All items tagged with "music"

Record multi-track songs with your friends no matter where they are

Make beautiful music with your buddies, even if they're not in the same room. Photo: Nick den Engelsman

Make beautiful music with your buddies, even if they’re not in the same room. Photo: Nick den Engelsman

Two years ago, Nick den Engelsman started a band with a couple of friends. As they worked on recording songs, life got in the way, what with getting jobs, getting married, having babies, and the like.

The group decided it would be really nice to have an app that let them record parts of their songs individually, and then combine all the tracks into one song. They couldn’t find one.

Most multi-track recording apps like GarageBand will let you share files across services like Dropbox, but a simple “record and share” app wasn’t available.

This is how Composr was born. Here’s how it works.

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Hard-rockin’ drum pedal lets you be the band

Fantastic sounding drums at your feet. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Fantastic sounding drums at your feet. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

There’s always that moment when your drummer can’t show up for rehearsal. She’s got some other commitment. He’s got another gig. Her boyfriend needs her to take him to the hospital.

It happens. When it does, you can do what I’ve always done – pound your foot against the floor and try to muddle on through – or you can use a drum machine. The problem with standard drum machines is that they’re made to be used by hands or, in some cases, drum sticks. I’m not a drummer (no sticks) and I need my hands to play my guitar. What I really need is a drum machine I can play from the floor, guitar-pedal style.

That’s what caught my eye about the BeatBuddy – this is a guitar-pedal-style device that lets you use your foot to play back drum beats in a variety of styles, fills and different parts included. This is my new best friend when the drummer can’t make it to practice, and it may become my new stage pal if I take my act solo.

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Amazing guitar and vocal effects boxes will have you sounding like a pro

Play Acoustic has all you need to sound like a pro. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

TC-Helicon’s Play series has all you need to sound like a pro. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

It’s hard enough to sing and play guitar at the same time, let alone manage a floor full of guitar effects pedals. Add to that trying to create vocal effects like most listeners expect and you’ve got a solo musician’s worst nightmare.

The folks at TC-Helicon have come up with a couple of pretty nifty floor-style pedal boxes that have you covered though: You can dial in a fantastic guitar sound for either acoustic or electric guitar, fill a room with amazing vocal effects and backing harmonies, and even loop musical phrases to create a song with multiple parts on the fly. Dubbed Play Acoustic and Play Electric, these simple stomp boxes contain some serious technology in an easy-to-use platform.

Here’s how it plays out.

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More music lovers are paying for their tunes with in-app purchases

August was a good month for streaming music services with in-app purchases.

August was a good month for streaming music services with in-app purchases. Photo: Pandora

New figures released by app analytics firm App Annie show that mobile users are more likely than ever to pay for music services by way of in-app purchases.

Looking at figures from August, streaming music offerings from Spotify, Pandora and Beats Music were among the top earning apps in terms of revenue.

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U2 hopes Apple’s new music format will reignite album sales

Screen grab from iTunes/Apple

Screen grab from iTunes/Apple

Following on from its recent Songs of Innocence album giveaway, U2 is apparently working with Apple on a secret new project, according to a TIME article.

While the story doesn’t give too many specifics, it does note that the project relates to “a new digital music format [the band hopes] will prove so irresistibly exciting to music fans that it will tempt them again into buying music –whole albums as well as individual tracks.”

Although this sounds the kind of counterintuitive move that utterly goes against Apple’s most recent promotional music stunt (where it paid U2 and its record label a reported $100 million to put out its album for free), U2 notes that it’s thinking about more than just itself:

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Relive the Apple Watch keynote as an hilarious musical

Relive the Apple Watch keynote as an hilarious musical

We’ve had a couple of days to let the massive announcements of Apple’s September 9 keynote sink in, but if you want to relive the event you might want to check out this new video from Jonathan Mann.

Who is Jonathan Mann, you may ask? The brilliant YouTube musician who created the celebrated Mario Opera close to a decade ago is the answer. An unabashed Apple fan, Mann was previously responsible for composing the iPhone Antenna song which Steve Jobs publicly danced to, and earlier this year composed a great WWDC ear worm which is still rattling around my brain months later.

Following Apple’s Tuesday keynote Mann is back in Apple territory with a new musical tour-de-force entitled “Apple Watch: The Musical,” which somehow manages to compress Apple’s entire Tuesday event into just 3 minutes and 13 seconds.

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App Watch: Plain old text and widgets (lots of widgets)

U2 plays it safe with solidly crafted Songs of Innocence

Screen grab from iTunes/Apple

Screen grab from iTunes/Apple

As Bono came in chanting and The Edge power-chorded his guitar for the radio-friendly chorus of “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” today, we hoped for a revitalized big-arena rock band performance from the biggest Irish rock band of all time.

What we got was the boys miming a well-rehearsed, highly-produced single that sounds like anything but The Ramones. Bono sings, “I was young/Not dumb/Just wishing to be blinded/By you/Brand new/We were pilgrims on our way” and, frankly, we wish they were young again. We wanted to be blinded by rockstars, but we really only got an ad for Apple.

At first listen, Songs of Innocence is a musically safe choice, a collection of songs that will sound just fine in the background as you wait in line for your first latte of the day at Starbucks. This isn’t the same band that had us thrilling to “In the Name of Love,” or “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” let alone snake-dancing to the mysterious syncopations of “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” or the gospel-tinged “One.”

The new album is being pitched by the band as intensely personal, but it comes off as more craftsmanship than artistry. It’s not all bad, and chances are U2 super-fans would have bought it even if it weren’t free, but the music lovers in us were a little disappointed.

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Radiohead’s trippy app delivers unexpected new tunes

Screen grab from iPhone: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Screen grab from iPhone: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

UK-based rock band Radiohead just updated their Polyfauna app, originally released at the end of this past January, with all new audio and visual content.

The What’s New section of the iTunes description says, simply, “Entirely new.”

If you’re a fan of the ambient tech-inspired music of Radiohead’s seminal Kid A album, you’re going to love these new tracks. Here’s a video (below) to whet your appetite.

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Sony’s new iOS app delivers discounted albums every day

Sony-Album-of-the-Day

Sony is hoping to boost digital record sales with a new iPhone app that offers a discounted album every 24 hours. Prices are slashed by as much as 70 percent in the Album of the Day app, and all purchases are made through iTunes.

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