The Old Becomes New
Maybe it's because I lived through the popular invasion of synthesizers in the 80s and 90s, but two of the top 20 paid music apps in the app store are remakes of popular hardware from that time.
Rebirth ($6.99USD) from Propellerhead recreates their popular sequencing software which itself were remakes of Roland’s TB-303 bass synth and TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines that shaped a lot of electronic music in the early 80’s and into the 90’s. Besides being a pattern sequencer (you create patterns of notes, store them, and then pull them up to create combination of sounds) you can apply a lot of effects to your sounds in real-time - the multi touch nature of the iPad is perfect for turning many control knobs at once to get the sound your after. Often changing the settings of an instrument while it was playing back was the key to getting a unique sound.
Another recreation of a classic is Korg's iElectribe ($19.99USD) which is digital version of the Electribe R beatbox machine that used in ton of dance music. Thus drum machine fits perfectly on the iPad screen making the device easy to operate. It comes programed with a ton of great sequences to start from, or you can start with a blank slate and program in your own beat. I think the digital version of the this machine might even be better than the original because you can record motion animation into your sequence. For example, when playing back a beat, hit record and the turn the pitch knob on beat 4 and it gets "baked in" to the sequence.
Out With the Old
If reliving the 80's and 90's isn't your thing - you should check out Sound Trends Grüvtron ($0.99USD) which is a fun and easy to use app. When you start it, you are presented with a grid of squares. Press one square and Grüvtron starts the groove for you. The grid is like graph with one axis being the pitch and the other being the complexity of the groove that it plays. You can also select from different voices - from bass to lead instruments. Once you play with it for a few minutes, it is quite easy to start creating interesting and very unique music. If you get something you like, press record and you can save a file to use in your next project.
What's your favourite music creation app for the iPad/iPhone? Leave a note in the comments so we can all check it out....