This Week’s Music Apps: Virtual DJ World, 4-Person iPad App, New Music ID Contender
Guest post by Andrew Garsetti of Evolver.fm.
This has been an especially fruitful summer for music games, as former Cut Copy bassist (and developer of mega-hit Olympics web app QWOP) Bennett Foddy has added to the short list of Pitchfork’s interactive music web apps and Beck penned three songs for the Sound Shapes Playstation game. We’ve seen plenty of great music apps too, as you’ll see below — including an immersive Android synthesizer, an iPad band app for (theoretically) four people, and a new digital DJ world. First, some reviews:
Accompanist ($2): This simple –and, it turns out, pretty neat — app maps chords to go with whatever vocals you sing. The idea here is twofold. For those looking to cook up an acoustic cover of their favorite song, Accompanist helps assemble the track’s chord structure, or at least something like it. Meanwhile, aspiring songwriters could find the app useful, because all they have to do to write the basis of a song is sing it. What’s more, for the less vocally-gifted, Accompanist includes an autotune feature that corrects pitches (in the subtle way that actual recording studios usually use, not the T-Pain way).
MusicID+ (free): Various forms of MusicID have been around for some time, but developers Gravity Mobile have overhauled the app, and now it deserves to be in the elite circle of music identification apps. You can identify an unlimited number of songs against a database of over 21 million songs, or you can look up a song or artist using only the lyrics and “geo-tag” the spot where you heard the song.
Smudge. (free): Liine’s new Smudge. app was to designed work with an outrageously cool art installation at a Spanish nightclub, but we think it works pretty well on its own, too. The sexy design boasts eight different sequences of malleable ink blots. Depending on how you form the shapes, the tone, percussion, and duration of the notes changes.
Rockmate ($3): Rockmate is a music creation app exclusive to the iPad, and with good reason. As shown in the app’s promotional video, four people (or two very skilled people) can work on a single track at the same time using the app’s included instruments. Without all of that screen space that the iPad affords, this probably wouldn’t work.
MP3 Music Hits (free): Yet another tool for finding free music online, this one promises “CD Quality,” by which it erroneously means high-bitrate MP3s. As one might suspect, it’s for streaming only — no downloading.
Synchroid ($1.15): This brand new smartphone synthesizer sets itself apart with an intuitive, accessible interface. The app isn’t MIDI-compatible, which is a big omission for those looking to compose music using real equipment, but the “sequencing” part of this sequenced synthesizer is incredibly easy to manipulate and set up, solving problems I’ve struggled with many times before. Its layout looks, somewhat curiously, like Mac Paintbrush, and the sounds don’t range beyond what you’d hear in a drone/ambient music project, but if that kind of thing is appealing to you (as it is to me), Synchroid’s worth the odd price tag.
TwistedWave Audio Editor (free): Ever since Garageband became a paid app instead of a pre-installed software for Mac, there really hasn’t been a universally agreed-upon Digital Audio Workstation for the Mac masses. Audacity certainly comes close, but it’s not available on the web (ed. note: I personally love Audacity). TwistedWave is set up somewhat similarly to Audacity, and it’s easy to navigate after a few minutes of learning the controls. It’s also available for iOS.
Mixify (free): An engrossing DJ environment that’s as fun to play with as simply to observe, Mixify (still in beta) is original and complex enough that we can see it really taking off as it evolves. Upon startup, users select the “I’m a fan” or “I’m a DJ” option. From there, they can explore virtual “DJ events” where DJs performing live; play with Mixify’s own built in mixer; or even upload tracks to the site for other people to purchase (the site takes a 50 percent cut in those cases). The site is gaining traction, as real DJs are starting to sign up.
[Ed. note: Evolver.fm writer Andrew Garsetti actually put this edition of This Week In Music Apps together a couple of weeks ago, but we're guessing most of this stuff will still be new to you. It will soon resume its regular schedule; stay tuned.]