Tuesday, April 23, 2019

MiniReview: Patterning

Posted by Mikers On August - 22 - 2015

screen480x480 (4)You only need to check out Olympia Noise Co’s existing catalogue of music apps to know the talented team’s latest release, Patterning, is not going to be your typical beat maker. It’s the developer’s fresh approach to design and useability, combined with professional features that has made it so damn hard for me to put Patterning down over the past week I’ve been playing with it.

Billed as a ‘drum machine’, Patterning certainly fits that description, as it lets you build grooves quicker and easier than you can say ‘Amen break’, however it’s the unique ‘circular’ user interface that invites a level of exploration and experimentation that I haven’t seen in a groovebox before.

I’m sure there are better comparisons, but I liken the main interface to being able to peel back layers of an onion, with each layer being a new sound and pattern. As you move back and forth between the layers you gradually build a groove by adding beats by simply touching where and when you want the sound to play. And the volume of each beat is determined by how big you draw the line with your finger.

You can have a total of 8 percussive sounds per drum kit, but thanks to some basic sound editing features, there is no reason why you couldn’t also incorporate musical riffs as part of a groove, such as a bass line. There’s course and fine tuning available, plus adjusting the attack, hold and decay of each sampled sound. And while there is a comprehensive library of existing sounds inspired by classic drums machines through to traditional acoustic sounding drums, plus a collection of custom sounds from indy producers and musicians, you also have the ability to import your own sampled sounds via cloud storage and AudioShare.

Completed patterns can then be placed in a specific order within the song mode, where they play as part of the timeline for things like live performances.

Patterning also features a decent mixer and effects section. Parts can be soloed, muted, panned, and each has independent reverb and delay sends. The FX section offers control over the reverb and delay settings, plus there is an handy distortion and a 3-band EQ for the overall mix.

Last but not least, naturally Patterning talks to other iOS music apps with support for Audiobus, Inter-App Audio, and MIDI.

While there is an on-board tutorial to get you started, plus help section to explain each and every function, one of the joys for me was exploring the various features and learning as I went.

I honestly didn’t think the world needed another drum machine app, but Patterning has proved me wrong. It is highly addictive and extremely intuitive, yet powerful enough to appeal to serious beat makers, and easily one of the most refreshingly unique music apps so far this year.

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