get here on time to get a spot. “
The event is always a lot of fun with some super interesting sets – so come on down.
I caught this great segment on Jimmy Fallon the other night live looping with Robert Plant! Click here to watch the video. I really enjoy how Fallon just goes for it with legends like Plant and attempts things like this.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonJimmy Fallon & Robert Plant Form 2-Man Doo-Wop Group Using iPad AppJimmy and Robert Plant loop their voices on an iPad app to form a 2-man doo-wop group — singing the classic song “Duke of Earl” by Gene Chandler.
I just watched this interesting BBC interview “Brian Eno on Apps and Albums”. I don’t see a way to embed so click here to watch it..
His latest venture is the app Scape, a follow-up to 2008's Bloom app. Scape not only contains his most recent 'album' of the same name, but is also a tool allowing people to compose their own music on mobile devices.
He developed it with Peter Chilvers, known for his work creating music for computer games in the 1990s.
The app promises "deep access to the musical elements" that the composers used to make the album itself.
I thought it was pretty cool to see one of my desert island synths Zebra 2 on the monitor behind him :^ ).
I’m between production projects so I thought I’d take a bullet for the community and just upgrade my iPad 3 to iOS6 without knowing if any apps would work – lol. If you are in the middle of a project I suggest you wait to upgrade. This is a general rule I follow for all my equipment and software.
I restricted my testing to the following criteria. Will the app start? Will it function in a basic way (GUI works, makes some noise)? I don’t own ever app made so this is just my list of what works and what doesn’t. If you find issues with apps feel free to make a comment – and of course notify the developer so they can upgrade the app for iOS6.
App Crashes After Splash Screen Displayed Update: Both of these apps are now working in iOS6.
If you double-click the button on your device you’ll see these apps are running in the background.
App Functions at A Basic Level
Proceed with Caution
Again this is a basic test just to see if apps function at a basic level. I’ll let you know if I bump into more serious issues as I work with the apps on iOS6 in the comments.
I’m a huge fan of Wolfgang Palm’s work and my favorite hardware synth, the Blofeld is based on PPG waveforms. After hearing that he was going to release an iPad app this week, I’ve been going to the store a few times a day waiting for the app to appear.
Well the wait is over and the new app is now available in the Apple Store here . He just released two videos showing how it works.
In recent posts I mentioned I was experimenting with the iPad with Alchemy, Slim Phatty, and iTnri. The Dark Zebra (ZebraHZ) release got me back into synthesis with Zebra in a big way. As I dug into the patches by Hans Zimmer and Howard Scarr, I discovered they not only map XYs but Aftertouch and Breath controller. In considering how to map to this, I bumped into this article by Audio Newsroom Interview with Zebra creator Urs Heckman called “Off-the-record: Urs Heckmann (u-he)”. They asked:
About Zebra, in the past I remember you told me there was a remote chance to see an hardware product out of it. Did the idea evolve somehow and are you still interested in it? I'm all for it but I can't do it alone. I've spoken to some people but I found nothing yet appealing enough to take a risk. I'd love to provide the industrial design for a zebraesque controller keyboard with 4 joysticks though.
While I think a dedicated hardware controller would be epic, it seems unlikely any time soon – so started working up an interface on Lemur with 4 XYs and thought I’d share the photo above.
Lemur Template Notes
I started with the “iPad – Studio Combo” template and:
Scaled the keys and octave button down to make room for more objects
In addition to Mod Wheel and Pitch Bend, I added sliders to the right for Aftertouch and Breath Controller
Along the top you can see 4 XY (Multiball objects). Below the first one you can see 3 horizontal sliders that I’m going to map to physics params for the XYs for Friction, Attraction, and speed.
I added 2 ADSRs (red and green) which I map to Envelope 1 & 2 in Zebra.
Top right I have two custombutton objects. The first is mapped to a note so I can trigger a drone or arpegio (Zebra doesn’t have a “hold” on the arp). The second is mapped to MIDI sustain and toggle sustain on and off.
