Patrick Madden – the main man behind Secret Base Design’s series of iOS music apps and part of the team that bought us Music IO – has recently launched a new app – Infinite Looper – that takes some of the concepts that are more generally associated with audio loopers and applied them to MIDI loops (or clips).
This approach means that you can build a loop-based composition based upon some short MIDI phrases and trigger them ‘live’, or via a pre-configured ‘song’ structure, to create your music…. and, instead of audio in those loops, the MIDI data triggers sounds based on virtual instruments, whether those be within Infinite Looper itself (it has a built-in GM-style SoundFont sound set), other iOS apps (Infinite Looper can act as a host of IAA apps) or, given appropriate MIDI connectivity, external MIDI sound sources.
In terms of basic practicalities, Infinite Looper requires iOS8.0 or later, is universal and a 37MB download. It is priced at UK£7.99/US$9.99. And while Infinite Looper is now universal, there is also a dedicated iPhone version called Aleph Looper which is available for the lower price of UK£3.99/US$4.99.
A further update to the app has appeared on the App Store today (v.1.2). While this does address a bug or two, the key new addition is support for scale-based keyboards. In addition to the existing piano-style keyboard you can now select a customised keyboard based on a particular scale or, if you prefer, define your own selection of notes to restrict the note selections displayed. Lots of iOS music feature this kind of option – it is one of the big advantages that a touchscreen can bring to app designers – although it can also be seen as a necessity to overcome what is, after all, a limitation of the touchscreen; trying to use it to play a traditional piano keyboard in the first place :-)
Being able to restrict the note range to a specific key/scale combination is a big advantage when using a virtual keyboard top MIDI data entry. Having given the new system a quick workout this morning, it seems to work well and is suitably flexible. You also still get the MIDI velocity response based upon where you tap on each note (bottom to top for low to high) which is very useful for adding expression as you play.
I really do like the underlying concept of Infinite Looper. It perhaps doesn’t bring anything dramatically new in terms of powerful MIDI sequencing features and this kind of clip/loop-based MIDI sequencing is available elsewhere… but Patrick has presented in a somewhat different way here so that it is a little more immediate and, unsurprisingly, more ‘looper’ like.
For more details, read the full Infinite Looper review, check out the introductory video below or the App Store description via the Download button…. Oh, and while you are at it. check out Patrick’s other Secret base Design apps as many of these are currently ‘on sale’ to coincide with the launch period for Infinite Looper.