Ninja Tune releases Ninja Jamm mixing & jamming app for iOS

Ninja tune has launched Ninja Jamm, a free mixing and jamming app for iOS that lets anyone instantly remix music from the Ninja Tune label using touch control, state of the art effects and killer music from Ninja artists.

Ninja Jamm

The app is a revolutionary fusion of music and software for the iPhone brought to you by the musical innovators at Ninja Tune and the design wizards at seeper.

Combining aspects of DJing, remixing and producing, the app lets anyone experience the excitement of playing with electronic music. Ninja artists such as Bonobo, Amon Tobin, Mr Scruff and Coldcut, provide the tunes for you to jamm with.

As each tune plays, you can switch seamlessly between the original licks and bonus clips, created by highly trained remix Ninjas, whilst glitching and effecting each channel and firing oneshot samples over the top.

Unlike many other music apps, the Jamm experience is very hands-on and immediate- your human feel is their key to enjoying freestyle mix possibilities. You can touch, tilt, shake and use multiple fingers and thumbs to Jamm and record, create a killer version of a favourite Ninja Tune and instantly share it with the world through Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

The Ninja Jamm app comes bundled with a free Tunepack, Beats and Pieces3 from Coldcut, the cut’n’paste classic from the DJ duo who helped define both the modern remix with Paid in Full and mashup with Journeys By DJ. More Tunepacks from Ninja artists are available for in-app purchase.

More information: Ninja Jamm

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Short links for June 17th, 2011

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Muze by Joshua Maruska and Adam Kumpf

Muze is an Arduino instrumentalist who creates melodies that evolve over time.

Muze has a palette of notes that it can in-turn interpret and compose into various rhythms and phrases that are strung together to form something musical. The user can then influence these strings of notes and rhythms to create entirely new compositions. Much like you would a tune a radio to get a new song, Muze can be tuned to provide new and different melodies.

In the interest of keeping Muze from becoming another knob laden techno-fest of an instrument, interaction has been limited to just one input.

# The Stretta Procedure: vcvi maxforlive

Matthew Davidson’s vcvi is a suite of maxforlive devices to control your modular synth with a dc coupled audio interface.

# Rainlith 2 – Kinectic sound art piece via CDM

On Rainlith, the primitive naturally granular sound of a big rainstick gets explored in real-time by cyber-age sound manipulation tools.

It's an interactive piece in witch the movement of the audience's body activates an electric motor, making a reflex movement on the structure that embraces the instrument.
The sound of the rainstick is captured and processed in realtime, and sent 24 meters above, filling the empty space of a old industrial cereal container. The reverberated acoustic mix is then received back by the audience in the spot right below the opening of the container.

Poul Vestergaard Neuron

# NeuronDrum for Reaktor

NeuronDrum is a sample based rhythm composer by Poul Vestergaard.

It has 512 audio samples 32MB. Most of the sounds are made for electronica music. All rhythms is made of a neuron based approach with 8 neurons.

The first neuron works as a kind off metronome. All neuron can send impulses to each other. Every neuron has a threshold value. If the threshold is 3 then it will need 4 impuses to fire the sample, and send impulses to other neurons.

# Les Paul Google Doodle Gives Us… Google Homepage, The Song, by Tim Exile

Peter Kirn writes:

Electronic musician, vocalist, and inventor Tim Exile is back; while the Google Doodle today of an interactive Les Paul inspired lots of people to invest some time fiddling and hacking, in Tim’s case, it inspired a whole song. And, to my knowledge, it’s the first time the homepage of Google got its own ode.

# [namethemachine]_Kinect_2011,05,24

Matt Davis hacks a Kinect using OpenNI & Max/MSP. With it mapped to Ableton live and Henry Strange's MIDI to DMX Laser Control System, Matt demonstrates this fun a/v control system.