Just to the right of the last XY there is a set of horizontal bars. I don’t have these quite working right but they are for the “VoiceMode” which will allow me to turn the arp on and off.
MIDI Mapping Notes
To map the Lemur to Zebra I use MIDI Learn by right-clicking on the target controls in Zebra then change the value of the corresponding object on the Lemur. This actually saves these mappings to com.u-he.Zebra2.midiassign.txt file so they work even after you close and re-open the host or add Zebra to a new set. Note that this file is shared between Zebra 2.5 and ZebraHZ so once you map Lemur works for both which is a real time saver. Note you can edit this file in a text editor (backup before you mess with it) and delete it if you want to reset mappings (it will be re-created when after you re-launch your host and start Zebra).
Like my experience with Alchemy Mobile as a controller for Alchemy VST, using Lemur running wirelessly on the iPad to drive Zebra is really captivating. It’s very organic and the ability to add physics with say XY ball movement takes performance to the next level.
As a result of my great experience with these controller interfaces, I find myself using iPad more and more in the role of controller instead of iOS synth platform.
Moral of the Story
iPad interfaces to PC synths make me use the PC synths more :^)
I’ve been a fan of Camel Audio Alchemy for some time. If you are an Alchemy user and have an iPad or iPhpne/Touch I’m going to recommend you pick up Alchemy Mobile Pro. Note, you only have to buy the app and content once to use on both the iPad and iPhone.
Pro allows you so wirelessly integrate your iOS device into you computer workflow. In other words you gain a multi-touch controller for Alchemy full. The 1.27 update allows you to:
Alchemy Mobile v1.1.27 lets you move the remix pad using the new Tilt function to translate your physical hand movements into morphing sound changes, while Inertia lets these moves continue under their own steam while you carry on playing. Other new features include quantise to tighten up the timing of your recordings, as well as unlimited record, bounce and export times, further improvements to the keyboard and menu displays, more control over MIDI input and outputs, and iPad 3 retina display graphics.
The Pro Upgrade now lets you record remix pad movements to capture complex sound changes, bookmark your presets to make favourites easier to find, adds more complex quantise functions including triplets and a new 'Clear MIDI performance and loops' option. Upgrading to Pro is easy once you've installed the free version – just tap on the preset name in the upper left, switch to the Libraries page and select the Pro Upgrade to purchase for $14.99 / €11.99 / £10.49.
How To Connect Alchemy Mobile Wirelessly
STEP 1: On Alchemy on you computer select “FILE” then “Turn On iPad/iPhone” Control”
STEP 2: On the iOS device click the Sound Library name. Scroll down to “Alchemy on..”. You’ll see you computer there. Click the item and now your synced.
At this point the iOS synth is disabled and the surface controls Alchemy full on you computer including patch browsing. Brilliant!
Not a “Shinny Object”
A lot of iOS music apps are like “shinny objects” to me. They are fun but don’t end up in my workflow. Alchemy mobile is exception to this. Nicely done Camel Audio!
I've started work on an iPad Lemur template for my Moog Slim Phatty. This will most likely end up on Patch Lab at some point so signup for my email newslettter if you want to be notified. This is a very early version of what I have ultimately planned but I thought I'd share this as I went along.
I'm programming the Lemur via Wifi, the Lemur is attached to the Phatty via the camera kit and straight into the USB port. I also have a Novation Remote SL hooked up via MIDI to play notes on the Phatty. You can also use WiFi via a host like Ableton live to control the Phatty.
In this version of the template, Filter controls are in red. There is an XY for Cutoff and Res with physics controls for Friction, Attraction and Speed. I can also lock the control on the X and Y Axis. To the right Filter EG amount with filter envelopes. Under that Filter Overload.
Next are Arpeggiator controls that are normally hidden under-the-hood in the Advanced Menu. So I can directly control Arp on, Latch, Clock Div, and Arp Octave. To the right of this a little note trigger button.
Lastly I have an Amp Envelope in Blue. Unlike from the front panel of the Phatty, Lemur allows me to control more than one parameter at the same time, like Cutoff and Res, or all the segments of a an envelope.