Blocs Wave updated – Novation’s loop-based music app gets more workflow 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 have an iOS version of their LaunchPad technology that has proved very popular but, more recently, launched Blocs Wave which is also a loop and sample-based music creation tool…   but with some feature differences that make it distinct from the LaunchPad approach.

Since launch, Novation have rapidly developed the Blocs Wave concept further and a number of updates have already appeared for the app adding new import features, Ableton Link support, new export features, the very creative Slice Mode, a song construction system based upon the new ‘Sections‘ concept and improved import/export options……  the rate of progress has been considerable and Novation are rapidly turning a great start into a very accomplished creative tool.

Blocs Wave - Novation's 'other' loop-based music creation app.

Blocs Wave – Novation’s ‘other’ loop-based music creation app.

Anyway, a further update – v.8.0 – appeared on the App Store yesterday. It brings a number of new features in the ‘workflow’ area. For example, you can now hide soundpacks within the browser in order to better focus your selections. In addition, you can import loops from a much larger range of apps using the iOS document picker (great if you like to create loops elsewhere and then bring them into Blocs Wave). Given that storage space is always an issue under iOS, there is now also the option to compress imported loops into an m4a format to save some space.

There is now an option to hide soundpacks individually if it helps you focus your selections for a particular project.

There is now an option to hide soundpacks individually if it helps you focus your selections for a particular project.

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, there is now something that is called the ‘trigger’ option. This allows you to create new loops based upon existing loops that you have sliced. It allows you to reassemble the slices in any way you like to generate a new loop for playback within the project. having given this a quick go this morning it really is rather interesting; great for drum or percussive loops obviously (great some new drum patterns based upon the sounds in an existing pattern) but is also a lot of fun with melodic instruments or vocals….  and very easy to use.

Trigger option allows you to reassemble your loop slices into a new loop - very neat!

Trigger option allows you to reassemble your loop slices into a new loop – very neat!

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. Anyway, check out the original full review of Blocs Wave and the videos embedded below for more details.

Blocs Wave




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    Comments

    1. This is the first time I’ve become aware of Blocs Wave – it looks like an app I could make use of, if I’ve got a “handle” on what it can do. Recently, I’ve started experimenting with Figure for generating “groove” sequences and loops, and have been chopping out drums, basses and other parts from Figure sequences for future use.

      Would I be right in thinking that I could assemble whole “song” backing tracks in Blocs Wave? That is: put together “sections” for intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc., and chain these together into “songs”?

      If so, BW could be really useful for “sequencing” loops – almost like a drum machine app with “song” capability. I think I need to look into this app more carefully – thanks for the update and original review!

      • Hi Tim…. yes, the Sections feature allows you to create song ‘parts’ that that can then be chained to create a structured performance. It’s becoming a very neat app if you like to work with loops…. Best wishes, John

    2. Very good. Blocs Wave remains the best sample player/arranger on IOS. But, we ‘re still waiting for compatibility with Launchpad sound packs, key changes on a per section basis, and a number of other important enhancements. All hopefully yet to come.

      • Nathan, I’m in total agreement. I’ve invested a lot of money in the Launchpad Soundpacks. I was going to ask John about the ios Document Picker option to import them into Blocs but that seems to be a lot of effort for something that should be a seamless process between apps of the same company.

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