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10 Weird iOS Audio Apps for Music Production

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Below are ten weird and wonderful iOS Audio apps (in no particular order) that are sure to inspire some experimentation.

1. Hexaglyphics

Hexaglyphics has no labels or indications of any kind on the interface. Like the name implies, the GUI looks like some sort of hieroglyphic computer-based gibberish that animates when touched. It invites experimentation and rewards the user with surprising bits of glitchy, noisey goodness. The downside is it appears to no longer be available on the App Store, at least temporarily. A little research yielded this FB post from Nicola Pisanti, the developer:

“Are you people able to get Hexaglyphics on the app store? My apple developer contract expired and it seems they are retiring my app until I pay them.”

Hexaglyphics website // Last Known Price: $1.99

2. Samplr

Samplr is well-known by any serious iOS music producer. It allows the user to create multiple looping regions on up to six sound files at once. It also includes some basic effects processing which, although limited to just five processes seem oddly sufficient for just about any situation. (Distortion, HP and LP filters, Amplitude Modulation, Feedback Delay and Reverb). Features eight play modes: Slicer, Looper, E-Bow, Tape, Scratch, Arpeggiator, Keyboard and Loop Player.

Hasn’t been updated since 2014, but still functions properly as far as I can tell.

Samplr on the App Store // Price: $9.99

3. AudioStretch

AudioStretch, as the name implies, allows you stretch and also freeze audio playback on a sound file. The interface is simple, yet intuitive and powerful. A great tool for manipulating a single audio file in terms of pitch and speed. Billed as a tool for transcription, this app clearly has, perhaps unintended, performance possibilities as well.

AudioStretch on the App Store // Price: $9.99

4. BitWiz Audio Synth

BitWiz Audio Synth translates C-like code expressions into 8-bit generative stereo audio in real time. A two finger swipe across the interface will generate random code which may or may not make sound. It has a built-in XY pad for additional control. Sounds are glitchy, angular and sometimes angry. You can save presets, type in your own code, or take your chances with a swipe. Great fun indeed.

BitWiz on the App Store // Price: $2.99

5. Borderlands

Borderlands made my list for granular-based apps and definitely deserves a mention here as well. Waveforms from loaded sounds files can be moved around freely in the interface. Double tapping magically creates a circular granular player that begins to extract grains from the waveform beneath it. Double tap on the player to expose controls like: # of voices, overlap, duration, volume, vibrato, pitch, XY for positioning of grain sampler nodes, and width. Multiple granular control players can be created and several sound files can be loaded at once (not sure of the limit). This thing is really astounding. Playing is believing.

Borderlands on the App Store // Price: $9.99

6. Bloom

Bloom by Brian Eno and Peter Chivers creates lovely droning soundscapes that are generative and responsive to multiple touch. The interface is extremely simple and self-explanatory. Although the palette is somewhat limited, the sounds are infectious.

Bloom on the App Store // Price: $3.99

7. Concentric

Concentric is an incredible multi-meter, poly-rhythmic event generator with a circular interface that blends a beautifully designed rhythmic visualization with responsive sonic control. While it has built-in sounds, I find it can be more useful as a MIDI event generator for triggering external sounds. I’ve had fruitful results driving my modular rig with note and velocity events generated by this app. The developer, Jeff Holtzkener, is extremely accessible and open to user suggestions and requests. Great app!

Concentric on the App Store //Price: $3.99

8. Moebius Lab

Moebius Lab by Amazing Noises (creators of many great apps and Max for Live Devices) — from the developer: “Moebius Lab is a multimorphic sound processor; it contains a synth, a varispeed stereo sample player, 9 time domain effects, 6 spectral effects, 7 slots for external audio application, and nearly 200 LFOs that can modulate each parameter…The two effect chains are connected in a sort of Moebius Ring: you can route the signal from the Time Domain Chain to the Spectral Chain and vice versa.”

The name and signal routing scheme is clearly a reference to the work of A. F. Möbius, German mathematician and astronomer.

Moebius Lab on the App Store // Price: $12.99

9. Vosis

Vosis is described by the developer, Ryan Michael McGee as the “Voice of Sisyphus Image Sonification.” It allows the user to sonify a loaded image or live camera input by simply tapping on the screen and dragging around to various locations. When combined with a live camera feed, the camera and touch controls can affect the sound simultaneously. Brilliant!

Vosis on the App Store // Price: Free!

10. Sequential

Sequential allows you to “Instantly reshape any loop beyond the imaginable. Create amazing breaks, fills and transitions. Turn even the simplest sounds into unique animated textures. Sequential is an extremely fun yet versatile app for animated effect processing.”

This highly useful sequencer, designed by Artemiy Pavlov, is easy to use and instantly gratifying. Load in any sound file and within seconds you can transform it step by step. It includes a randomizing button that accelerates the generation of fruitful results with a simple tap. This thing will surprise you.

Sequential on the App Store // Price: $4.99

If you bought all these apps as-is, it would only cost $61. That in itself is amazing!!

Next time, I’ll discuss effect processing apps and talk about Audiobus and InterApp Audio.

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Philip Mantione

Philip Mantione

Philip Mantione is a composer, synthesist, guitarist, educator and sound artist active in the LA experimental music scene. His music has been presented in festivals, museums and galleries worldwide. His current project is TriAngular Bent, an electroacoustic trio featuring Don Preston (founding member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention) and circuit bending virtuoso, Jeff Boynton. Details at philipmantione.com

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