Sunday, November 30, 2008

Music Snippets

Twittered some mp3s recently. Graduating them here, to the main blog.

minimal tech/garage-y

Last one's kind of unusual - I made it on a plane, with iDrum. iDrum is an iPhone app with a kickass UI but terrible playback options. The other three were created entirely with cheap Korg hardware.

One of the great things Korg always does is assume that even their toys should be usable in serious contexts. iDrum assumes you just want to play with the interface and will never actually try to create a complete track on your iPhone. But if you're trapped on an airplane you may do exactly that.

The result is that playing back an actual tune in iDrum is kind of ridiculous. You have three options. Your track consists of only 16 individual patterns, played in series, once. Or, your track consists of only 16 individual patterns, and the series of 16 patterns is played more than once. Or, you get it to play back the patterns manually, using the iDrum interface in real time. That's what I did for this mp3.

It's a shit option, because the iDrum interface is designed for beat editing, not realtime playback, but it kind of works. You still have to play back a maximum of 16 patterns, in series, but you can get it to repeat individual patterns any number of times, and you can hop around the series, if your fingers are nimble and your memory is good.

iDrum's a great little instrument but this drawback makes me hesitate to recommend it. The developers also offer a desktop version, which appears to have a less creative UI, and a ringtone sync app, which allows you to use your beats as ringtones. It's possible that this means it's an MP3 exporter, in which case you have something you can work with in Ableton Live. I'm going to give it a shot.

A further note about hardware. I used to have a small hardware studio setup: Korg M1, Korg Prophecy, Nord Lead, Akai MPC-2000, power filter, mixer, and an Alesis Wedge for reverb and delay. Around 2002-ish I sold it all and switched to Reason. After a couple of years I decided to get some hardware back in the mix again, and picked up a Korg M1R and M3R (rackmount versions of the M1) on eBay. The machines in the picture are a Korg ER-1 and a microKorg.

The ER-1's a small but powerful drum machine. I've gotten it working with Archaeopteryx, although only in a proof-of-concept form so far. Archaeopteryx is optimized for drums, so I haven't set it loose on the microKorg yet, but it's only a matter of time.