I’m happy to write to you and I bring good news: an updated version of the Table of Animoog Presets, adding 572 new presets and 274 new timbres to Animoog from 6 expansion packs. This table that I’m gladly compiling for the community of Animoog players now lists a total of 3,148 presets and 5,129 timbres for Animoog. This gives us access to a large diversity of presets to explore for hours and hours.
Players will also be happy to hear that since my last blog entry, two minor versions of Animoog have been released, version 2.4.6 in April and 2.4.7 in June, bringing minor bugfixes and one small feature for those wanting to play along with existing tracks: Animoog now allows Apple Music to continue playing when Animoog is in the foreground. Animoog for iPhone followed the same path and got the same new feature, reporting now as version 1.3.3.
I read reports that the current version of Animoog doesn’t support iOS 11, Apple’s upcoming iOS version currently only available as a public beta. It’s extremely likely that Moog Music will update Animoog over the coming weeks to fix compatibility issues with iOS 11 before it launches.
It’s not zombies targeting Animoog players, but yes, this post really is about playing Animoog with your brain! You read that right, the tool I was invited to test leverages brain fluctuations and converts the signal to MIDI messages. This tool is Brain2MIDI from ‘Vision EEG‘. EEG stands for electroencephalography which essentially is “an electrophysiological monitoring method to record electrical activity of the brain”.
About a year ago, Brain2MIDI’s developer Laurent Allen-Guerard invited me to testdrive his software with Animoog. That’s how I got to play Animoog with my brain! Two recording sessions were enough for me to understand the potential of Brain2MIDI. Here’s the 3-minutes video that Vision EEG created from this experiment of playing Animoog with your brain. The video demonstrates Brain2MIDI in action with Animoog.
Here’s a few points about Brain2MIDI and the experience as a whole. Connecting Animoog to Brain2MIDI is straightforward and I could easily map multiple Animoog parameters to the brain sensors. I would not recommend using your brain to actually play notes, unless you like erratic music! Assigning brain fluctuations to other parameters such as Animoog’s stereo delay mix, orbit time and the key’s glide resulted in pretty fun and melodious results. Was I able to control what came out of my brain? Not entirely, but despite the little experience I had, I felt like I could really control something. There’s also certainly a feedback loop: my brain is influenced by the music I’m hearing and this very music is directly influencing my brain in real time, creating a positive feedback loop! What The Brain2MIDI software provided visual indications of what is going on and allow users to fine tune the signal configuration.
I consider myself lucky to have experienced playing Animoog with my brain. If you’re interested as well, you’ll need a Muse headband, which can be put to other uses than playing music, such as for meditating.
You’ll of course need some way to connect Animoog to Brain2MIDI. At the time of recording the videos, Bluetooth MIDI networks were not supported in Animoog and that’s why I used my iRig MIDI 2. One thing that may constitute an annoyance to you is that the Brain2MIDI app is Android-only at this point. So you’ll need an Android device to run it. An iOS version is under consideration if enough users express interest. Brain2MIDI is currently available on the Google Play store for $19,99, which is a bargain considering you need a Muse headband which is much more expensive.
Brain2MIDI’s developer Laurent is also a Trance musician and published lots of music already. I felt his track ‘Brain Stimulation’ was appropriately named for this post! Here it is :-)
Playing music your brain sounds esoteric? With the upcoming omnipresence of augmented and virtual realities and their current and future inroads in music creation, I would not be surprised to see more and more of our physical selves making its way in our music creation processes.
I wish us all an excellent year 2017 with our favorite synths, such as Animoog! Cheers — Alex / Satri
One of my ongoing quests is to find an alternative controller for Animoog that would suit my playing style. This post focuses on the compatibility and capabilities of the Linnstrument and the ROLI Seaboard with Animoog now that Animoog supports MPE, aka Expressive MIDI.
Animoog MIDI MPE Support
Animoog 2.4.0 released about a month ago brought support for MPE input with note-per-channel MIDI controllers. This changes everything. Everything when it comes for Animoog to support sophisticated MIDI controllers.
What is MPE and why it matters so much? MPE is an extension of the MIDI standard that stands for the Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression specification. It is also known as ‘Expressive MIDI’. You’ll learn a lot more in this previous post a year ago about MIDI MPE’s development and its technical specification.
