We all love gadgetry, maybe not as much as Stephan but quite a bit. I for one like making music slightly more so than acquiring gadgetry so I buy guitars at a similar rate to most gadget acquirers around here. Recently though, I’ve found that one of my gadgets in particular goes rather well with music making. That would be my iPhone.
Here’s something to listen to while you read on. It was recorded entirely on an iPhone: The Rules
Said iPhone has two pages of music apps. Some are complete gimicks (Smule’s Sonic Lighter for example which does not work under live music conditions since the noise blows the flame out – slight fail), some are only really useful on their own and don’t really work well for performance except under live conditions or using the iPhone as an instrument of sorts in an actual studio (such as FingerSound or the Thereminator) and some are amazing apps capable of being used to create a complete track (such as Beatmaker or the combo of Dopplerpad and FourTrack). In a slightly different vein are apps such as iTM MIDILab which you can easily sync with Logic to use your iPhone as a MIDI controller).
The Rules is probably over now so here’s the next one: Surely
Having grabbed these apps and had a play with them I decided that I was going to make a switch from rock/pop and industrial screecho punk metal to acoustic folk/pop and see what I could produce with the FourTrack (and later FourTrack/Dopplerpad combo). Step one, I needed an acoustic guitar since the one I already had was in rather ordinary shape – she’s over 50 now I think bless her, so I went with a Maton EML6 Mini. I’ve had a strange fascination with 3/4 size guitars recently starting with the purchase of a Gretsch Mini Diddley (which I actually bought because it looks like a cricket bat – in fact, I think there’s a photo in the Amnesiacs Flikr account showing Iain and I conclusively demonstrating that this guitar does work well as a cricket bat), took a strange turn with the purchase of two Disney guitars – one High School Musical and the other Camp Rock – they were $30 each: the defence rests, and now the mini acoustic/electric.
Another interlude I think is warranted. Note the children’s driving toy solo: 50 Miles of Blood
So, with my iPhone four track I began writing and recording. First thing I encountered was the difficulty of the FourTrack app not capable of providing monitoring the new track while recording. One can on and one can off, sorted with bonus quirkiness slash poor performance. There is a metronome but it’s nice to hear the current performance through the headphones while recording, shortcomings I suppose are to be expected with a studio the size of an iPhone. During this period, several updates were released providing audio sharing capabilities between a couple of other apps and the FourTack. One was Dopplerpad which basically is capable of creating beat and synth patterns that you can throw into FourTrack and then put down guitar and vocal tracks. Dopplerpad isn’t capable of storing any more than about one song so I won’t be doing much with that again until they get the concept of banking included.
Here’s the last song I’ll include in this post. I must also point out that the analog synths and piano in this song were added using logic after exporting from the iPhone. Once Dopplerpad supports patch banking I would most likely use that to keep the song 100% iPhone but these additions in logic were pretty minor. All of these tracks are to be re-recorded with my ‘real’ equipment BTW: Tiny Pieces
So where to now with the gadgets and the music? The iPad it seems. Korg have released a version of the Electribe for the iPad. Not surprisingly, it’s called the iElectribe. I wish it wasn’t but it is. Anyway, it looks awesome:
I think this is where I’m going next. The Korg stuff looks nice (and is on sale until the end of June therefore my prediction is that the iPad will hit Australia around July) and makes me think there could be some really good MIDI controllers built for this device and instruments would be far easier to use on the much bigger screen.
So, I’m excited. And if you were too you can hear more iPhone music of mine here: It’s Not Music and just general stuff I do here: Fat Kid Popular. Some of the iPhone stuff is really ordinary, consider yourself warned, and I chose to keep the incorrect spelling of Meme. Also, you need to visit this post once before every meal so that I win the iPad competition here at Amnesia and can update this post with the tracks I make with it.
So that I don’t instead win an award for the worst word to media ratio in a post, here is a picture of me and my new bass: