Rants + Raves

We’ve seen !!! quite a few times now and are always blown-away how great they sound live. Capturing that energy on their albums has been somewhat elusive, barring a few especially slamming songs (Steady as the Sidewalk Cracks for one). Since their label gave them some money for a video, they went like Bill O’Reilly and decided to “Do it live!” with very nice results. Play loudly.

Just stumbled across this video of Thee Oh Sees playing live on KEXP. We saw them on this tour at the Doug Fir and it was amazing. I had a perma-grin plastered to my face watching drummers, Dan Rincon and Ryan Moutinho play in almost perfect synchronicity. The sound was like a water canon pummeling you non-stop in the chest. Apparently, Moutinho left the band, so this video has only Rincon on the skins though he plays so fast he might as well be two people.

As cool as they are, it’s hard for me to justify getting an iPad. I already have a laptop, an iPhone, and an iPod. But there’s something so enticing about the simplicity and portability of the device that makes me drool. And that was before I saw these very cool music apps designed for the iPad. The other thing thing that makes all of this so compelling is the price of the Apps. Almost all of the following titles are less that 15 bucks! Compare that to the cost of a new synth, 4-track or amp and you’ll quickly forgive many of the applications’ shortcomings.

djay for iPad – Seeing the video for this app is what inspired me to write this post–it’s just that cool. djay transforms your iPad into a full-fledged DJ system, allowing you to mix your iPod music library on a visual turntable interface. Perform live, record iTunes mixes on-the-go, or enable Automix mode and let djay mix your favorite iTunes playlist automatically. Just watch…

Pianist Pro Recommended by The New York Times and Rolling Stone, and played live by the band Squeeze on the Jimmy Fallon show, Pianist Pro features virtual real sized keys on the face of your iPad.

Groovemaker – Make dance and electronic music with loops, beats and sound effects on 8 tracks with a built-in mixer. Also available as a FREE demo version.

Korg iElectribe – From the official description: Korg’s ELECTRIBE·R has been coveted by dance musicians for ten years running. Today, this indispensable instrument has been reborn as a dedicated iPad app – the KORG iELECTRIBE virtual analog beatbox! Sounds good to me.
KORG iMS-20 – An “analog” sythsizer on your iPad. A recreation of the Korg MS-20 analog synth with built-in 16-step analog sequencer to control the sound, music production studio with the MS-20 mono synth, a six-part drum machine, and a mixer, and Kaoss Pad function allows intuitive performance and control. The UI has virtual patch cables like the computer-based Reason software from Propellerhead Software. Speaking of which…

Rebirth – Propellerhead’s legendary Techno Micro Composer is now available for both iPhone and iPad. ReBirth emulates dance music’s three backbone devices: The Roland TB-303 Bass synth and the Roland TR-808 and 909 drum machines. Share your music with friends on Facebook, Twitter and more using the built in sharing features.

Portastudio – If you ever used a cassette 4-track to record your music, the interface of this recording app from Tascam will likely appeal to you. Not a lot of bells and whistles–you can’t even bounce tracks (!) but you can record live music with the built-in mic on the iPad or via an audio interface for better quality. And, it’s only $9.99–much cheaper than the $400 this would have costs a few years ago. And no more cassettes!

Accordéon – Demoed by Steve Jobs during the iPhone OS 4 Keynote, Accordéon for the iPad takes full advantage of the unique form-factor and multi-touch nature of the Accordion. Now you can play your favorite polkas on the go!

Reactable – Ditching the interface of traditional music gear, Reactable lets use remix and control sound with a unique visual interface that looks more like a video game than a controller. Not sure how this would “feel” in use, but you can see a demo video on their site. Interesting…

Amplitude iRig – Get the sound of multiple tube amps combined with effects pedal boxes with your iPad and the included guitar cable interface. Talk about traveling light! Seems like a nice solution for smaller recording studios as well. Makes me wish I could actually play guitar!

BONUS: The Filtatron from Moog – Written about previously on SLP by Chris Thompson!

Something cool that we missed? Using one of these apps now, and have some feedback? Please reply below…