It samples. It slices. It mangles. It generates. It mutates. It’s like what happens when a drum machine is invaded by nanobots, and they start improving everything. Let me explain.

Take your favorite iPad samplers. Now, imagine they’re the basis of samples in an analog Elektron drum machine – colourful slicing interface and all. Then imagine this same iPad app does what Elektron themselves seemed unable to do: making an easy, logical way of transferring samples. And then, imagine that this app also can spawn new rhythms for you.

It’s as if you took everything powerful about the Elektron Analog Rytm, and everything powerful about the iPad, and multiplied them together. Normally, we praise drum machines for their limitations. Here, the combo with an iPad kind of puts the laptop computer to shame.

I was already in the midst of finishing a review of the Analog Rytm, and then Strom dropped in my lap. I’ve been using a pre-release version, and … wow. It’s almost a reason to buy the Analog Rytm. (Elektron: you’re welcome.)

And, oddly enough, Elektron didn’t do anything. Instead, the entire app was reverse-engineered from their gear by a passionate user. Developer Jakob Penca sends some screen shots of the three modes – sound mangling kit, pattern generator, sampler:




It’s all sort of beyond awesome, I have to say, as a combo, but I won’t say any more until the review is ready. Stay tuned.

Here’s a look in the meanwhile of where this came from:

Jakob already started along these lines before, as seen on CDM.

First, there was a Processing experiment in which he began experimenting with beat mutation:

Molecular Acid from Jakob Penca on Vimeo.

Then, he started breeding rhythms on the Elektron.

Breeding Beats: Pattern Mutation with Elektron Machinedrum + iPad

And then, this happened:

You know, food on the floo—holy …

Nice stuff, musically as well as technologically.

Jakob explains that the project “was all done by reverse-engineering the Elektron [MIDI] SysEx format.” First, he built an OS X app, with basic UI widgets, like so:


Then, he moved on to OpenGL and Cocos2D UI elements on iOS. [The latter is an open source framework for UI, graphics, and gaming – and now supports Swift, by the way.]

Here’s an early prototype working with the Analog Four:


Now, it’s on to the finished app. Stay tuned; we’ll be sure to let you know when it’s available on the App Store.

Official details:

Twitter: @stromapp
Elektronauts discussion
Strom is an advanced iPad App, providing unprecedented integration with the most powerful drum machine available, the Elektron Analog Rytm.

Strom makes uploading samples from iPad to Rytm easy.
Its quirky monophonic sampler can can also be used stand-alone.

Furthermore, Strom offers a kick-ass interface to enhance your live performance.
The App is designed to quickly and efficiently bend Rytm’s vast sonic space, and to generate and mutate your beats.

Strom will be available at the App Store very soon.