In short, this new way of leveraging MIDI messages makes it possible to control the multiple expressive parameters of a single Animoog note over the same old MIDI cables. The ‘core MIDI specification’ wasn’t built to handle multiple dimensions per note. Dimensions in Animoog? Think of modulations such as the different polypressures or orbit rates for every note played.
The advent of MIDI MPE significantly reduces the limitations external controllers had when it comes to controlling advanced sound synthesis instruments such as Animoog and Model 15. If I’m not mistaken, it also enables better means to record Animoog performances over MIDI (I haven’t made experimentations myself yet, but I plan to — and of course, I’ll publish my findings on this very site). Expect more and more controllers and apps to support MIDI MPE over time. And be happy, thanks to Moog developers, Animoog now supports it! :-)
The LinnStrument by Roger Linn Design is one of the alternative controllers for serious players. Yes, it’s different from the MIDI controllers we’re used to, but don’t be afraid by this grid of lights, just look at how others play with it and you’ll understand why it attracts that much interest. Every cell will reacts to z-axis pressure as well as x / y-axises for vibrato and modulation. Pitch slides are easily performed on the LinnStrument’s x-axis. The Sonic Lab video below will show this to you.
The LinnStrument also happens to be built and played by incredibly friendly people! I wanted to try the LinnStrument and Roger Linn himself nicely arranged a meeting with a LinnStrument owner in my home city of Montreal. That’s how I met with the wonderful Nathanaël last April. Nathanaël happens to work for the famous Moment Factory studio. He generously spent time with me on his LinnStrument, testing not only Animoog (which at the time didn’t support MIDI MPE) but also let me test how it feels to actually play on the LinnStrument. Thanks a lot Nathanaël!
Unrelated to the LinnStrument, here’s a short video by Nathanaël showing Animoog controlling LED lights with note velocity and polyphonic aftertouch.
Sonic Lab just released a 22-minutes video review of the Linnstrument, and guess what, it extensively features Animoog! :-) This video not only gives you an idea of the capabilities of the LinnStrument, Gaz Williams goes into the details of many of its features. This is a must-see video to anyone looking for an alternative controller for Animoog.
After trying the LinnStrument last April, there’s one question I asked the LinnStrument developers: can we select playable notes ourselves, just like we can select which Animoog keys show up on the iPad? The answer is essentially no. From their FAQ:
Q: LinnStrument's rows always contain consecutive semitones (chromatic scales). Is it possible to set it so that the rows contain consecutive notes of a specific scale, for example only major scale notes while skipping over the accidentals?
A: It is fundamental to LinnStrument’s design that each of the eight rows always contain only chromatic scales. While it is true that some controllers (like our Tempest drum machine) permit you to set consecutive pads to play only scale notes (for example, only major scale notes, skipping accidentals), this is really only useful for controllers with few pads like drum pad controllers or Ableton Push. However, LinnStrument has 200 note pads so it is not necessary to delete any notes of the chromatic scale. The problem with removing the notes outside of the scale is that you can't play them, which is useful in all but very simple music. There are other problems with non-chromatic scales: 1) you must always change the scales to play in different musical modes so you never get a chance to develop any playing skills because the notes are always moving. 2) Pitch slides will no longer be consistent, with larger jumps between note pads that are a whole tone apart than between those that are a semitone apart. 3) Vibratos on a pad with a semitone interval on one side and a whole tone interval on the other will be asymmetrical, bending twice as much on the whole tone side than on the semitone side. Instead of preventing you from playing accidentals, LinnStrument borrows an idea similar to the piano keyboard's black and white keys: it provides access to all the notes but highlights the naturals. By default, it highlights the natural notes (C, D, E, F, G, A and B) in green lights and highlights all “C” notes in light blue lights, but you can change it to highlight any scale and in any of 6 colors (red, green, blue, cyan, magenta or yellow). This is done in Global Settings / Note Lights.
While I understand their valid arguments, I still think that it’s the single absent feature that stops me from purchasing a LinnStrument. The good news is that the LinnStrument firmware is open source, anyone can modify the LinnStrument’s software. Enthusiastic players could thus implement this features themselves. I thought of crowdfunding this feature with Bountysource for everyone to benefit from it. I went as far as creating this little explanation of what I was looking for.
