Mobile music creation on Apple's iOS devices

iOS Music at SXSW 

Busy Times

SXSW Music.  March 16-21, 2015 — Austin, Texas.  

I had a very interesting week immersed in the SXSW Music conference.  I met many great people, heard some really good music, and learned quite a bit at various panels.   The highlight of the week occurred on Friday (March 20), at the Music Gear Expo where there was a decent sized iOS Music presence.  

For iOS compatible hardware there wasn’t much beyond a couple of class compliant audio interfaces (Yamaha has a couple of new ones that look good), except for Jamstik the guitar/MIDI controller.  The guys from Jamstik did a fun demo of their very interesting controller using iPad with GarageBand and BeatHawk; this was at fairly high volume over a good PA system and it was great to hear those apps in that context.  Both GB and BH sounded very good!  

The guys from Jamstik were really great to talk with and are enthusiastic about their product and iOS music making in general.  They have a new Kickstarter campaign for the next version (Bluetooth LE) starting on March 25…check it out:


The Highlight Moment: 

Interfacing with iOS developers and music peeps in geneal was fantastic, but the highlight of the whole week was a really nice chat that I had with the fabulous musician Mr. Adrian Belew.  He is a super great guy; smart, friendly and genuine.  He was at SXSW representing his two iOS apps: Flux by Belew, and Flux: FX.  Both of these app are amazing and unique.  (I must admit that I don’t have the Flux by Belew app….yet.  But Flux:FX is amazing indeed!) 

When Mr. Belew handed me a custom (Flux) iPad cover along with his autograph (in above picture)  I was quite delighted.  I asked if he’s used Flux:FX in his own music production and he said that he’s recently been recording his vocals through it, and that some of the sounds are really amazing.  I am truly inspired and plan on experimenting with running my voice through Flux:FX just to see what can happen.  (I just hope that I don’t blow my flux capacitor in the process).  

Nearby the Flux setup were reps from the iOS app, NoteTracks, to whom I proudly showed their app was already on my iPhone.   Also near was one of only three US employees of PropellerHead,  who was also a super nice fellow.  He mentioned that a new Propellerhead iOS app is in the works, but he couldn’t provide any details other than that it would, of course, work with Figure and Take.  While I had his ear I lobbied to get more more jazzy or Chill type sounds into Figure; he agreed with the idea but said its not easy to influence what sounds they put into an app.  

We talked about various music apps and then I wondered what I could do with Figure’s output run through Flux:FX.  So following that, I made a goal to create something interesting with this app combo.  So far, I have some very interesting results but not much that is musical.  I’ll keep at it…Flux:FX can be rather deep as there a lot of options including a sequencer (yes an effects app with a built in sequencer…very cool).  

Mostly NASA Swag from SXSW Interactive

I went to a music conference and all I got was NASA stuff?

NASA had a booth (it was a large area, not sure what you call it…), for SXSW Interactive, and Tuesday was Convergence day where Film, Interactive, and Music share in panels and various activities.  I attended a presentation on Astrophysics and Hollywood showing how films such as Hubble 3D and others are created not just from images but along with various bits of raw data derived from sources other than visible light (x-Rays, microwaves, etc).  It was a fascinating discussion and I was especially interested since NASA and filmmaking are two of my most favorite subjects following music.

The key idea that sparked me to attend SXSW this year was a post last year at asking folks to vote for a panel to be included in SXSW.  Mobile Music Geekout – Marketing, Content & Hot Tech was the title and those are subjects of great interest to many iOS musicians.  It turned out to be a very informative panel by very intelligent and sharp-witted presenters.  And I must thank Olsin from the panel for being such a nice guy; now if I can just find where you posted that picture of us that was taken in the Irish pub, that would be great!  LOL. 

I was hoping to put the previously mentioned song “Figure In Flux” (I just now gave it that title), here for streaming but since the song does not yet exist in a useable form I was going to offer another one instead.  However, Now I see how the recent WordPress enhancement that makes creating a blog entry a lot easier also seems to have removed my ability to add a song file/audio player to my post.   If I have to figure out the HTML code to get that working…well…it probably won’t happen.

New Album

My new album, Caravan, will be available soon at Bandcamp.  I just have some finishing touches for documentation and album/song artwork and then the act of uploading the song files…which has to be done from a PC not my iPad where the songs reside.  Arrrrr!   Oh the hassles we deal with sometimes! 

I will post the release announcement in forums and emails as soon as I have it all uploaded and ready to go.  

Be seeing you,

— Bourne 


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