Monday, March 28, 2011

Rising Tide

Digital painting by Mitchell Mohrhauser, USA. Software: Photoshop.

Recently, Apple released the iPad 2 to much acclaim and hoopla, and they will no doubt sell a gazillion of them. I have been enjoying my iPad since July of last year when my wife sprung it on me for father's day. I use it mostly for reading books and blogs, surfing, facebooking and email.

Part of Apple's recent announcement included the release of GarageBand for iPad . Personally, I believe this achievement in software development is a much bigger game-changer than the iPad 2. The day it was released, I scarfed up my copy (for a whopping $4.99) from the App Store and started playing around. Though this is very much a "1.0 release" product, I expect Apple will probably build on this platform and use it to sell all manner of add-ons in the form of "in-app purchases" in much the same way as they sold all those "Jam Packs" to go along with original GarageBand (for Mac).

The second day I had the program, I spent about an hour putting this track together. I was sitting in the TV room with my wife and we were jumping from channel to channel soaking up news of the recent catastrophic events in Japan, and looking at videos on the internet as well.  Disturbing and surreal.  Shocking and startling.  So much many people affected...words just don't do it justice. So if this track, which I call "Rising Tide", sounds a bit dark and foreboding, well now you know why.

It wasn't until days later that I realized how much this track sounds like the intro to the Genesis song "Mama".  Completely unintentional!

Apple promises a future update to GarageBand for Mac that will allow you to start a track on the iPad and resume working on it on the Mac, in GarageBand OR in Logic Studio, my confirmed DAW of choice. While this feature isn't there yet, when it does come I suspect that the iPad will finally find a place in the heart of many a "scratch pad" tool that can be used anytime, anywhere an idea strikes. Very compelling.

So, here is my first track composed and recorded completely on the iPad. "Rising Tide". Enjoy!

March 31, 2001 update!

An update to GarageBand (for Mac) has been released, as promised!

Yep, all I had to do was apply this update, then when I launched GB to open the "Rising" file I transferred from my iPad via iTunes, I got this message:

And sure enough, after 10 minutes or so, the project opened.  And it played FLAWLESSLY.  It sounded EXACTLY like on the iPad (well, better I suppose since the Audio on this iMac is high-end) and it allowed me to do all the wonderful edits GB provides:

Pretty bloody amazing, actually.  Now you really CAN use GB for iPad as a mobile musical sketch-pad, and then continue building on your idea with all of the instruments and editing features offered by GB on the Mac, which is an awful lot.

Although GB projects on the Mac can normally be freely opened in Logic, sadly this is not yet the case for these GB for iPad projects.  When I tried to open the saved GB file in Logic, it said the "GB Synth" instrument was not found, and that this project had been created with a "new version of Logic".  So, I guess there is a Logic update coming down the pike soon that will bring all of this together.  Can't wait!

Actually, I could continue to edit the project in Logic and save it there, I would just have to pick a different Logic instrument (or AU plugin) to replace the missing "GB Synth".  Not a big deal if I really wanted to continue working on this track.  But, for now, I think I will let the iPad version stand on it's own two feet for the sake of this blog post.

Last year, I took a Laptop, small keyboard, audio interface, headphones and USB hub with iLok and e-Licenser dongles on vacation with us, just in case inspiration struck!  This year, I will be able to travel a bit lighter and just take the iPad and some earbuds.  Nice.

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