Mobile music creation on Apple's iOS devices

Archive for January, 2015

Alchemy Mobile – R.I.P.

I’ve been away from the iOS music making scene for a few weeks and upon my return I was treated with the sad and quite shocking news that Camel Audio Limited had closed its business. Huh? Yep, they are closed. The Alchemy Mobile app is no longer available at the App Store, nor can one download any IAP’s for the sound packs, etc.

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Today, I have used some PC utilities to backup the Alchemy app and the data from one of my iOS devices. The standard utility, iFunbox, did not work for the IPA package creation, so I used iMazing. I hope it works and that I can fully restore the app if (when) needed. But I don’t know and I don’t want to find out the hard way just yet.

Alchemy was and still is my all-time favorite iOS music making app. So this news hits me very hard, as it has with many other folks. Alchemy often helps spark ideas when I’m stuck, or simply helps me to start a new composition as I get inspired by one of its many brilliant sounds. And I suspect the app will remain as my top go-to music app, at least for a while.

The real problem lies in the future. We’ve seen iOS updates hurt, or kill apps before so it seems like it will happen to Alchemy at some point if it doesn’t get updated (perhaps the software will be transferred to new owners and there will still be a future, but that’s just wishful thinking based on nothing but my own wishful thinking).

More apps!

On a brighter note (pun intended), though I have been away from the online iOS music scene for a bit, I have remained active in making new music and acquiring new apps. Thanks to discounted iTunes gift cards that I acquired, and then gift cards that I received as Xmas gifts, I was able to take advantage of many holiday app sales. Here’s a list of apps new to my collection, many of which I’ve not played with much.

Oriental Strings from Crudebyte (got it recently at 80% off the list price).

Sopranotron from Omenie Limited. The only recent app that I bought not on-sale, but certainly worth it…beautiful soprano sounds in the Mellotron app format.

Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure from SuperChop Games (in Austin, TX). This is not a music making app but a musical game of sorts, and quite wonderful. Highly recommended for anyone with an iPad. I even gifted it to my girlfriend.

MiMix – Mixer for Audiobus from TTr Games. I have not incorporated this yet into a workflow yet, but I already have plans for making good use of it.

Bismark bs-16i from Shun Murabayashi. This is a Soundfont file player for iOS. Somewhere on my PC are some gigabytes of soundfonts, or there were; but easy enough to go search the interwebs for free soundfonts as needed. Note that the app comes with some pretty decent soundfonts built in.

Combo Organ Model V from Insideout ltd. It’s okay, not quite as expressive as I would hope but it has some good Combo organ sounds.

GuitarCapo+ from TonApp AS. I am not a guitar player but the app was way too cheap to ignore, plus it has some nice guitar sounds that I can utilize.

FM4 from Primal Audio. At the 99 cents intro price it was a steal at the App Store, and a no brainier to buy. It’s a really good FM synth too.

Sector from Kymatica (one of the best ever developers, Jonatan Liljedahl). This is a very different sound EFX processor app and it’s great. There is much to learn with this, not so much how it operates necessarily but rather how to use the output of what it can create.

Pro MIDI — a midi editor and sequencer which I haven’t used much, yet. So far it looks pretty good.

Korg Gadget from Korg. This app made a huge splash upon its initial release in 2014, but since it is primarily for creating electronic music and has a fairly hefty price tag (normal $39.99), I initially skipped this. For the holidays it was on-sale and with an iTunes gift card from my niece (thanks again Mic, very much) that covered the cost, I didn’t hesitate to scoop it up. I am very glad that I did. The Korg Module app, which I had already obtained, works within Gadget and adds its high quality piano, organ and synth sounds to an already impressive sound selection within Gadget.

Laplace Resonator Synth from iceWorks — a very robust synth that produces unique sounds…quite lovely.

Historic Harpsichords – Ruckers 1628 from tempo rubato (makers of NLog synth). This one wowed me. I have always loved the harpsichord and this app has rich sounds and as authentic as I can tell; they actually sampled the Ruckers 1628 instrument, which is one of the most gorgeous looking musical instruments ever built my humans.

Final Touch from Positive Grid Inc. A mastering app, my 2nd one but the price was too low to ignore. I haven’t mastered any tunes yet with this app since I still use Mastering from iMusicAlbum, and this new one seems to have a bit of a learning curve.

Korg Module from Korg. Mentioned above with Korg Gadget, this app produces high quality piano, organ, electronic piano, and some synth pad type sounds. Gorgeous sounds, I really like this one — a lot!

New Music

Okay sure — app buying is a disease or addiction for some of us, but still it is not difficult to justify many of these purchases. Especially true since I had some free money with which to purchase! And, so far, I am happy with these buying decisions, and in some cases way more than just happy! I have proof too: several new songs made with some new apps as follows (on Soundcloud)

This song, The Palace, is dedicated to the IOSmusicandyou.com website and podcast. It was created with IOS apps: Ruckers 1628, Laplace Synth, Auxy: Beat Studio, and Cubasis

The next one is a Piano Ballad that features the apps: Korg Module, Alchemy, and Cubasis.

I have another YouTube music video currently in production along with a few more tunes to debut soon. Also hoping to complete my Caravan album within the next month. Busy times ahead and I hope to post again real soon.

Be seeing you…
– Bourne 17Jan15