BBC Interview “Brian Eno on Apps and Albums” with Zebra 2 Cameo

image

I just watched this interesting BBC interview “Brian Eno on Apps and Albums”.  I don’t see a way to embed so click here to watch it..

His latest venture is the app Scape, a follow-up to 2008's Bloom app. Scape not only contains his most recent 'album' of the same name, but is also a tool allowing people to compose their own music on mobile devices.

He developed it with Peter Chilvers, known for his work creating music for computer games in the 1990s.

The app promises "deep access to the musical elements" that the composers used to make the album itself.

I thought it was pretty cool to see one of my desert island synths Zebra 2 on the monitor behind him :^ ).

Scape

Here is a video on Scape.

You can buy Scape for 5.99 on iTunes.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

First Try at iOS6. Which Musician Apps Work, Which Don’t.

modulate-this-ipad

I’m between production projects so I thought I’d take a bullet for the community and just upgrade my iPad 3 to iOS6 without knowing if any apps would work – lol. If you are in the middle of a project I suggest you wait to upgrade. This is a general rule I follow for all my equipment and software.

I restricted my testing to the following criteria. Will the app start? Will it function in a basic way (GUI works, makes some noise)?   I don’t own ever app made so this is just my list of what works and what doesn’t. If you find issues with apps feel free to make a comment – and of course notify the developer so they can upgrade the app for iOS6.

App Crashes After Splash Screen Displayed
Update: Both of these apps are now working in iOS6.

  • PPG WaveGenerator
  • Akai SynthStation

If you double-click the button on your device you’ll see these apps are running in the background.

App Functions at A Basic Level

  • TC-11
  • Alchemy Mobile
  • CrustalSynthXT
  • GeoSynth
  • GrainSicence
  • iElectribe
  • iMS-20
  • iRigMIDI
  • Lemur
  • Magellan
  • Midi Monitor
  • Moog Animoog
  • Moog Filtatron
  • MorphWiz
  • NanoStudio
  • Nlog
  • Orphion
  • SampleWiz
  • SoundPrism Pro
  • Sunrizer
  • SynthX
  • TC-11
  • ThumbJam
  • TNR-i

Proceed with Caution

Again this is a basic test just to see if apps function at a basic level. I’ll let you know if I bump into more serious issues as I work with the apps on iOS6 in the comments.

Electronic Musician, Boulder CO
http://www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

Working on Lemur Interface for U-HE Zebra

DSCN4934

In recent posts I mentioned I was experimenting with the iPad with Alchemy, Slim Phatty, and iTnri. The Dark Zebra (ZebraHZ) release got me back into synthesis with Zebra in a big way. As I dug into the patches by Hans Zimmer and Howard Scarr,  I discovered they not only map XYs but Aftertouch and Breath controller. In considering how to map to this, I bumped into this article by Audio Newsroom Interview with Zebra creator Urs Heckman called “Off-the-record: Urs Heckmann (u-he)”. They asked:

About Zebra, in the past I remember you told me there was a remote chance to see an hardware product out of it. Did the idea evolve somehow and are you still interested in it?
I'm all for it but I can't do it alone. I've spoken to some people but I found nothing yet appealing enough to take a risk. I'd love to provide the industrial design for a zebraesque controller keyboard with 4 joysticks though.

While I think a dedicated hardware controller would be epic, it seems unlikely any time soon – so started working up an interface on Lemur with 4 XYs and thought I’d share the photo above.

Lemur Template Notes

I started with the “iPad – Studio Combo” template and:

  1. Scaled the keys and octave button down to make room for more objects
  2. In addition to Mod Wheel and Pitch Bend, I added sliders to the right for Aftertouch and Breath Controller
  3. Along the top you can see 4 XY (Multiball objects). Below the first one you can see 3 horizontal sliders that I’m going to map to physics params for the XYs for Friction, Attraction, and speed.
  4. I added 2 ADSRs (red and green) which I map to Envelope 1 & 2 in Zebra.
  5. Top right I have two custombutton objects. The first is mapped to a note so I can trigger a drone or arpegio (Zebra doesn’t have a “hold” on the arp). The second is mapped to MIDI sustain and toggle sustain on and off.
  6. Just to the right of the last XY there is a set of horizontal bars. I don’t have these quite working right but they are for the “VoiceMode” which will allow me to turn the arp on and off.

MIDI Mapping Notes

To map the Lemur to Zebra I use MIDI Learn by right-clicking on the target controls in Zebra then change the value of the corresponding object on the Lemur. This actually saves these mappings to com.u-he.Zebra2.midiassign.txt file so they work even after you close and re-open the host or add Zebra to a new set.  Note that this file is shared between Zebra 2.5 and ZebraHZ so once you map Lemur works for both which is a real time saver. Note you can edit this file in a text editor (backup before you mess with it) and delete it if you want to reset mappings (it will be re-created when after you re-launch your host and start Zebra).

In Use

Like my experience with Alchemy Mobile as a controller for Alchemy VST, using Lemur running wirelessly on the iPad to drive Zebra  is really captivating. It’s very organic and the ability to add physics with say XY ball movement takes performance to the next level.

As a result of my great experience with these controller interfaces, I find myself using iPad more  and more in the role of controller instead of iOS synth platform.

Moral of the Story

iPad interfaces to PC synths make me use the PC synths more :^)

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com