Analogue instruments? Sure, if you want to live in the dark ages, that is. Modern music is increasingly about sounds that are partially or even entirely synthesised: synthetic, alien, and altogether a little bit different. With my favourite genre of music being progressive rock (and trance just a little bit behind this), I’m no stranger to synthesised sounds, nor will be anyone that was around in the 80s and old enough to hear and comprehend the outrageous hairstyles, clothing trends, and wild experimentation with electronically synthesised music. Artificially-created or at least electronically modified sounds are pretty much standard today in anything you’ll hear on mainstream radio, and whether this is a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion. Synthesisers are an important tool for many electronic artists, and with names like VirSyn and Korg showing prominence in the market, it is a pretty competitive one. It takes quite a bit of confidence therefore for Korg to claim that their Animoog for iPad is the “first professional synthesiser designed for the iPad”. Let’s see if their claim holds any weight.
Well, firstly, the above claim is very bold when considering that the Korg IMS-20 has a fairly similar offering of extremely high quality. Moog is a name that for me is synonymous with hardware excellence however, and I must say that the Animoog App, though not technically the first professional synthesiser for iPad, truly is the first professional synthesiser for said device. Just looking at the layout makes you want to purchase the app instantly, and if you don’t have an iPad, to purchase one just to own this app. The keyboard remains prominent on the screen whilst the various function knobs can be accessed by swiping up and down.
The real beauty of the Animoog however is the eight-timbre selection that can be created cycled through upon the playing of each note simply by swiping your finger across the grid, which is 8 squares in height by 16 in length. The beautiful oscillating waves provide a great visual reference for the sounds you’re making and they look great, but vectors and wavetables are nothing new, so don’t be tricked into thinking that this is the first and only synthesiser that does this. The sheer quality and originality of the timbres is undeniable however, since they are sampled from a selection of classic and modern Moog devices and their transition to the iPad results in no loss of sound quality.
Various filters and modulators are accessible on the right of the screen including with analogue delay, distortion, detune, bitcrush ,and a few others as well. No matter which set of timbres you go for or whether you’re using midi input or the touch-plate controller, you can be sure that you’re going to be greeted with the highest quality sound with the most incredible depth and impact that you can possibly hope for on a mobile device.
This isn’t an app for those looking for light-hearted musical fun to be had with friends however. For this kind of tomfoolery, you’re better off looking at various music games for games consoles and perhaps even a session with dancing game Just Dance 3. Animoog is for the serious musician that truly appreciates what the Moog name means in terms of musical history and pure sonic brilliance. Purists and hipsters aren’t going to enjoy the layout either, since you have to swipe for many of the knobs and controllers that are simply there at your fingertips with the real-life synthesisers. Animoog for iPad truly is a brilliant platform for creating some insane-sounding tones and original music however, though the marketing department may want to tone it down on the whole “first professional synthesiser for the iPad thing”, because it really isn’t.