expressionPad is a new free Synth/Sampler instrument, that was better than I expected

Free apps can be great. Let me start with that, they can be great. Not all free apps are great, and sometimes they can hide expensive IAPs that you need to get even the most basic functionality. So I’m always slightly sceptical about a new app that I know very little about. So when I decided to download expressionPad I didn’t have high expectations at all. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I got the app open. To begin with the app’s interface seemed way to small to work on an iPhone 6s in portrait mode, but when you switch to landscape it becomes much easier to use entirely. As such I will be giving the app a bit more room on my iPhone and a bit more time to explore it.

So you might be interested to know just what this app is all about. Here’s the app’s description:

expressionPad is a new kind of musical instrument. Continuous multi-touch support means you can control pitch bend, dynamics, and modulation with each touch, even as you change notes.

We’ve created a flexible and intuitive interface so you can focus on music. Watch our video and see for yourself!

Tune your expressionPad in fourths, fifths, or in guitar tunings such as standard or Open C.

expressionPad features a built-in polyphonic synthesizer/sampler so you can start making music right away. Experience the flexibility of polyphonic portamento — an electronic music first!

Connect to your music studio via Core MIDI, Apple’s inter-app music protocol. With expressionPad, you can play Reason, Ableton Live, Logic, Garage Band, and Logic more expressively than ever!

A clean interface, a flexible synthesizer/sampler, and lightning-fast MIDI response. Push your musical ideas to new limits with expressionPad.

expressionPad is free on the app store now:

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VCV Rack, das Modularsystem im Rechner

screenshot

Wer schon immer mal in die wundersame Welt der Modularsysteme einsteigen wollte, aber gerade keine freie Wand oder den nötigen Zaster parat hat, dem kann jetzt geholfen werden. VCV Rack gibt es völlig kostenlos, für Mac, Windows und Linux, dafür sind die Strippen halt nur virtuell. Der Module gibt es mittlerweile ziemlich viele und es kommen ständig neue dazu, darunter auch Nachbauten von ziemlich populären, wie z.B. von Mutable Instruments und inoffizielle die man sich über Github dazu laden kann.
Um die Sache rund zu machen wird es demnächst auch noch ein VST/AU Plugin geben, um die Chose in die Daw einzubinden

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DIY: Build An Arcade Controller For Pocket Operators

Teenage Engineering's Pocket Operator series has made their way into DJ booths and studios with great results. These are extremely portable, fun synthesis toys. What if you could have a full size standalone drum machine using with the PO as the brain?

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Jazzari lets you sketch musical ideas in your browser, with JavaScript

Open up a browser tab, use code sketch musical loops and grooves (using trigonometry, even), and play / export – all in this free tool.

Jazzari has been making the rounds among passionate music tech nerds, as a lovely free code toy. There are a bunch of easy-to-modify tutorial examples, so you don’t necessarily have to know any JavaScript or code. But there’s no graphical control at all – that visualization and the cute cartoon characters are just to give you feedback on what the code does.

So — why?

Developer Jack Schaedler is quick to caution that this is neither intended for teaching code nor teaching music, that better tools exist for each. (Sonic Pi is a particularly accessible entry for learning how to express musical ideas as code, used even by kids!)

Then again, you don’t have to believe him. That same spirit that made him decide to do this for fun seems to be infectious. And this might be an entry into making this stuff.

For coders, it’s yet another chance to discover some code and libraries and perhaps bits and pieces and inspiration for your own next project. For everyone else, well, it’s a terrific distraction.

And you can export MIDI, so this could start a new musical project.

https://jackschaedler.github.io/jazzari/

https://jackschaedler.github.io/jazzari/about.html

By the way, someone want to join me in building this actual inspiration for Jazzari? It could be killer by next summer, at least.

The name is a riff on the 12th century scholar and inventor Ismail al-Jazari. al-Jazari is thought to have invented one of the first programmable musical machines, a “musical automaton, which was a boat with four automatic musicians that floated on a lake to entertain guests at royal drinking parties.”

