New Movements in Portable Productions: Griid, Reactable Live, iRig Mic +

The world of iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod), Android and tablet music creation has been a hot topic this past year and many creators of music software and hardware are announcing new products for 2011. Liine (the company behind Plastikman’s iPad interfaces) has recently updated  their Griid iOS software and added MIDI-clip editing to the (already popular) program. Liine’s Garreth Williams will be with us at Wham Bam an we’re eager to hear what they have in store for 2011. Griid (with the new Cliip editor) looks to be a contender for the best Ableton Live interface on the iPad. Check Cliip’s new abilities in the video above.

Another app that looks intriguing to us is Alessandro De Nardi’s RicePad. Billed as a “modular environment for portable live music,” this app seems to offer a lot for a low price ($4.99.) With Ricepad you create music by arranging objects called modules in a single chain. You start from existing sounds, freely available from the constantly updating library, importable from your computer (Mac/PC/Linux/…) or pastable from the clipboard of compatible apps, or you can use the mic line(*). Then the combination of modules you compose, divided between audio sources and effects, will manipulate the sound in an unexpectedly great number or ways. Check the video above to see it in action.

On the hardware front, IK Multimedia (creators of iRig) are launching iRig Mic, “the first handheld, quality condenser microphone for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad designed for all of your mobile sound needs.” iConnectivity also has some cool gear to show with the release of iConnect MIDI, an “Ultra High Speed iOS CoreMIDI Compliant Interface for your iPad, iPhone and iPod devices.” Alternately, for those who prefer the OSC protocol, there is The Missing Link, “a standalone hardware device which contains its own WiFi radio, and translates specially-coded OSC messages sent from your mobile device or computer into standard MIDI messages.” Sounds impressive! Also on the iPad hardware tip is Ion’s Pianomaster, a 49-key music keyboard for the iPad.

Aside from iOS gear there are some other cool movements in portable music creaton and the one thing I can’t wait to see this year is Teenage Engineering’s OP-1. It’s been in production for a couple of years now and has shown at previous trade shows but has not yet released to the public. From Teenage Engineering’s site: “The OP-1 is the all-in-one portable Synthesizer, Sampler and Controller. With additional features like the FM Radio and a G-Force sensor for pitch and bend effects. Beside a fresh and creative approach to sequencing with multiple choice of sequencers, you just have to love the OP-1’s built-in Tape feature.”[/youtube

Another piece of gear that we are eager to see in-person is Reactable’s new (semi) portable Reactable Live instrument. While the previous version of this (incredible) piece was laborious to move, the new unit promises to be portable enough to travel with for gigs. The company explains it as follows: “The Reactable was conceived as an instrument to bring back the expressive possibilities of traditional instruments to musicians who are working with new technologies. It uses concepts of modular synthesis, sampling, advanced digital effects processing, and DJing and combines them with modern human computer interaction, multitouch technology and a tangible interface.” The new incarnation of this instrument is still a bit pricey (over ten grand) so for those on a budget we recommend checking out the Reactable iOS app which we covered last month.

Lastly, we are quite intriguied by the Z-DSP by Tiptop audio. They explain it as “open source digital sound processing and generating platform for your modular synthesizer.” Check out Richard Devine (who will be at WHAM BAM with us on Friday) using the Z-DSP in the video above.

Michael Walsh is an audio/visual artist and journalist living in Los Angeles. Read more of his work at

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