The reason I am an Apple fanboy.

Apple Laptops

Last Friday morning at around 7:00AM before I left for work I was checking email on my Macbook Pro. I shut the lid but then realized I forgot to check the weather so I quickly lifted the screen open again. The screen didn’t come back on which does happen sometimes if you open and close the thing too quickly. This time however I realized how late it was getting so instead of closing the lid, waiting for the computer to properly go to sleep and open it again I just shut it again and ran out. About nine hours later I came home and opened the computer. The screen was still black and the computer was very hot. I held the power button down for a few seconds to force the machine off. I waited a bit and turned it back on. Unfortunately I couldn’t get it wake up. I tried a few different things as recommended at Apple.com/support but nothing worked. Since I own an iPhone I didn’t really freak out too much because I knew I could check email if I had to leave my computer for a few days for repair. I went to the local Apple store and met with someone at the Genius Bar. In fact, because this specific Apple store (Palisades, NY) was about to be renovated they would ship my computer to Apple and then have Apple ship it direct to me when it’s repaired. I have AppleCare so hey all in all not a big deal.

Well… Monday rolls around and I’m at work at my partner Charlie O’ Donnell asks me if I am still making music in my free time. I tell him of course and then something horrible dawned on me. I’m booked to playing two shows in Europe this coming weekend and I have no computer! I know Apple is pretty quick with repairs but I started to sweat. As soon as I got home I checked the online repair status and it didn’t even show up in their system. I called Apple and they told me they just received the computer and the system would update itself shortly.

Montagood Festival

I decided I needed a backup plan just in case my computer doesn’t arrive in time. Luckily I have a friend Leslie who doesn’t need her computer as much as a supergeek like yours truly. She lent me her white Macbook which has a Firewire port (phew!) ready for my M-Audio Firewire 410. I created a user account for myself and plugged in my Time Machine backup drive. I didn’t know what to expect because I never had to go to this drive before. I was very happily surprised to see that you can simply click and open folders on the drive just as if it were a clone of my machine. I grabbed my Ableton live show files (and videos), downloaded M-Audio drivers and Ableton Live 8. Everything loaded up without a glitch! Win one for Apple.

So without any disaster looming I decided to call Apple and just see if there was any chance my own computer would arrive on time. I didn’t have to wait at all when calling the support line and spoke to a very friendly employee. He told me the computer was still in the process of being repaired. I told him I had a flight to Europe and it would be great if I had my own computer with me. I blabbed a bit about how I’d be onstage in Amsterdam and Barcelona and I really didn’t want to scratch up Leslie’s nice new Macbook. He put me on hold for a minute and told me he expedited the process and asked me to look at the online repair status. To my happy shock it said the computer would arrive by FedEx before 10:30AM this morning. I know it would have been a better scenario if my computer didn’t break in the first place but Apple deserves a pat on the back for making it so easy to grab files from a Time Machine backup drive and for superb service.

Catch me live this weekend at Defqon 2009 in Amsterdam and the Montagood Festival, Spain.

photo credit: wZa HK

iLike lets you create your own artist iPhone App.

ilike_iphone-the_horrorist

I’ve been considering the ways to create an iPhone app for my own music as The Horrorist. iLike is has a limited time offer which will take all your content from your iLike artist page, turn it into an app and get it onto the iTunes app store. They charge a one time fee of $99 and after that they split the profits with you. The one time fee is a limited offer until next week. I can’t find anywhere what happens pricewise after that. “I like” the idea and may jump on it this weekend.

We just launched our turnkey service so you can create and distribute your own iPhone app. It’s simple to customize your app and program it with content using the iLike Artist Dashboard. Learn more by watching the video overview. Get started – customize and launch your app now. – iLike.com

What do you think? Is this a deal worth going for? Am I missing a better offer from a competitor? Is this an idea who’s time as past?

