A while back, we all heard that animated supergroup Gorillaz (or their real-life counterparts) were working on a new album. Interestingly, the album was being created almost entirely on an iPad while the band was on tour. Well, that album is now available for listening at the band’s official website. While creating music on an iPad is nothing entirely new (as shown by these fine musicians) the fact that such a high-profile band chose to go that route is pretty cool.
Over a period of 32 days on the road, the band was able to write and record an album entirely on the iPad. They used a few extra instruments, of course, but for the most part, this 15-track album was made on Apple’s tablet computer with a handful of applications from the App Store.
Let’s take a look at what applications the band used for the album and figure out their “App Budget,” if you will.
Hit the jump to read up on what they used to create The Fall:
1) AmpliTube – $19.99
This App turns your iPad into a guitar or bass effects processor. Add popular effects distortion, phase, chorus and envelope filters to give life to your standard guitar sounds. At $20, it’s a cool little way for iPad owners to add digital effects to their guitar recordings.
2) BassLine – $0.99
This little bass synth costs a dollar. It’s surprisingly versatile given the price. Users can create baselines, adjust the waveform and even play with the filters. There is even a lock function to ensure that things aren’t changed by mistake.
3) BS-16i – $4.99
This App is a sampler that supports SoundFont format. It can be used as a MIDI module, which means (audio gurus feel free to help us out here) it can be controlled by a device with a midi out as well as control other devices via MIDI.
4) Cleartune – $3.99
This is just a basic chromatic tuner for your iDevice. It’s nothing fancy, but it seems to do the trick according to the users who have commented on the App’s page. One user points out, “I always have it with me.” That’s an added benefit of having such an App on your iPhone. It’s a device you carry around almost everywhere.
5) Dub Siren Pro – $3.99
This App can play back some Reggae stations and allows the user to use sounds over the music as well as add various processing effects such as delay. It’s interesting for vintage-type sounds.
6) Funk Box – $2.99
FunkBox is a drum machine with an interface that should be easily learned by anyone who has played with drum sequencing software in the past. Users create loops from drum kits and can play those loops together to begin forming more complete songs.
7) Gliss – $0.99
This App is a little more abstract than many of the others. The interface is unlike any of the Apps that strive to recreate the feel of a traditional instrument. Users draw lines and have them played back according to how they are drawn. Each of the five line colors represents a sampled sound. You may not be able to compose a musical piece, but it’s great for moody, ambient-type stuff to make the background music sound eerie and stuff.
8) Harmonizer – Free
This is created more as an educational App. The interface looks like a bunch of multicolored hexagons and triangles with each representing a note or harmony. Users can learn note relationships with this App while developing a general appreciation for music.
9) iElectribe – $19.99
This is software based on Korg’s popular Electribe rhythm machine. Thanks to the large touchscreen of the iPad, the software can very accurately emulate the look and feel of the original piece of hardware. It’s digital, but it even has goes so far as to recreate that little tubes that were on the actual sequencer itself. It’s $20, but the anyone who has played with past Electribe models knows that this isn’t a bad price for the sequencer.
10) iOrgel HD – $2.99
Not only is the interface pretty, the sounds that come out of this App are also very beautiful. The best way to describe it is by saying it sounds like an old wooden music box. It has a distinctive sound that most instruments can’t recreate unless they use samples. This one makes for some interesting, mellow sounds.
11) M3000 HD – $11.99
This is a Mellotron App. The sounds that come from it are very cool, and it quickly becomes apparent why this was used in a Gorillaz album. However, the interface has been widely criticized, and the software is quite a bit more costly than some of the other packages out there.
12) Moog Filatron – $4.99
This is an audio filter that’s definitely not designed for the novice. While it contains samples and allows for users to input their own sounds, there are a ton of knobs on it that those unfamiliar with the controls may be lost on. It’s probably worth starting with a basic synth and learning the functions of cutoff, filter, highpass and lowpass before jumping into this one.
13) Mugician – Free
We don’t know exactly what this thing is. We’ve played with it, but it’s hard to describe. That said, this App is very cool, and it’s very easy to learn. You just touch the little squares in any pattern, group or combination, and you hear sounds. It’s very easy to create something semi-catchy, and this is yet another example of an iOS App that creates a different kind of interface.
14) Olsynth – $6.99
This is a very basic synth with a clean interface. It’s designed with simplicity in mind, and that becomes immediately apparent even with a first glance. The way the keys are drawn isn’t exactly pretty, but it’s a great way to learn synthesis. On the downside, it doesn’t appear that you can save settings. Then again, there aren’t many settings on this thing to have to worry about.
15) SoundThingie – $2.99
This is another “draw lines to make sounds” type Apps. The interface reminds us of microscopic particles floating through the darkness. Again, as is the case with most of these type Apps, you probably won’t find yourself creating “real” music so much as you will be making ambient sounds suited to enhancing the background effects.
16) Speak It! – $1.99
Strange that they would use an App like this one to create an album, isn’t it? Well, not totally. Speak It! is just a simple Text-to-Speech App. You type something in, and Speak It!…well, it speaks it. As we all know, Text-to-Speech still isn’t 100 percent yet, so it speaks in monotone robotic voices. That’s still pretty cool if used the right way in a musical composition.
17) StudioMiniXl – $5.99
StudioMini XL is basically a mobile studio in your iPad. Don’t let the colorful cartoon-like interface fool you, because this little package can do quite a bit. The best use for this software is to drop in song ideas for use later when you have access to your bigger instruments.
18) Synth – $0.99
This is another one of those simple synth interfaces. There is more to it than you will find on OlSynth, and it’s a bit more pleasing to the eyes. Still, the layout is simple enough for most users to understand. What’s also cool is that it includes the mod and pitch wheels.
19) Xenon – $4.99
This is a very cool looking little synth. It has one of our farovite UI designs because of the cool, bright colors. It’s also very inviting despite the various controls. It may take some users a while to fully understand what each of those little knobs does, but it’s still very cool looking.
More on Apps Used in the Latest Gorillaz Album
We’ve read that Solo Synth was also used for The Fall, but we’ve been unable to find it. We thought it was worth mentioning, but we do think that it’s very possible that something was lost in translation and someone meant to say Sylo Synth. The cool thing is that Sylo Synth is free.
Still, if you ever want to try to create your own album on the iPad, these Apps may help with that. Who knows, at the very least, they will provide a few minutes of entertainment. Don’t forget to check out some of our other favorite musical Apps while your at it.