Blocs Wave updated – Novation’s real-time pitch/time stretching loop player gets more new features

Download from iTunes App StoreBlocs wave logo 1If you have any background in music technology then the Novation brand (and sister company Focusrite) will be well known to you. Novation’s Launchpad hardware/software combination has been incredibly successful for both live and studio musicians and their ‘free plus IAP’ iOS music app version of the Launchpad concept has proved equally popular amongst both iOS musicians and, I suspect, lots of more general users (folks interested in music making but without traditional instrument skills/background) because of the fun to be had mixing and matching audio loops to assemble instant musical ideas.

Novation recently released another loop-based iOS music app – Blocs Wave – and, given that Blocs Wave and Launchpad are both built for creating music from loops, I think some Launchpad users were perhaps a bit surprised by the new addition. In fact, I think the focus of Blocs Wave is perhaps somewhat different to Launchpad. The new app is still about mixing and matching audio loops but, in Blocs Wave, you get something that is perhaps a little closer in concept to a looper app in that the design not only provides a platform for working with pre-recorded loops, but also encourages you to record your own audio to create loops for use in your projects.

Blocs wave - now with a 'sections' feature for building more complex song structures.

Blocs wave – now with a ‘sections’ feature for building more complex song structures.

Anyway, Novation are obviously keen to develop the concept further and a number of updates have already appeared for the app adding new import features, Ableton Link support, new export features and the very creative Slice Mode. However, today has seen another update – the app now stands at v.6.0 – and, aside from a few routine tweaks and fixes, this also brings one new – and very welcome – new feature; Sections.

This can be thought of as a ‘song construction’ system for the app. A ‘section’ is simply a collection of settings dictating a set of eight loops and identifying which of these loops are in playback at any one time. You get up to six sections that can be defined (copy and paste are supported) and you can then easily switch between these sections on the fly. The obvious way to configure this is to create an ‘intro’ section, a ‘verse’ section, a ‘chorus’ sections, etc. and, as you switch between sections, the transition is handled smoothly by the app so this really is something you can use in live performance contexts.

You get six 'section' slots and options for copy/paste between them if required.

You get six ‘section’ slots and options for copy/paste between them if required.

Having given this a brief spin on my iPad Pro it really is a rather neat new feature. The key thing to note here is that, if you wish to, you can specify different collections of loops to be used in each of the different sections. This makes the system very flexible and allows you to build much stronger contrasts between song ‘sections’ if required. You can toggle on/off the ‘Sections’ strip if you don’t need access to it.

Combined with the slice feature, Novation are quickly turning Blows Wave into a great loop-based composition tool.

Combined with the slice feature, Novation are quickly turning Blocs Wave into a great loop-based composition tool.

I must say that I really like Blocs Wave. And, with the app modestly priced at just UK£4.99/US$5.99, this is not too much of a stretch for almost anyone to take a punt with. Novation really do know what they are about when it comes to loop-based musical tools and, while this is not a ‘do everything’ kind of tool, like some of the very best iOS music apps, the focused feature set is a strength here rather than a weakness; it makes for a fast and efficient – and creative – workflow.

For lovers of loops, Blocs Wave is well worth a look. Check out the original full review of Blocs Wave and the new videos that cover the Sections feature that are embedded below for more details.

Blocs Wave

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    1. Blows Dave says:

      Blows Wave? (Under the first picture caption) That’s a pretty funny unintentional burn.

    2. It is amazing how much they have added to this app in such a short period of time.
      It must get the award for the most new features in the shortest period of time. I wonder what it will be like a year’s time.

      Well done developer!

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