Patterning update – Olympia Noise Co add Ableton Link support to their brilliant iOS drum/rhythm machine app

Download from iTunes App StorePatterning IconAs most regular Music App Blog readers will be aware, I’m a bit of a fan of what developer Olympia Noise Co do with their iOS music apps. For example, Chordion has always been a personal favourite because of its easy-to-use design. The app is perhaps one of the best examples of some clever design to exploit the strengths of the touchscreen and create a playable interface that musicians can use.

Olympia Noise Co are not a one-trick pony and both Ondes and dot Melody are also well worth checking out. However, as I commented when originally reviewing the app back in August, Ben Kamen and the team at Olympia Noise Co toped the lot with their most recent release; Patterning: Drum Machine.

Patterning - now with support for Ableton Link.

Patterning – now with support for Ableton Link.

If you have not yet read the full Patterning review or tried the app for yourself, then don’t miss out. Patterning is – quite simply – brilliant; beautiful to look at, so very clever in terms of the programming options and, as far as I’m aware, unique as a drum/rhythm programming environment (iOS or desktop). This is absolutely one of my favourite new releases in 2015….

The app has had a few technical updates since first launch and these have mostly been to address minor fixes requires or to provide some performance enhancements. A further such update has appeared on the App Store today – v.1.0.6 is now available for download – and while this includes some bug squashing, there are also other additions. For example, Patterning’s graphics have been tweaked to handle the new iPad Pro screen format better and support for Dropbox has been restored under iOS9.

Patterning and gadget running within Audiobus... and both with the 'Link' label showing.

Patterning and gadget running within Audiobus… and both with the ‘Link’ label showing.

However, the headline new feature is support for the new Ableton Link protocol. As I posted yesterday, this looks like a very promising new method for syncing iOS music apps together and, while its eventual success/impact will depend upon just how widely app developers adopt it, so far I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen.

I’ve already given Patterning a bit of a spin alongside Korg’s Gadget within Audiobus….  It worked an absolute treat and, for the user, really is very painless. Using the Audiobus ‘Play’ button (within the Audiobus control strip that appears in each app that is running under Audiobus) I was able to start/stop the play back of both Gadget and Patterning with a single tap and they stayed tightly in sync though playback.

Patterning's Settings page now includes a switch to enable Ableton Link.

Patterning’s Settings page now includes a switch to enable Ableton Link.

The other observation worth noting is that I could change the tempo in either app and the other would follow. With Gadget and Patterning at least, the Ableton Link protocol doesn’t seem to have the same sense of ‘master’ and ‘slave’; the tempo of every app seems to be set by whichever app you most recently changed the tempo within. I’ll be interested to explore this more fully and it would be interesting to see if Ableton Link allows one app to change tempo of all the others on the fly while playback is in process….

Anyway, this fine-tuning of Patterning is great to see and just makes a solid app even more robust….  but the addition of Ableton Link is also very welcome. If you have any use for programmed drum pattern and/or electronic drum sounds, at UK£7.99, Patterning is a no-brainer…. Check out the original review but this is an app that is good enough to buy an iPad for…. Top notch stuff and recommended without any reservations.


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