If you’ve never experienced the joy that comes from spending a few hours in “the lab” pressing pads on an MPC then you are in good company with the majority of the population. Expensive and with a steep learning curve, beat making the old fashioned way is a hard art to dip your toe into.
Univers Sons / UVI touch, a French company specializing in the design of virtual instruments, has teamed up with French DJ David Guetta to hit the market with Electrobeats by David Guetta. David Guetta, current king DJ – a mantle passed down throughout the ages from Jive bunny, via Fatboy Slim to Tito Maas, has helped produce a music app for the iPad that brings Beat making for the masses.
We thought we’d take it for a spin and see if we could create a smash dance hit, go straight to number one and retire as millionaires (spoiler alert we didn’t. Also Bruce Willis is a ghost … in all his films).
The app opens to the beats of Rihanna’s Who’s That Chick, produced by David Guetta. A sound from the very song has been assigned to each of the interface’s 16 pads. Not a big Rhianna fan? The application provides a choice of more than 1000 sounds: samples and other synthesizer sounds, along with drum kits (create your own or use factory presets). It also enables the user to browse pre-recorded patterns in a variety of electronic music style: Ambient, Dance Hall, Trance, Electrohouse, Drum’n Bass, etc.
Each separate sound can be activated/deactivated/played solo while performing (using the Mute/Solo mode), as the song proceeds. Simply slide your finger on the screen to modulate any given sound, change the current note or chord (Pitch mode) or still, modify the volume (Velocity mode).
There is a little bit of a learning curve – you can’t simply pick up the app and thrash out a hit, but that’s a ludicrous expectation anyway. Quantise is on hand to fix your sloppier mistakes. The integrated Oscillator enables you to modify the four sound parameters namely: attack, decay, sustain, release (ADSR). The repeat function is also pretty cool for programming fills and just when jamming live with the app. Step sequencing would be a nice addition – but that’s probably a longing from someone overly comfortable with playing with Cubase and MPCs over the years. Once you are done, save all your club-bangers and export them via iTunes, whether as separate multitrack audio files, Wav files or 16 tracks. You can even export them to grown up audio packages like Logic, Ableton Live or Pro Tools.
Is fast, fun and simple to play with. Nuance is hard … But it’s dance music so it’s probably for the best. Have a play.
£5.99 from an app store near you.