# Amon Tobin : ISAM Live : Mutek Premiere (Official)

A quick wrap up of the debut of Amon Tobin's ambitious 'ISAM' Live show which launched itself to the public on June 1st as part of Montreal's Mutek Festival.

Bluebrain The National Mall

# bluebrain | THE NATIONAL MALL

Bluebrain's The National Mall will only work within the physical boundaries of the National Mall park in Washington DC. It is a location-specific album and is not intended for use outside of the designated area. Please follow us on Twitter (@bluebrainmusic) to learn more about when a location-aware album might be coming to a location closer to you. While on the Mall, we recommend you quit other applications from the multi-tasking bar on your phone for best performance. If you are having difficulties, force quit or restart your phone. Make sure to quit the app fully once you leave the area to avoid it draining your battery when it isn't being used.

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Short links for April 9th, 2010

Eskamon - Fine Objects

Some interesting things I found recently:

# ESKAMON "Fine Objects"

ESKAMON is the new colaboration project between Amon Tobin (Ninja Tune) & Eskmo (Warp, Planet Mu, Ancestor). “Fine Objects” is the first single by the duo that’s set for release on Eskmo’s own imprint “Ancestor.”

“Fine Objects” is the result of the pair’s unique take on sonic exploration and the manipulation of field recordings. From the onset, the two went out with a recorder, gathering sounds from around the house, yard and studio. Material recorded out of the studio included sounds from a parking garage elevator, a broken harp and the droning tones from a discarded piano. These were combined with more home-centric sounds to form the central theme to the song. With lumbering alien bass and intentionally dry, off-kilter percussion, “Objects” quickly grew into it’s own symbolic representation of taking “odd pieces” and allowing them to grow into something a bit more “refined and ablaze.”

Fine Objects is out now, just $1 USD for the mp3, $2 USD for a wav copy.

A wav sample pack of the sounds created for the song + an Ableton pack and 10 minute tutorial video by ill. Gates utilizing the material from the original pack are available to download at no cost (in exchange for your email address). A remix competition is apparently in the works as well.

# Should rekkerd.org have a general (email) newsletter?

I thought it would be interesting to see if you think a general rekkerd.org newsletter would be a good idea. After a few days of having the poll up it seems there isn't much interest at all (judging by the low response rate) but I have decided to set up this newsletter anyway. It will occasionally go out with info on contests, new sample packs, promotions and more.

Visit rekkerd.org/newsletter to subscribe.

Note: since there were already separate announcement lists for contests/giveaways and sample packs I have merged these with the general newsletter. There is now only one announcement/newsletter list.

Knowledge Sabre Remix Competition

# Knowledge Sabre Remix Competition

Kmag, Sabre and Critical Music are running a competition for producers to remix Sabre's One Hundred Teeth. Not only do you get to download the original tune for free but also all the stems needed for remixing.

The winning remix will receive £1000 of Addict clothing and a SoundCloud Pro Plus and three runners up will get SoundCloud Lite accounts. Deadline for entries is Sunday May 2nd 2010 and the winner will be announced by May 12th.

Sabre recently spoke about the track he made for the competition and his new album. He also gives a brief to point producers in the right direction for the competition and talks about how he approaches remixes himself.

# Free Loops.us – 500 (royalty) free drum, bass, synth and other loops, in wav 16-bit 44.1 khz format.

Little-Scale Periodic Waveform Editor for iPhone via TouchOSC

# Periodic Waveform Editor for iPhone via TouchOSC

Sebastian @ little-scale writes:

This is a simple periodic waveform editor for the iPhone / iPod Touch made using TouchOSC. The waveform has sixteen steps. There is also a slider that controls the frequency of the waveform. This is not supposed to be something useful; rather, it further explores the idea of touching sound, something that I have been fascinated with. If someone wants the Max/MSP patch or the TouchOSC template, please let me know.

