This month in our iOS music app roundup we explore Noisemusick - a noisy little synth from Fluxuma, Strange Attractor – a sound and effects generator based on chaos theory, Pitch Painter – Morton Subotnick’s new music app for children, and an update to Thicket’s interactive art experience.
The $.99 Noisemusick app from Fluxama collective in Providence, RI is a very simple but (as you’d expect) noisy sound maker for your iPhone. This is actually a clever re-creation of a Jessica Rylan DIY synth project that was circulating on the web a few years back. The Noisemusick app is a collection of three tiny controllable synthesizers that generate interesting chaotic sounds when you touch different pads on the interface. Fluxuma explains,”Your fingers complete the circuit between the touch pads to generate different frequencies and modulations. By lifting a finger or sliding the hold switch you can create rhythmic patterns of noise. Move your fingers to change the resistance between your finger and the pads, which changes the frequency and beating of the tone. On each board the knobs change the quality of the tone in different ways.”
Jonathan Mackenzie’s Strange Attractor is a new App on the market that works as an effects processor and sound generator by way of the iPad’s multi-touch display. The programming behind the application is based on chaos theory, which makes for some exciting and unexpected results. Mackenzie explains,”At its heart is a feedback system which can spontaneously oscillate, or respond to incoming sounds, processing them into fractal sonic textures. The application generates a wide range of interesting undulating sounds, controlled by the touch interface, which slowly evolve in unpredictable ways. Unlike conventional synthesis techniques, sounds emerge in surprising and unexpected ways, almost having a life of their own. By moving your finger on the screen, you can navigate through a space of evolving sounds, that build-up, pulsate, and decay. The sound is visualised as an ever-changing dynamic form.” This application is still a bit new and undergoing development (currently sound input is only accepted from the microphone, many users are hoping for lin-in support) but the sounds this app can generate are inspiring, if also sometimes a bit creepy (and that’s a positive, for me).
Electronic music pioneer and synthesis guru Morton Subotnick has recently released an innovative music application for children called Pitch Painter for the iPad. The application is a musical finger painting app that allows the user to paint sounds on the canvas and play them back. “While engaged in creative musical play, the child will be introduced to a variety of musical instrumental sounds and authentic scale tunings from four regions of the world.”And while this app is aimed at children, I can’t help but think this would be a great tool for adult users who want to learn music in creative ways. Features include: 3 instrumental sounds from 4 different regions of the world, three finger multi-touch, play the canvas in different ways (upside down, backwards), save and load compositions.
Thicket is a beautifully designed interactive audiovisual app created by Joshue Ott and Morgan Packard. This unique app is not quite an instrument but lies somewhere between audio/visual kaleidoscope and inspiration/meditation tool. Thicket has been around for a couple years now but sees constant updates, with revision 3.11 bringing three new modes (Grass, Remember, and Cut Whispers) to the interface. The designers explain a bit more about this program: “Thicket is an audiovisual playground for iPad and iPhone that allows anyone to create beautiful sounds and pictures from simple finger touches. For users of all ages, this generative art and sound app immerses you in song-like audiovisual pieces called modes. When “playing” a mode, you both react to and create the music and graphics that you experience. Each mode is its own art generator, interactive toy, instrument, even performance tool depending on how you use it. And with new modes to be developed and released every few months, Thicket functions an expandable platform in the exciting new genre of handheld interactive art.”
Michael Walsh is a producer of audio/visual art and a journalist living in Southern California. Read more of his work at soundsdefygravity.com