Mobile music creation on Apple's iOS devices

Song contests


Two of my favorite iOS music app developers have song contests underway and I’ve entered both.  There are a number of firsts involved with both entries: I’ve never entered a song contest before. For KORG’s app Gadget, the song contest is to remix one of their in-app example songs.  From KV331Audio, we have the SynthMaster Player app and their contest is for an original song that features sounds from their brilliant app.

SynthMaster Player for iPad has become one of my favorite apps, and when the developers, KV331Audio,  announced a song contest, I was eager to jump right in.  This is first song contest that I have entered and at first I was a bit worried about what type (genre) of song to submit.  Since I work outside of genres (or maybe it’s that I cross genres),  I wasn’t sure what would impress the judges.  It didn’t take me long to discard those concerns and just go for it, which is whatnI did.









Sonic Bliss

The contest entry deadline has passed and KV331 Audio has posted all of the entries on soundcloud (the link below this section).  It took two listening sessions for me to go through all of the entries and as I did I wrote my thoughts…this is not a critique, I just jotted down my initial impression as I listened:

(Song Title–Artist)

Return to the ice planet — A multitude of one
Wow — it’s hot and humid here in Austin today, but listening to that provided a nice icy chill. A great track from a great music maker.

Win one for Larry — Mark Rufino
So many cool sounds; I like how the song changed up.

Momentation — Brad Dunbar
Jazzy, light, airy, floating, breezy, relaxed! Excellent use of SM sounds. I like this Very much!

Hope – Toz Bourne
I was working on a piece in Cubasis with iSymphonic Orchestra in mind.  Since I had midi tracks I changed the sounds around a bit, and ended up using five different SynthMaster sounds along with Drumjam.  The song is more a ballad than anything else I think.

The dregs of the storm — Stuart Noble
A seven plus minute epic space thing, pretty cool…it moved around sonically enough to keep my interest. Especially liked from 4:30 to the end.

Mood481 Keymaster — Mood481
Ow, yes! Funky beat throughout, cool weird sounds, but kept my toes tapping and head moving.

Between Dusk and Dawn — Maria Calfa-DePaul *
I’m in a dream inside of a movie. I see green grass, rolling hills, wide trees…and now horses in a huge field. All so beautiful. Thank you Maria for such an elegant piece.

The Deep blue of the north – Martin Neuhold
Martin takes me right from Maria’s fields to the shore…then I get in my hovercraft and speed across the sea. I find some aliens are camping out and playing music. Oh, I just noticed that it’s a 9.5 minute epic…but it’s changed to Predator rock and I’m flying around…is that Rick Wakeman buzzing me in a flying chariot? Tony Banks just replaced Rick…wait, Rick came back and then it was like a tangerine dream. What a fun musical journey.

Peaceful Chaos — Jason Anddroes
Great track title…
Where am I? Asia-pacific, I’m on a journey of discovery. It’s a foreign land but I feel at home; much intrigued I am.

2008 restart 2 — Paul Shimmons
Bam! Cops, secret agents, car chase…like a TV show theme, yet it is not over the top…I like it lots.

Be Silent — Koraklos
It’s the future and I’m in a jazzed out flying car, the landscape is rugged, and then gets kind of  metallic…but rusting…I see old, dying, machines…poor things.

Hope — Trueyorky
Brilliant song name IMHO. But really, a cool piece that contained a subtle but powerful force. Has great layered depth, kinda like Vangelis but very original.

Propulsion exponential – Stacypuckett
Catchy tune! Good beat with nice changes…good melody line and I really liked the bass.

One in one out — the ordinary pigs
(Excellent band name)
A trippy start, oh wow, vocals…that’s a first in the list…very cool and weird. Big vocal change caught me off guard in a good way. The big goofy parts are fun, seems like a different song until the vocal returns near the end.

The synning heart — Chris Catalano
Synthy train station – grabbing the express I am off on an adventure. Really fun driving beat with great melody line. Love the tubular bells.

1 preset in 1 take — Rustik
Strapped in and ready; we’re moving through a bioluminescent area and suddenly get attacked by crazy gas monsters. Lots of noise…
One preset…Amazing! A bit of insanity for sure.

SynthmasterSlayton — Mitch Slayton
It’s electro techno dance fun! Great use of a variety of sounds.

High in the sky — By Clelia Felix.
Mmmm, I’m chillin’ and grooving; great guitar like sounds with great backing. It evolves and moves around then comes back. A truly superb track.


Listen to the entries here:

SynthMaster Contest entries


* My fav: Between Dusk and Dawn — Maria Calfa-DePaul

Remixing other people’s work

For the KORG Gadget contest, I ventured into areas that I had not previously considered. The whole idea of remixing someone else’s track is a bit foreign to me. I know what it is but, had no knowledge of what all would be involved. Luckily, KORG Gadget is basically a MIDI environment and so changig anything and or everything can be easy to do. Easy physically, I mean, not necessarily easy musically.









I selected the Gadget World Tour track and gave it some detailed listening. The first thing I decided to do was change the beat, so I lowered the BMP (beats per minute) and set about changing various drum hits, with the four-on-the-floor kick being the first to go. With a slower beat I felt that it needed a complete overhaul of instrumentation, so I spent quite a bit of time exploring…quite a bit more time could have elapsed but I had to put a limit somewhere.

KORG Gadget contains many wonderful sounds, and also works with two of their other apps which I own: Module and iM1. All of these make for a virtual cornucopia of sounds. It is great to have choices, but hard to resist the temptation to noodle away the time in search of the perfect sound.

After playing around with various instrument sounds, I made my selections and the result was a track that has a bit of a reggae feel to it. Comparing the original and my remix, it is quite different and though I found this to be a very interesting and enjoyable exercise, remixing is not something that I plan on doing.

My KORG Gadget remix song:

I hope a lot of people can take the time and listen to some of these excellent entries.

In other news:  I’m working on a new Halloween song…and video…coming soon…

Be seeing you

— Bourne 12Sep15


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