# PaulStretch — New Build For the New Decade…

Kent Williams has released an updated version of PaulStretch for Mac:

Judging from the WP Stats, my posts about the PaulStretch extreme audio timestretching application are by far the most popular blog posts I’ve ever made, indeed I think people will be downloading it after I’m dead if this domain outlives me. Well, today I took the time to ‘refresh’ the PaulStretch stuff. This means I updated all the libraries it depends on to current versions and rebuilt the program. I don’t mess with the program source code itself — nothing has changed in appearance or tools. The one thing that has changed — and it’s a biggie! — is that it now can load MP3 files for processing without crashing. Huzzah!

Note that this one is Intel-only, a PPC version is now available here.

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Review: Loopmasters Coldcut Sound Science

I got hooked on music from the Ninja Tune record label back in the mid nineties. DJ Food, Funki Porcini, Amon Tobin, Vadim… Just a few of the artists that got me excited about music in ways I hadn’t experienced before.

Ninja Tune was founded by Jonathan More and Matt Black, the guys behind the most excellent Solid Steel radio show. As electronic music duo Coldcut they have hundreds of releases and remixes on their name.

If you’ve never heard of Coldcut you can read up on Jon and Matt on their wiki page.

Loopmasters Coldcut Sound Science

With Sound Science, Coldcut offers a collection of quality sounds similar to the ones found in their own recordings.

This exclusive sample pack produced for Loopmasters by Matt and Jon themselves features a huge collection of previously unheard and unreleased material which is sure to grace many future hit records through genres such as Hip Hop, Breaks, House and Drum and Bass. A true skeleton key of sound, the loops and samples are a must for every serious music producers collection.

I’m not sure how to best describe the Coldcut sound, but I know it has to do with head bobbing. Funky breakbeats, jazzy bass, high energy synth stabs, groovy melodic samples… mix it all up in a blender and you know it will sound delicious.

What do you get?

Sound Science includes over 350 loops in both Wav and Rex formats, almost 300 single shot sounds, and 45 patches in various popular sampler formats.

The loops are categorized in the following folders, with 4 tempo subfolders each (70, 88, 100, and 133 bpm):

  • Bass (37), includes nasty synth basslines, regular bass guitar, some lovely double bass grooves and even the odd clarinet loop.
  • Drums (166), from jazzy acoustic drum kits to glitchy electronic drums. There are some real gems here, so authentic and funky. Get your chopping tools ready, you’re going to want to cut these up!
  • Musical loops (111), including complete musical themes, simple synth melodies, super sweet chords, funky orchestral stabs, electric, acoustic & nylon guitars (love the foot tapping in the background), various pads, Moog sounds, Theremin… I could go on for a while but I think you get the idea; this stuff is diverse!
  • The last loops folder features a bunch of vocals and sound effects (41). These include blips & bleeps, wobbles, jazzy vox, dubby delay sounds, scratches, and more. Quite some unique and useful sounds.

The larger part of the single shots comprises of drum sounds, also conveniently divided in subfolders for kick, snare, toms, etc. With just 8 bass samples and 11 instrument samples the bass and instrument folders look a little bare. Where applicable the sounds (and loops) have the root key included in the file names.

With the exception of the drum kits and hits the included sampler patches are basically single shot sounds mapped across a few octaves. Nothing to get too excited about.

The variety of sounds in this library is just what you would expect from Coldcut; a mix of real instruments and synths, acoustic drum loops and electronic breakbeats, sugar sweet melodies and noisy sound fx, and lots in between.

Check the audio demo from Loopmasters for an idea of what Sound Science has to offer.

So what do I think?

Product: Coldcut Sound Science by Loopmasters
Format: WAV/REX Loops & Sounds + Sampler patches
Price: £29.95 (download) – £39.95 GBP (DVD)

One of Sound Science’s samples says “let’s just use a sample”, and that is exactly what this sample library is all about. It has that old school sampling vibe, authentic yet fresh.

Due to the wide variety of sounds and styles Sound Science might appear to be a bunch of random samples. However, once you start tossing them together you will find that many actually work together very well.

