Retronyms has some great iPad music making apps available. Amongst those is one of their first standalone synth apps, Phase84. The app was released in December 2014 so it is not new but the price is 🙂
Phase84 is what’s known as a Phase Distortion synthesizer. This form of waveshaping synthesis has its roots in Casio’s brilliant CZ line of digital synthesizers from the 80s. It is designed to have the warmth of a subtractive (analog) synthesizer, yet be capable of the squelchy tones and sharp attacks of an FM synth. Phase84 in particular can create warm pads, glitchy sounds, dirty basses, filthy sweeps, screaming leads, and anything in-between.
What in the world does all that mean right? Well, here is my take on the app – Phase84 fits into that category of apps that try to give us music makers a new way to interact with our synths, a new way to perform and new ways to manipulate the sounds coming out of our iPads during a performance (or when we are just messing around exploring music!)
There are a ton of iPad apps out there that simply emulate hardware and give us a collection of great sounds but I would never actually perform without the aid of an external controller for those kind of apps.
Phase84 has a performance screen in fact – what does THAT tell you? It is made to perform with…. perform while touching the app and interacting with it! Take a look at all the options you have to control the sounds pumping out of this thing! Two XY pads, a 16 step gate sequencer, knobs, fliers, and the list goes on….
Another reason I like this app is that Retronyms has out a series of 8 videos that gives you an overview of some of the capabilities built into this app…. A Teacher could easily use these YouTube videos as lessons alongside the app for a classroom of Middle or High School students. How much fun would it be to have a classroom of iPads where the kids do an entire concert using apps like Phase84 – creating music that in no way shape or form could ever be created on traditional instruments/hardware?
Anyways – get it, play it, perform with it!
Here are those YouTube videos… and as always, if you do decide to grab this app while on sale…. use the link above because it will help support my blog here while taking nothing from the developers.