Related post: The Death Cab for Cutie iPhone application

ToneMatrix comes to the iPhone as SoundMatrix.

tonematrix

I love the Tenori-on. If it were a bit cheaper I would surely have bought one by now. I went to the official coming out party in Berlin and saw first hand how far creative artists can take the Lite-Bright impersonator. André Michelle is a wonderful software developer who has a website which is calls a Laboratory. On his page he has physics and music demos that run inside a browser. Some of his creations are impressive and touch on the future of software interfaces. One of his toys the ToneMatrix is a pseudo Tenori-on albeit a simple one. It doesn’t go deep as a real Tenori can but the basic grid pattern note fun part is there. You can find ToneMatrix on his Laboratory page and also as a tool inside HobNox’s awesome Audiotool website (browser based techno studio). Another place you can now find ToneMatrix is on an iPhone rebranded as SoundMatrix (iTunes link). It’s free so go make some zen bleeps.

Update: Twitter user @Candy Cane let me know there is another Tenori app for the iPhone called Melodica (iTunes link).

Related post: Thoughts and photos from the Tenori-on Berlin event.

Nice demo video of the iTM Pad from Torley.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to9U-UYuY0Q

If you have an iPhone and don’t already own iTM Pad this video will probably make you jump to the iTunes store to grab it. I wish I didn’t sweat so much on stage (see: here) otherwise I would be using this live.

“I was on the iTunes App Store looking at iTouchMidi Pad by Silicon Studios, and reading the few-but-strong reviews, I bought it. It was mere moments afterward that I was firing up drum loops in Ableton Live, having a lot of fun mapping iTM Pad to various settings and mangling sounds. The logical conclusion, since clear demos of things like this can be hard to come by, was to make a video review.” – Torley

Torley’s blog is filled with the kind of tech geek content I like (WordPress, social media, Ableton) so if that’s your thing check him out: torley.com

Apple Computer Midi Training from 1987


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBkcIjwg5tk

I just finished two weeks of training at my new job. I came across this video while reading my loved RSS feed from the super synth blog Matrixsynth. I can only imagine if this were my training video. At 4:17 you get a look at an early version of Motu’s Performer software. In 1987 I was seventeen years old and just starting out with an Atari 520ST and Dr. T’s KCS.

Anyone know how much this Mac set up cost back then?

Related post: Dr. T’s KCS Keyboard Controlled Sequencer

Virsyn enters the iPhone arena with iSyn.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HB-otngoro

Germany pro-audio software company Virsyn is known for such applications as Tera and Cantor. They have a new iPhone app on the way called iSyn. I like to see established players take on the iPhone. It’s a simple drum machine and note style sequencer with a few iPhonesque tricks. For example, tilting the iPhone give the drums random pitches and filter settings.

“A full-featured virtual music studio for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch with two synths and a drum machine from audioMIDI.com and Virsyn.” – audiomidicom

iSyn will be $4.99 For more info: www.virsyn.de

via Synthtopia

54 pain sounds for your iPhone.

pain

I know this is dumb but for some reason I felt like telling you about it. There is a new and completely strange iPhone app called Sounds of Pain. Here’s part of the the developer’s description: “Need to express a slight pain or minor displeasure? Tap one of the top three rows. In slightly more pain? Tap one of the middle three rows. Experiencing pain the likes of which you have never known before? Tap one of the bottom three rows.”. So you get 54 pain sounds of which you can tap to play a single sound or drag your finger to play multiple sounds. You can also shake the iPhone for a random sound.

sounds_of_pain

So what pains you in the studio? Headaches from reading tiny eq numbers in Pro-Tools? Back pain from sitting for 12 hours straight? Frustration pains from Cubase crashing? Ear pain from forgetting to disarm monitoring before turning your speakers back on? Girl friend pain for forgetting she’s more important than your Moog?

By the way, see the photo on top? The one with the guy and all those prescriptions. He actually takes all those pills! For the story: click here

photo credit: Chuckumentary

iTunes Pass serves Depeche Mode superfans first.

Depeche Mode - iTunes Pass

There’s a new feature in iTunes called “Pass” and it’s being launched with one of my favorite bands Depeche Mode. Basically, you pay some cash in advance and are delivered new songs, remixes and videos in run up to the new album release which at release time you get the album too. I have to be honest that if I saw this concept and I didn’t like the band I would have immediately thought it was a lame idea. However, because it’s Depeche Mode and their first single “Wrong” is great my finger is hovering over the Buy Pass button. It seems someone at iTunes knows what they are doing.

