Jimmy Fallon may have won himself a few unintended laughs a couple of months ago when he awkwardly tried to hide his beloved MacBook from guest Bill Gates, but the incident hasn't dulled his love for the products coming out of Cupertino. Indeed, just last night the latest host of The Tonight Show used an iPad app to perform a doo-wop duet with singer Billy Joel, and the performance turned so many heads that Tim Cook himself linked it on Twitter.
With the deluge of cool audio and synthesis apps on iOS, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the pack—but the long-awaited iVCS3 is raising eyebrows and potentially blowing out speakers across the land. While it’s billed as a software simulation of an analog synthesizer that found favor with bands like Pink Floyd and The Who, iVCS3 is really a virtual laboratory of sonic mayhem and aural outrageousness. It’s not useful for playing standard musical riffs, but is infinitely capable of generating insanely complex, dynamic, and downright chaotic soundscapes that will amaze, delight, and terrify, all at once.
Even if you have no musical abilities, your iPhone gives you the tools to create lush, multi-layered tracks in an instant, thanks to the proliferation of simple, speedy interfaces that require neither practice nor patience. Crossfader might be the best representation of this fact to date. With a brilliant concept that uses the iPhone's accelerometer to mix and mash popular tunes, the app won't teach you how to be a world-class DJ, but it will get your next party started quickly.
Sector is a totally unique, vastly powerful, and well-designed beat manipulation tool for iPad that stirs together audio and math in a way that astounds and delights. The description of a “stochastic sample slice sequencer” might scare some off, but fear not: this is a beauty of a beast. Imported audio files are mapped into a circular, looping display, and sliced into a specific number of sectors, or segments (from two to 32 chunks), each with its own color.
You may have heard that Apple's acclaimed iTunes Festival is coming over to this side of the pond for next month's SXSW (South By Southwest) Festival in Austin, and now The Loop has more news on what to expect. Along with Coldplay, Imagine Dragon, and other groups, '90s sensation Soundgarden will be performing at the festival.
Radiohead has long been known for its compelling collaborations with animators and video artists, which have resulted in cool music videos, performance projections, and graphics. Now the band has now extended its interest into the iOS world with PolyFauna, a strange sonic tour through a decidedly eccentric audiovisual realm. It’s not a game – there's nothing to win, nor a final destination – but rather a wacky piece of interactive art that is deceptively simple to navigate and oddly soothing, even for those who are not usually turned on by Radiohead’s expansive, moody musical stylings.
Tablet DJs have long been happy with the two primary players in that sandbox: Native Instruments’ Traktor DJ and Algoriddim’s djay, the latter of which launched a stellar sequel not long ago. Both are digital spinning powerhouses, but carrying around a large library of music has always been a limiting factor for covering all potential sonic bases. That’s where Pacemaker is trying to carve out a unique niche: it’s the only iPad DJ software that comes with Spotify support.
The story goes that Apple originally intended for iTunes to be a "break-even" business, but the popular music and video service has proven more successful than those earliest projections could have dreamed of. Indeed, based on Asymco's calculations (via 9to5Mac), iTunes on its own would rank as 130 in the Fortune 500 list of the top U.S. companies.
Venerable music gear maker KORG has already brought some very cool audio apps to the iOS universe, and it continues the onslaught with Gadget, a slick, lovely-sounding iPad app with 15 synth devices — each capable of some true sonic mayhem, and all wrapped into a productive sequencing environment. It’s not hard to quickly whip up some pounding electronic dance music (EDM), especially once you get the hang of the interface, but there are significant holes in the slick veneer.
If there was any clear loser during Apple's earnings call this week, it was the once mighty iPod. After the news broke that only 6 million units of the portable music device had been sold--around half as many from the same time last year--pundits across the Internet hopped on their soapboxes to declare the iPod dead. But not so fast, 9to5Mac says--evidence suggests that Apple might have big plans for the device yet.