Music production isn’t exclusive to big budget studios, or even desktops anymore. Now you can mix and master your soon-to-be hit singles right from your smartphone. Prod away at your phone with these great music-making apps, and maybe one day the world will get to hear all those thumping tunes in your head.
Don’t want to leave the house without anything less than a full-fat digital audio workstation in your pants? You’ll want Cubasis 3 on your phone (or tablet), then. The app provides limitless scope for crafting your next No. 1, whether you want to tap out notes on a piano roll, drag around loops, or pretend you’re Kraftwerk by twisting virtual knobs. Just be mindful that this one’s pretty deep.
If you want something simpler for creating grooves on the move, this is a handheld beatmaker that lets you tap out drums, bass and lead lines on pads and dinky keyboards. It’s accessible stuff for newcomers, but explore a bit and you’ll unearth features for tweaking samples, editing notes and slathering tracks in cavernous reverb like you’re auditioning to join Slowdive.
Free (IAP) / Android
It’s probably not escaped your notice that your phone is mostly a slab of glass. This doesn’t lend itself to traditional synth setups, since they’re packed full of knobs and sliders. So Korg’s app is mostly an expressive touch-panel that you drag a finger across to unleash thumping beats, whumping bass and ear-splitting leads. Just the thing to ‘UNCH UNCH UNCH’ into the night.
If even Kaossilator strikes you as staid, PixiTracker will strum your idiosyncratic itch. The oddball setup has you select a pixel-art icon, choose a note and place it on a sequencer grid. Lay enough notes down and you’ll have a tune – and if you need visual accompaniment, tap the TV button to watch Space Invaders bob around atop an audio waveform representing your musical genius.
Described by its creator as ‘Bach in a box’, Fugue Machine is no dusty relic. Instead, this is a thoroughly modern sequencer that borrows from the layered compositional techniques found in classical music. You tap out notes on a piano roll and then run multiple playheads over the same set of notes. By tweaking each one’s speed, pitch, start point and direction, you end up with hypnotic juxtapositions.
R250 / iOS
Should you not be keen on virtual instruments and instead crave making music with your face (or a guitar), AudioKit L7 provides you with a live looper where you can build a song across 16 tracks. It’s super easy to use but versatile, letting you tap loops to turn them on and off, add effects, or export your efforts as a ZIP full of WAVs so they can be the beginning of your next worldwide smash hit.
R50 / iOS