Looping and scratching audio is so familiar at this point that it may be hard to know what more can be done with the concept. But I like the looks of Touch the Wave, a new iPod touch / iPhone app. It gets back to basics with some fairly simple audio looping and repitching. The twist: it uses multiple, color-coded loop points, and has the ability (if I’m looking at this right) to download audio from URLs. The app is the work of Yuki Yasoshima, and it’s free.

Touch the Wave on iTunes App Store (in Japanese, but available outside Japan, happily!)

Touch the Wave developer page @ Objective Audio

Jordan Harris, who sent this in, writes:

I stumbled across a really awesome free application for the iPhone 3g called "Touch The Wave."  All of the information on the developer’s website, and on the iTunes store, is in Japanese.  But it’s a pretty useful application that allows you to loop and scratch audio with multiple loop points. It is in the iTunes store if you search for "Touch The Wave"  But you’ll have to play with it for a bit as there are no English instructions or descriptions…  It comes with one sample song, but supposedly you can upload your own tracks.  I’ve been playing with it a little off and on, but it’s mostly just trial and error.

So, I have two questions for you:

1. Anyone with Japanese language skills care to translate some of the instructions? (Even if just a simple excerpt!)

2. What might be some alternative ways of approaching sample playback, looping, and warping?

One interesting take on audio warping is the free Nintendo DS app repeaterDS:

repeaterDS Project Page

It’s a simple idea – repeat length on the vertical axis, playback offset on the horizontal access. In other words, you set the start point and the length of the loop, the two critical looping parameters. Doing that via a different interface changes the results, and, nicely enough, repeaterDS makes the whole affair glitchy and unpredictable.

Other interesting sample interfaces you’ve seen? Anyone with fun Max/Pd patches, etc., you’d like to show off?

  • RCUS

    Just downloaded it. Crashed. Hard resart for the Iphone right now.

    One thing though, during the crash a screen came up that appeared to allow you to link it to Itunes Library? It seemed like you needed to be connected to WiFi though and I'm not at the moment.

    Either that or I inadvertently ended up in iTunes while pressing around on my screen and it was just one mess of a coincidence.

  • Does anyone else think the handheld/apps for "music" are getting a little tired? It really is a distraction from other more interesting subjects. Every magazine and most of the blogs are filling column inches with coverage of what are, in the end, just things to goof around on. i know they are neat, I have a couple myself, but isn't there something else we could talk about? Anyone tried the Waves JJP plugs for instance?

  • @Shagrake: i think, as this is 'create digital music', its only logical that this stuff should get covered. however, i have attempted the Nintendo DS and positively hated it as far as interface and handling goes (it seems to be created for childrens hands) and that already stopped me from trying all the free apps, which, as you point out, seem gimmicky to me. that said, i do not doubt for a second that there are people out there who can do incredible stuff with this.

  • Michael Una

    Waves JJP! Now I can get that Ashlee Simpson sound that has eluded my best efforts.

  • @Shagrake: I'm happy to entertain those criticisms. I'm interested in what we can do with tools in the long term.

    In this case, I'm interested in what interfaces we might think about for looped audio in general — desktop audio included. That's part of why I brought this up. As it happens, I was also experimenting with interfaces in some sketches for software I was building, too.

    To me, having the mobile tool is a bit like having a pocket manuscript notebook … you have the chance to try to play with smaller ideas.

  • Michael Una

    But seriously, has anyone played with Bloom for iPhone? It's awesome. Mobile audio has limitations, but it's how you work within that structure that counts.

  • zenzen

    Peter, for what it's worth, I'm cool with all this coverage even though like Shagrake there's probably 0% chance I'll ever use it. Coming to CDM after you built up a large and diverse library of articles, I encountered a virtual buffet of content, everything from reviews DAW reviews to the latest news in freaky circuit bending. Having such an amazing browse/graze experience, it's natural to feel impatient as you wait day by day (hour by hour for some of us) for an article or two on something you're interested in.

