Novation has announced that the Blocs Wave music making app for iOS is now avaialble as a free download (with in-app purchases) in the App Store.
Blocs Wave is a loop-based music making app, meaning that it doesn’t feature a sequencer for recording and arranging your performances. Instead, it offers six blocks, each with eight loop slots, for loading and triggering audio loops (no MIDI). The loops are muted/unmuted by swiping up or down and multi-touch is, of course, supported for toggling multiple loops at the same time. Although the app seems a bit limited at first, it actually allows the user to build and perform some rather advanced arrangements with a bit of practice and a fast enough technique.
The app comes pre-loaded with a selection of audio loops in several categories (bass, vocals, drums, percussion, FX, etc.) and music styles (house, urban, pop, etc.), but the cool thing is that you can also record loops into it. The recording workflow is very intuitive and the app also allows the user to trim the start/end time of the recordings if required. Loop slicing functionality is offered as an in-app purchase (priced at $3.99) and will allow you to to slice and rearange both the built-in loops and the recorded sounds. Anoter in-app purchase ($5.99) will enable audio import, which will bascially allow you to import any audio file into your Blocs Wave projects.
Blocs Wave can also timestretch the loops to fit any tempo and key, although this leads to an easily audible loss in audio quality (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course). Ableton Link is supported for playing in sync with other Ableton Link apps and the projects can be exported as an audio mix, a project file for later editing, an Ableton Live Set, of a Launchpad project. The projects can also be saved internally.
Despite some of the limitations that require in-app purchases, I think that even the free version Blocs Wave is a very useful music making tool. The loop recording functionality is amazingly convenient for those situations when you have a melody or a beat in your had and need a quick solution for recording it before the idea fades away. Blocs Wave is perfect for this, and will even allow you to shape those ideas into complex loop-based performances.
Having used a computer (and occasionally my trusty Android phone) as the foundation of my music making setup for over a decade, I’ve only recently started discoving the incredible possibilites of making music on an iPad (it’s the only iOS device that I own). I was completely blown away by the apps like Korg Gadget (which I used to create the intro and outro music for our Superbooth 2017 coverage) and the excellent DRC synthesizer by Imaginando, to name a few. Blocs Wave only continues that trend for me and it’s definitely a recommended download if you’re making music on iOS.
Blocs Wave is available for free download in the App Store.