I only wish they would have put a larger amount of samples in the collection. 350 loops may seem like a lot but many of them are variations on the same beat/melody.

Still, Sound Science is a great sample library delivering the Coldcut vibe I was hoping for; you’ll be bobbing your head in no time!
Now let’s just hope there will be a Sound Science 2.

More information: Loopmasters / Coldcut Sound Science

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Review: Native Instruments Maschine

Audio production software has come a long way. Where as in the past one would typically use a number of traditional instruments, synthesizers, drum machines, mixing panels, etc., software has opened the door for many home studio musicians to produce music on a budget.

Although you could easily get along using software exclusively, you may still want to use a controller when recording music, so you can actually “play it” instead of programming everything.

Native Instruments Maschine

Native Instruments has recently introduced Maschine, a powerful combination of software and hardware, or as they put it, a complete Groove Production Studio.

MASCHINE combines the flexibility of computer-based music production with the ease of a groove box into one powerful creative tool. Utilizing onboard samples or your own audio files, MASCHINE’s symbiosis of hardware and software not only ensures a fast and fun workflow, but lets you easily turn your ideas into professional productions.

So let’s take a looks at what this Maschine is all about!

Where’s the installation disk?

I generally don’t read manuals anyway, but Native Instruments doesn’t encourage me much either. I open the box and the first thing I see is this lovely control surface. All I can think is “hook it up man, let’s get going!”

I am a long time Windows user though, so I know better than to just hook up anything USB without checking for drivers first. The installation disc was all the way in the bottom of the box, so I almost missed it.

The installation of the drivers and Maschine software was a breeze; it just takes a while to copy all the content from the DVD. After authorizing Maschine in the Service Center, I figured it was a good idea to download the latest update as well. All set to go, let’s see what we have here!

The Hardware

16 pads, transport controls, LCD displays… The Maschine controller does a convincing MPC impersonation, doesn’t it?

Maschine Controller

The controller is quite compact and has a sturdy, high quality feel to it, even though it is only partly metal. Hooking it up to your computer with a USB cable, the Maschine controller powers up with its lovely backlit LEDs. Groovy! I know design is a matter of taste, but I feel NI did a smashing job with the looks of this thing.

The illuminated pads feel nice and responsive (velocity and aftertouch can be configured to your liking) and all of the 41 buttons are backlit. Great for working in a setup with little light, e.g. a live performance.

The controller features 11 endless rotary encoders, which have a smooth feel to them. The two LCD displays are clear and easy to read (as long as the angle is steep enough; the contrast can be adjusted) and have plenty of space to display the parameter pages.

Besides using the controller with the Maschine software, you can also control external MIDI hardware (via MIDI in/out on the back panel) and other software. The pads, knobs and buttons can all be customized with the included controller editor application.

The cool thing is that pretty much everything in Maschine can be done from this dedicated controller. You would almost forget that there is a piece of software doing all the actual work.

The Software

The Maschine software is basically an advanced pattern-based sequencer application which allows you to create patterns, group them, and arrange them in “scenes”. It can be used standalone or as a plug-in, so you can integrate it into your current setup.

Maschine software
Maschine software, a complete music production environment

Some key features of the Maschine software:

  • Browser – the browser provides an interface to all your projects, scenes, instruments, samples, effects, etc. Searching is easy with tag-based searches, key words, and attributes, quite much like KORE.
  • Sequencer & Arranger – the advanced sequencer, or pattern editor, features both step programming and real-time recording. 8 groups of 64 patterns each can be arranged in up to 64 scenes in the arranger section. The sequencer supports live automation for effects, sampler and mixer parameters.
  • Effects – there are 21 effects (or FX) which can be used as insert effects to each group, sound, or the master (in 2 FX slots). You can also create send effects and multi-effects, or route an effect to external gear.
  • Sampler (engine) – records both internal and external audio, audio editing & slicing, resampling, extensive playback features including various envelope and modulation options, and 8 individual stereo outputs (16 mono outs).

