This week we chill out with the retro-tastic Mellowsound synth, check out the essential new QWERTY keyboard support for GarageBand, explore a huge update to everyone’s favorite painting app, Procreate, and more.
This GarageBand for iPad update adds three new drummers, some gimmicky face-controlled audio effects, and keyboard shortcuts.
The shortcuts let you navigate the entire main screen, switching between tracks, skipping to sections of tracks, and selecting any number of them. You can play, record, undo and redo, toggle the metronome and the count-in, mute of solo a track, split and join sections, and a whole lot more.
The whole update is solid, but the keyboards shortcuts really make it special.
Download: GarageBand from the App Store (iOS)
Procreate continually exploits new iOS technologies, so it’s no surprise to find this new update ready for the launch of the 2018 iPad Pro. The list of new features is long, but the highlights are a new ink engine, which is great for the Apple Pencil, with custom pressure curves; clipping masks, which are either super-powerful or bewildering, depending on how you roll; crop and resize; plus new additions to the liquify tool.
If you draw or paint on the iPad, you should have this app.
Download: Procreate from the App Store (iOS)
HotSawz isn’t an app. It’s a new algorithm for the Eventide H9 guitar effects unit. But because you control the H9 via Bluetooth with an iOS or Mac app, I’m shoehorning it in here. Oh, and HotSawz is awesome, so there’s that.
Are you familiar with Moog synthesizers? Those fat, warm, badass synths used on everything, from 90s hip hop to sci-fi soundtracks to all your favorite Prodigy songs? Well, load the HotSawz algorithm into your H9 and your guitar will be turned into a Moog-style monophonic synth. Any note you play will be tracked and turned onto a “pulsing panorama of bouncing blips.” If you own an H9 Max, the new algorithm is free. Otherwise it’ll cost you around $20, depending on where in the world you are.
Download: H9 Control from the App Store (iOS)
Speaking of music app, Mellowsound is a virtual Mellotron. And the Mellotron is a 1960s era musical instruments that that you will know instantly by its sound — used by the Beatles, and countless creepy 1970s British kids TV shows.
The app is awesome, and free to download with more sounds available as a one-off in-app purchase. It really gives a lovely warm, organic sound.
But way more interesting is the original Mellotron, an analog keyboard from England. When the user plays a key on the Mellotron keyboard, it actually pressed a loop of tape onto a play head. That’s right — an individual loop of tape for each key. It’s pretty wild, a very early form of sampling. And now you can have it in your iPad. For free.
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Download: Mellowsound from the App Store (iOS)