Whatever the platform, you can expect musicians to do weird things and make noise. (It is, after all, our raison d’être.) In this case, while the input controller is an iPad or iPhone, the emphasis remains on running sound from additional gear, whether an inexpensive hardware synth in the form of a Korg monotron or the ubiquitous Ableton Live.

From the iOS inbox this week…

Top: nonstandard sequencing. Developer Franz Keller’s Radarhead 19 is one of the more unusual creations I’ve seen on iOS, a somewhat inexplicable (in a good way) alternative sequencer. It’s available now on iTunes.

Give it a try, after a short while some rather unique situations can emerge!
(In the hands of a real musician, or an untrained explorer.)
More complicated apps for musical experimentation are in the works now.

Interestingly, many control applications use Ableton Live as the sound source.

Via Vincent (something-wicked @ SoundCloud, Denkitribe has an Ableton control rig with two iPhones connected to Live wirelessly and gestural control via his n-forcer app, apparently not yet available but coming soon. Seen here in a demo at the Apple Store Ginza, and previously on ever-vigilant MATRIXSYNTH.

Perhaps more practical, Bjorn of Covert Operators and International Feel Recordings add their own custom iPad control layout app for Ableton Live to the various entries competing for your Ableton-controlling attention (including some on the JazzMutant Lemur). MB Control resembles some of the Lemur layouts, focusing on touch-augmented renditions of standard control schemes for triggering, mixing, and parameter adjustment. I still imagine this will fail to impress some people who enjoy tactile hardware controllers, but it does look practical, and there’s no reason you can’t put an iPad next to a box of physical faders.

No other details for now, so I think this qualifies as a “teaser.”

Whether we see similar competition from the Android, Chrome, and Linux and Windows camps I think remains dependent on what touch technology new devices use, and whether it works for control. We should know more as the fall and winter stretch on and some of those devices appear.

  • Armando


  • Chuck

    I grabbed Radarhead and it's pretty cool for what it does. The sounds are definitely 8bit sounding and it's easy to get some cool sounding rhythms going.

    It's definitely a bit limited but I can see myself running this through Ableton Live for making crazy loops.

    A nice, cheap sound toy to play around with if you are looking for something completely out of the ordinary.

  • MB control is just amazing!!!
    Please do not publish this kind of stuff anymore, or at least wait until I can afford an iPad.

  • shim

    8 bit is kinda sweet in the right context. albeit a limited one. but i guess i just prefer organic music. are we actually talking about music or just tech. tech is great fun but it doesn't make music.

    i guess the question is: does this tech inspire music within an artist that is capable of making music or is this engineer fodder?

    i say less tech geekery and more musicality.

    "…there are so many poets yet so little poetry"

  • as a committed hacker…I have to say I agree with @shim.

  • Genjutsushi

    Isn't the MB CONTROL based on TOUCH OSC? Will this be another hack ala the usual Covert Operators modus operandi?

  • HEXnibble

    Don't forget LiveControl which is already here and being used heavily by Live users, and of course the upcoming touchAble.

    Radarhead looks fun and unusual.

  • VJ Franz K is a very talented guy: rig design, great musical abilities, creativity beyond limits and now ipad/iphone apps.

  • "interestingly&

    "Interestingly, many control applications use Ableton Live as the sound source." actually its quite obvious why. you could try and hack something to do what ableton does and get halfway there, or you could just use ableton…

  • CHoc DOnut

    In discussions about music, the fact remains that a great vocalist and a great guitarist, and a great drummer are gonna beat the pants off of the vast majority of electronic artists. However, for an electronic artist to be one of the greats in the genre, good, organic control is critical, and therefore, good gadgetry is critical, just like a good guitar is better than a cheap one. I didnt buy a Lemur, but their software looks to be the best. I WANT MB.