Premier League Deal – Allow Us To Retort

While not quite up to the standards of those plucky foreign stand banners, this DIY attempt by Crystal Palace fans gets the message across.

While not quite up to the standards of those plucky foreign stand banners, this DIY attempt by Crystal Palace fans gets the message across.

Make Mine A Double Dinner Deal

Gronk, gronk, gronk. As the Premier League FatCat Pigs tuck into another top TV dinner deal, Crystal Palace fans make their feelings known. Not quite up to the standards of this or this (still my personal favourite), but head and shoulders above anything else the English have had to offer.

Creativity: 29 Ways To Stay Creative

There Must Be 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover

But here are 29 ways you can compensate for that by staying creative. Even though I’d disagree with the whole singing in the shower thing. Oh and caffeinated coffee is bad too. But aside from that it’s all cool.

I think the original is from the Life on Michigan Avenue blog.

Lairds of Scunthorpe – Bunny Over The Ocean

New Lairds of Scunthorpe Track

Here is a new Lairds track. It was primarily recorded using Maschine, then beaten into shape with various production baseball bats in Logic.

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Electrify – New Music On The iPad

Audacious Music Making On The iPad

The Electrify interface. Confusing for about 30 seconds then as easy to use as can be.

For a while there it was touch and go. The iPad looked like being a super fancy consumer device, perfect for on sofa web browsing, game playing and one finger emailing, but not a patch on real Old Skool computers for doing anything remotely creative like image manipulation or music making.

Well that lasted about 6 months or so, at least until the likes of Photogene, Camerabag and Colorsplash (along with tons of others) redefined image editing and Garageband kicked off a new breed of music creation tools, which moved things beyond the simple instrument replication and into the realms of real digital music creation.

Initially these were fine, but confusing. Either trying to be digital versions of real life drum machines, pianos and, er, guitars or trying to be the one size fits all, digital audio workstation. The main issues with the former being that the touchscreen wasn’t a real keyboard, drum pad or guitar string, so it didn’t have any physical response or its interface didn’t take advantage of the iPad’s potential. Worst, by a mile, was ReBirth, which totally ruined the presence of two 303s, an 808 and a 909 with the kind of interface that was ponderous and over complicated. The main issues with the latter was also interface related and pointed to rushed development times and a lack of understanding of the audio creation process.

The two interfaces for iElectribe apps. While the original interface, below, may resemble the real world machine, it looks far less fun than the Gorillaz version above.

Now that Garageband has set the basic standard, there has been a massive jump in quality of genuinely great music making apps. Two of them  in particular have really grabbed my attention, the Gorillaz’s version of the iElectribe and Electrify. The Gorillaz’s version of iElectribe really illustrates the value of great interface/skin design as it’s essentially exactly the same app as the Korg iElectribe (albeit with different samples), but looks way more fun and easier to use.

And the Gorillaz version is super fun to use, allowing you to play about with 64 samples from the Gorillaz’s The Fall album and giving you a host of options to make the sounds your own while creating your own patterns. And it moves beyond simply being a glorified drum machine by having a variety of instrumental and vocal samples. Still it’s irritating in two key ways. First, changing the pitch of individual sounds is controlled using a dial and is almost impossible to get right. Second, and far more irritating, you can’t load in your own samples. This massively reduces the creative potential of the app as a genuine music making application more than anything else, not least because all the sounds are still copyrighted by Gorillaz making release of any tunes you create all but impossible. Still it’s excellent fun and really easy to use.

Standing head and shoulders above all the other DAWs I have used on the iPad (among them Music Studio, Beatmaker and Garageband) is Electrify. It shares a similar interface style with the excellent TouchOSC, which I use as a controller for Logic, and most importantly allows you to import your own samples.

Initially confusing, it’s a bit like an iPad version of one of those square Ableton controllers. But once you’ve played with it for a bit, it’s astonishingly easy, while the 8 x 8 main matrix allows you to develop interesting pattern sets using a variety of instruments and sounds. Using it as a drum machine is simplicity itself, but it really comes into its own when you move beyond the use of simple drum samples and start using a greater variety of samples, and this is where the ability to use your own samples comes into its own.

I’ve only been playing with it for a couple of days, but here are two tunes I’ve banged out already.


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iPad Logic Controller


Logic Pro being controlled from my iPad

Yet another genius addition to my iPad music apps  – a controller for Logic Pro. Not content with having some superb instrument and music making apps – Funkbox, technoBox, ReBirth, Beatmaker and GarageBand – the iPad is now able to act as a proper controller for big time, proper music software. TouchOSC is a fantastic piece of software that costs £2.99 and puts many physical controllers to shame.

I was a little dubious at first, what with reading 3 page tutorials that explained that I could link this to Logic if only I downloaded some software and spent the length of a bible configuring things. However, I needn’t have worried as the latest update has a great Logic template built right in. So it was a case of boot up, have Logic ask me whether I wanted to use my iPad to control it (which was nice), saying yes and jumping right in.

Using it really does enhance the workflow, adding a tactile dimension to the mixing that using a mouse simply doesn’t and the depth and scope of the Logic template is astonishing. You can drill right down into not only channel inserts, but individual software instruments, although with the latter the actual elements being controlled can be a little hit and miss. I found it worked on a variety of Logic software instruments as well as a host of Native Instruments software instruments like Battery, Kontakt, Absynth and Reaktor. The only challenge is discovering what the individual faders and dials actually do.

And that’s the fun part.

[review pros="Outstanding features, graphics and functionality, Works right out of the box" cons="Hard to think of any" score=95]

Revised Demo of The Wire by Lairds of Scunthorpe

A revised version of this tune. You can use the playlist element of the player to switch between the two versions of the tune.

[mp3player width=460 height=140 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml playlist=the_wire.xml]