  • RichardL

    Peter, please keep up the coverage of hand-held "music". The subject is of great interest to me.

    Sure many of the tools are unsophisticated and toy-like. The ideas and capabilities embodied in hand-held music are evolving. I sincerely believe that hand-held digital music making tools will emerge to be as compelling as any other domain. To dismiss them is as premature as dismissing portable recording tools as toys would have been a decade ago.

  • here's a quick translation of their developer page,
    some of them might not make much sense for I just translated them w/o the app in my hand,
    hopefully it's helpful enough,
    wish I had an iPhone,

    Touch the Wave
    this is a DJ app. that allows you to touch waveforms and perform a "Scratch."
    you cannot use the audio data that was "sync"ed from iTunes, you have to upload the file on the network, specify the URL and download it into your device.
    the development is done on iPod touch (1st and 2nd gen), it has NOT been tested on iPhones.

    -changing loop speed within -16%~+16% range in increments of 0.01%
    -2 assignable cue points and loop playback in between
    -tap tempo

    supported formats;
    WAV, AIF (linear PCM format only)

    known issues;
    scratching might not be as smooth right after downloading audio files, especially those around 1MB in size might cause the app to shut down. it is recommended to restart the app after downloading.

    download screen;
    1, type in the URL for the file you want to download,
    2, press "Start"
    3, you can determine the frequency of renewing player screen. 12fps is recommended for 1st Gen, 24fps for 2nd Gen.

    player screen;
    1, switch between playback and pause
    2, loop playback on/off – when it's blue, the app plays the look between the cue points determined by 7 and 8,
    3, tap to go back to the head of the file, press and hold to cue up the previous file,
    4, tap once to set the BPM – by setting the length between 7 & 8 as 1 beat. tap more than once for a regular tap-tempo feature,
    5, tap to go to the end of the file, press and hold to skip to the next file,
    6, volume
    7, set the cuepoint 1 (blue)
    8, set the cuepoint 2 (purple)
    9, move the tapehead to cuepoint 1
    10, move the tapehead to cuepoint 2
    11, slider that moves the tapehad
    12, memorize the loop speed
    13, change the loop speed to what was set by 12
    14, change the loop speed to 0% (orange)
    15, lower the loop speed by 0.01%
    16, increase the loop speed by 0.01%
    17, slider that changes the loop speed
    18, when paused, you can touch and slide left and right for a scratch action, slide up and down to zoom in/out

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  • What about ProteinDS ?

    look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQCZnwNr0ms

    From 0:40 on, shows you how better a DS is interface wise. And I can tell you Gorgull's technique is even far more superior now 🙂

  • My personal take on this is that it is *awesome* that music apps are being propagated on a much more friendly, cheaper, and economically viable platform nowadays .. no more lugging the laptop and plugins along, no more system administration rubbish to get in the way ..

    I'm personally considering adding 4 or 5 iPod Touch's to my music rig, selling one or two laptops, getting rid of the 19" rack, and doing an *ALL iPhone/iPod Jam Session Rig*.. its really feasible! Imagine having 4 or 5 i-Devices, each running their own apps, and a little 3.5" mini-jack mixer (anyone got a recommendation before I put my Freescale SoundBite into action on it?) to serve as audio i/o routing.

    So, one device running RJDJ, one running noise.io, a couple running iRecorder, some iDrum and BeatMaker love in there two, all of them rigged up to one device running a local web server for storage, and a couple more running for example TTW, or miniSynth, and .. oila .. instant jamming setup!

    If anyone wants to send me a few iPhone Touch's, I'll do all the work to get it set up and working, and jam on it for all to see: the iPhone is the next-gen studio device we've all be wishing for (or, at least this ex-German Synth Mfr. employee has, anyway.. heh heh)

  • please please more handheld articles. while I'm a little burnt out on the iPhone hype, the sheer amount of stuff for it is making me at least want to get an iPod Touch. and I just got a DS! ^_^

  • For translation: use Google. Quite readable.

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