Blocs Wave for iPad and iPhone is a new venture from some of the minds behind such well-known apps as Novation’s Launchpad for iOS. The idea behind it is that it gives you a way to quickly and easily come up with new musical ideas which you can then use in other projects either on your iOS device or back on your computer. It’s not a song creation tool so much as a sort of groove machine that provides some quick inspiration, though it does have some clever tools in its arsenal.
The app is beautifully designed with a slick, minimal and modern look. You get eight slots, each of which can hold a loop that you either choose from the bundled content, or record or import yourself. There’s a browser that can use tags or categories as well as a “discover” section that you can use to automatically have the app choose loops that will complement those already loaded via an ‘auto’ button. Add-on sound packs are also available at a cost of around £1.49 / $2.
When a sound is loaded, whether from the library or recorded through your own microphone, you can enter edit mode and play around with its waveform. The app does some clever tempo detection that should ensure that loops are in time, but if they need correcting or if indeed you want to change their timing, you can do this using the slip command and moving the sample. You can also alter the left and right loop points to change the part of the loop that plays, and like in DJ software, snap points make sure the timing remains accurate. A volume slider in each edit section lets you submix the different pads.
There’s a tempo selector complete with tap feature and also a pitch control section, so your loops will follow whatever time or pitch changes you make, and you can of course save and rename new projects. Ableton Link functionality is included so the app can be part of a performance with other compatible software. When it comes to exporting, you can export individual pads, batch export all pads at once, or export a full mixdown of the sequence and these files can be emailed or made available to AudioCopy and AudioShare to use in other apps, either as AAC or WAV files.
Blocs Wave is a cool little app with some great loops that will inspire you to start new tracks, and some good tools to change the pitch, tempo and timing of the loops in a sequence. It can’t at present sequence whole songs, though you can export your loops and do this in another app. Blocs tells us that a new “Slice and Rearrange” feature is coming in an update that will presumably let you get more creative with the different parts of each sample by slicing them up. Although it’s fun and very easy to use at the moment, this app has a lot of potential to become something more heavyweight in future with regards to composition. Let’s hope Blocs feels the same way.
Price: £3.99 / $4.99
Pros: Great design. Cool sounds. Tempo and pitch features work really well. Import your own loops. Batch export all pads in a project. Ableton Link functionality is included. Fun and easy to use.
Cons: You can’t create whole songs, at least not yet.