A funny side note to this story is the Engadget coverage of Pass (link). They don’t like Pass and the author Joseph L. Flatley certainly doesn’t like Depeche Mode:

“Of course, what we’d really like to see is this sort of a deal for a band that didn’t peak twenty years ago. In the meantime, we’ll be catching up with Depeche Mode the way nature intended — during the weekly spin of Personal Jesus at 80’s Night.” – Joseph L. Flatley, Engadget

I’m happy to report that in the post’s comments section DM fans tell Mr. Flatley that he’s clueless. I agree.

Depeche Mode, Sounds of the Universe: iTunes Pass

iPhone attack: TR-808, TB-303, Sampler, Synthesizer

Ableton Live and iPhone

I was having some music fun on my iPhone and I put together a quick Acid track. I recorded three apps into Ableton Live. There really is something to be said for bringing in audio from the outside world, even if it’s from another computer. I like the slight noise and live interaction the iPhone apps forced. The combined price of all the applications I used here was $11.97. Imagine what a Roland TB-303, Roland TR-808, Akai S950 and Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 would have cost you 15 years ago?

Take a listen:

That took about 15 minutes to put together and it was true fun. So what applications did I use to create this?

Audiorealism Technobox

Audiorealism technoBox

The Roland TR-808 and TB-303 appear in my tune courtesy of Audiorealism’s fantastic new iPhone app simply called technoBox. You could compare it to Propellerhead’s now long gone Re-Birth. Here’s a hint: when in TB-303 mode hit Shift-Gate for a random pattern!

Huff Software - Tapestri

My vocal stuttering away saying, “Yeah. Yeah. Make the music baby!” was recorded and played back by a super fun and simple application called Tapestri. You record some vocals and touch the waveform to play at whatever point.

Pure Profit - Android FX

The synth effects in my Acid track come from Pure Profit’s Andriod FX. They also make BtBx but I think they hit a more useful mark with this nice application. You drag on the screen to make pitch and noises. There is a full info screen where you can tweak this little synth’s sound until your pleased.

All three of these apps make me super happy. If your a electronic musician go grab them: Aciiiiid!

Do you need a General Midi plug-in for Mac?

Apple DLSMusicDevice

Last week I had to import some Midi files into my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). It was a commercial jingle I was to revamp and produce. To make it clear what instruments each part of the jingle were meant to be played with what instrument the writer (John) used General Midi. “GM” was created in 1991 and in short sets certain program numbers (sounds) to specific numbers. Doing this allows one to make a sound a flute and when the midi composition is played elsewhere using a GM module the embedded program change number will call up a flute sound.

I don’t often work with GM and when I received last week’s work John was adamant I listened to his fairly complex piece using a GM module at least once before I ripped it to pieces. It’s true that on a Mac one can just double-click any .midi file and it will open and play in Quicktime. However, I wanted to load the jingle into Ableton and view all the separate parts playing from a GM plug-in.

Native Instruments - Bandstand

My first instinct was to ask Google for GM plug-ins and Native Instruments Bandstand popped up. Bandstand certainly would have fit my needs. It can be used stand alone or in your DAW and has over 2GB of samples from Sonic Reality, Big Fish, Best Service and others. Bandstand was in my budget at $119 but there was one issue: no download option. I really wanted to get working at that exact moment and as far as I could tell on the NI site there was no demo or download version. I may still grab Bandstand later because it looks to be the best GM player out there. My search for instant gratification continued…

I decided to do a little forum searching and on the official Apple Discussions I found a thread with my final answer. It turns out I already had a complete GM player plug-in installed on my Macbook Pro. Every Mac has a bunch of AU plug-ins installed by Apple for use in Garage Band and iMovie. I’ve used a few of them before in a pinch but rarely look hard into that folder. The Apple GM plug-in is called “DLSMusicDevice”. Very pleased I got to work.

Do you ever have a need for GM modules?