Maschine comes with a sound library featuring 5 GB content in 15,000 samples.
It includes 300 drum kits, 280 multi-sampled instruments, 400 sliced loops, 6,500 one shot samples, 100 FX presets and 55 FX chains. You’ll also get 50 projects which are a good way to explore what Maschine can do.

The included sounds were provided by numerous sound designers and artists, including Matthew Herbert, Montana B, Amon Tobin, Goldbaby, Denaun Porter, Sonic Specialists and many others.

The library features a good variety of sounds, mostly suitable for electronic music, i.e. urban, hip hop, R&B, techno, house, dubstep, etc.

Reader question: Torley wanted to know how much of the sample content is new material.

I asked Native Instruments and they told me that even though a few kits were taken from the Battery library, those were remastered through a special mastering setup of high-quality analog outboard gear. The vast majority of the library is brand spanking new material.

Besides using the sound library, you can also use your own samples in Maschine (currently only wav/aiff, but I think REX support will follow). In order to have them available for selection on the hardware controller you will need to import the samples into Maschine’s library (it will create a reference to the sample, not a local copy/move).

It is probably a good idea to tag your imported samples as well. It may take some time to do, but you will be able to find your samples much faster in future projects. If you are familiar with Kore, you will know the power of this type of browser system.

The Magic

However cool the controller might be, without the software you would only be able to use it as a regular MIDI controller. And although the sequencer works fine without the controller, it is when using the complete package that the magic happens.

Reader question: Benebomber wondered if working with Maschine is intuitive, more specifically when digging a bit deeper (e.g. recording your own samples or tweaking them).

I would definitely say it is. When I got the Maschine I opened the box, installed the software, hooked up the controller and a few minutes later I was creating beats. For more advanced things — like recording and editing your own samples — you might want to work on the screen, but you could also do it on the controller itself. Whatever fits your workflow best.
I personally prefer to use the menus on the controller and leave my computer keyboard and mouse alone as much as I can. Maschine is perfect for this.

Native Instruments has a number of excellent Maschine videos showcasing its features, including live recording, sampling, automation, and how to control Ableton Live. Here’s the Maschine introduction video.

An even better way to understand what Maschine is all about though is to actually get some hands-on experience with it. Maschine is just a lot more fun to work with than it is to write about it, so I would advise you to go check it out at your local music shop. You need to tap those pads, browse the sound library and play with some of the demo arrangements to see how you like it.

Maschine retails for an MSRP of $669 USD / 599 EUR, and is available from the NI Online Shop and dealers worldwide.

So what do I think?

From the moment I held it in my hands I loved Maschine’s control surface. I really like the black finish and backlit pads & buttons, and overall it feels like a quality piece of hardware. I’m a bit of a compulsive tapper — tapping beats on my desk all day long — so I am not surprised that I enjoy using these pads to record my beats a lot more than having to construct them with my computer mouse.

Working with the controller is a delight. Incidentally I would have to look something up, but most of the time I could find everything right away, which is telling of Maschine’s intuitiveness. I like the Maschine controller so much that I find myself using it in MIDI mode with other virtual instruments and effects as well.

Maschine’s software is deep, offering much more than the simple pattern-based sequencer it might appear to be. You have detailed control over your sequences, and a vast amount of quality effects and modulations are available, as well as a quality sound library and extensive editing features.

In standalone mode it basically provides you with all you need to create your music from scratch.

Of course, there is still room for improvement as well. I personally did not encounter any real problems, but it is good to know that Native Instruments is working on some important changes for the version 1.1 update, which should make a lot of people happy (e.g. MIDI in/out, REX support, better slicing options).

In short, Maschine is a powerful piece of software bundled with a superb controller. The two work together seamlessly and it truly feels like a proper instrument. Plus, it is tons of fun to work with!

Visit Native Instruments for more information.

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