When it’s just you and some electronics making music, a good place to begin the process of solidifying your ideas is with a drum beat. There are a lot of drum machine and sequencer apps, each no doubt with its adherents, but who has time to try them all out, learn them and then choose a favorite -especially with the field filling up every day. I happened upon EasyBeats LE, a free app with decent flexibility, some good kit sounds and a very straight forward interface having both a drum pad mode (think MPC 1000 etc) and a grid/matrix mode (think Tenori-on). The free version was so good I bought the paid version. I use it on both my iPad and iPhone.
The brand mark. Find this in the iTunes app store. It’s free -why not get it and try it out?
In the last post I described the sweet odyssey that was researching, testing and eventually setting up a rudimentary home music recording studio based on traditional instruments, an iPad and GarageBand. This post is about the control center of my set-up -the mixer, in my case a Mackie 402-VLZ3.
The thing. Mixers were developed to take a variety of input signals and allow the user to adjust the level of each, resulting in a mixed or balanced output signal. Good mixers have built in pre-amps and EQing capabilities while limiting added signal noise. This mixer has/does/doesn’t do these things well -all in a package a little bigger than a 1 pound London Broil steak.
I read with interest that Damon Albarn, founder of Blur and the primary music force behind Gorillaz, recorded The Fall, their recently released album, almost entirely on an iPad during their fall 2010 tour of the US of where I live A. The aforelinked article gives the impression that everything on the album was app based, but when you read the credits, you find references to additional guitars, bass, keyboards etc for each track, which got me thinking -why not do likewise in my musical endeavors and mix app-based with real instruments. Musical endeavors you’re thinking? Why yes (as Anthony Bourdain would say) I have a band, an unnamed, recently formed project with an old friend and someone we recently recruited to sing and collaborate with, who I’m please to call a new friend and hope to one day call old friend.
Instruments, a mixer, wires, an iPad and my laptop. A simple easy-to-use studio.