Bonus, for my Arabic, Kurdish, and Persian friends in electronic music – no one knows which of those accurately can claim this guy. We clearly need to get something going.

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Bun Trend

Our experts have characterized the ecological impact of this trend as "adorable."

Neuer Mix: TNT #23

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Bevor es morgen mit der neuen Ausgabe weitergeht, hier die magische Nummer 23 vom 23.9.2017.

Die Playlist:
Tropar Flot – Fight Back Or Die
Bak – Particle
Hollen – Cyclop (The Reactivitz Remix)
Reinier Zonneveld – Crimson
Ian O’Donovan – Voodoo Doll
Avgusto – Hadley
Volodia Rizak – Holditup
Vakkuum – Speaker Sounds
Kristina Lalic – Cube Zero
Mella Dee – Woodlands
Don Weber – Panic
Aitor Ronda – Bullocks (The YellowHeads Remix)
Harry Romero – Neon Jungle
Chicago Loop – Acid Freeq

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Sensory Percussion: Turning Drums Into Expressive Instruments

What happens when you do to drums what controllerism has done to DJing? Learn how Sensory Percussion is doing exactly that with a drum trigger system that acts as an extension to acoustic drumming.

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State Borders

A schism between the pro-panhandle and anti-panhandle factions eventually led to war, but both sides spent too much time working on their flag designs to actually do much fighting.

CDJs Will Send Track Data To Visuals/Lighting Techs With ShowKontrol

Amidst a bunch of other Pioneer DJ news, the company has sent a fascinating press release. They've co-developed a system to allow Rekordbox track data to be sent directly from the DJ booth, over ProLink, to VJs, lighting directors, and show technicians. The collaboration is between Pioneer DJ and a company called TC Supply, who will launch their own software, ShowKontrol, designed to receive the information. Keep reading for details.

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Koma just unveiled a whole patchable analog effects toolkit

Koma today revealed a sequel to their crowd-funded smash hit Field Kit. And it’s a whole bunch of patchable effects, for €249 (€219 for funders).

Inside that box, there’s a load of different effects to play with:

  • Looper
  • Frequency Shifter
  • Sample Rate Reducer / Bitcrusher
  • Digital Delay
  • Analog Spring Reverb

Yeah, you read that last one right – there’s actually a physical spring included with the kit for reverb. Behold:

Looping of course means that you could make the FX a hub of performance. And in addition to the other digital effects, that frequency shifter opens up some really interesting possibilities.

So, whereas the first Field Kit depended on you attaching contact mics and working with the mixing functions, the Field Kit FX actually has a lot more sonic possibilities included right out of the box. There’s still a companion book to go with it, and of course this is already intended as a clever companion to the original Field Kit and contact mics. But whereas that piece seemed to end at being an odd experimental sound tool, the FX promises to be all that and a desirable processing tool for everyone else.

But, for a kind of “weirdo modular effects toolkit” in a case, you also get a bunch of tools for applying these effects, by mixing and sequencing them:

  • 4 Channel VCA Mixer
  • 4 Step Mini Sequencer
  • Envelope Generator

All over the place, you’ve got various patch points. That’s a chance to connect to other analog I/O – which certainly includes Eurorack modulars, but these days a lot of other gear, as well, even desktop units from Novation, Roland, Arturia, KORG, and the like.

And there’s a new 4-Channel CV Interface for bringing it all together, meaning you can come up with pretty elaborate modular connections.

4-channel CV interface for communications with other gear – now not just modular, but a lot of new desktop stuff, too.

In fact, for under three hundred bucks, the whole thing looks a bit like either a shrunken Eurorack modular or a tabletop of analog and digital effects merged together for patching.

Now, this is still definitely geared for advanced users. There’s no MIDI. And the CV routing, while powerful, might be overwhelming to newcomers – for instance, there’s not a single, simple trigger in to clock that sequencer. (That’s not necessarily a criticism – the various CV options mean loads of creative flexibility. But it does probably mean this box is more for people who want to get deep into patching.)

Watch the overview video, natch:

FIELD KIT FX – CV Controlled Multi Effects Processor

Exclusive: hands-on photos from the launch event.

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