My recent discussions with the main LinnStrument firmware developer highlighted the following: “there are physical spacers between the rows of LinnStrument that prevent smooth transitions across cells in the vertical axis.” Despite this limitation, I still foresee this LinnStrument keys layout as valuable and being a useful way to play Animoog on it, similar to how we can configure Animoog’s keys on the iPad. At this point, the LinnStrument developers aren’t interested in even maintaining this feature if we successfully implemented it. I of course respect their decision and it made sense to me to postpone working on crowdfunding this feature.
But don’t stop yourself at my sentiment regarding this feature absent from the LinnStrument, the LinnStrument is clearly an excellent alternative controller and it usually pleases bass and guitar players because of its keys layout, Gaz Williams explains why in his extensive review. Here’s a nice LinnStrument track from Geert Bevin to give you a sense of how it can be played.
If you haven’t seen the ROLI Seaboard yet, I’m glad you’re reading this. One could dare think this keyboard came to existence to be Animoog’s companion. Let’s first have a quick look at what the Seaboard can do — notice the x & y gliding effects in the video, akin to the slides our fingers do on the Animoog keys on the iPad.
The following impressive video successfully demonstrate the Seaboard capabilities with human-like voice. No wonder why the ROLI Seaboard won several awards!
Ok, but how does this the ROLI Seaboard sounds with Animoog? We’re very lucky, Steffen Presley, the sound designer who created the Song Haven pack of presets for Animoog, recorded the following video showcasing Animoog on the ROLI Seaboard Grand.
The ROLI Seaboard has the scales physically locked to the piano scale, meaning my main reticence to adopt the LinnStrument is also valid for the Seaboard. Steffen Presley also warns us that playing micro-tonally, which was possible on the GRAND but never the RISE, is not an option anymore. Steffen provide the details in the description of the following video. Those interested in having access to this feature again should request it to ROLI directly.
Can I have a ROLI Seaboard? You can and you have multiple options. The smaller ROLI Seaboard version available is named the Seaboard RISE, the 25-keys is priced at $799 and the 49-keys is $1,199. The latter is currently out of stock. I haven’t found a comparison of the RISE and its bigger brother the Seaboard GRAND, but the GRAND features more inputs and outputs and has different keywaves. It also costs more, the 37-keywaves GRAND Studio is $1,999, the 61-keywaves GRAND Stage is $2,999 and the ultimate Limited First Edition version featuring 88 keywaves is $8,888.
For such an expense, you’ll probably want to try how a Seaboard feels like and sounds like before purchasing one. Here’s the worldwide map of ROLI Seaboard retailers. Trying one is the next step for me — despite the fixed scale, will I fall in love with it?
Expect more surprises
We’re just at the beginning of a new era of controllers and advances like the LinnStrument and the ROLI Seaboard are pretty exciting. Combined with Animoog, the most popular iPad synth, there’s certainly lots of wonderful explorations ahead! And expect even more surprises in the future, hey, synths are even making it to the augmented and virtual worlds. You got that right and this is nicely demonstrated by the Behringer DeepMind 12, which crosses the chasm and dives into augmented reality. The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed ;-)
While I’m preparing a few other Animoog posts, I’d like to share with you two nice live Animoog performances that found their way to me. I usually find it inspiring to hear and see what other Animoog players do with our beloved instrument.
The first video is from Discophone_ and it’s a mix of apps played in a car, with Animoog providing the melody.
The next one of is a live performance by Makers of Sense, and in this one as well, Animoog is at the forefront.
I’m slowly gathering more and more Animoog videos in curated playlists where everyone can find more of such Animoog gems. If I missed any other worthy video on Animoog, let us know in the comments! Take care — Alex / Satri
When I published version 1.4 of the table of Animoog presets and timbres last May, I wasn’t expecting a new version coming this fast. Rejoice, today I’m announcing 352 new free Animoog presets, and they’re excellent! This expansion packs table lists third-party presets and timbres that you won’t find anywhere else.
352 new Animoog presets are now available as part of this update. There’s now a total of 2,576 presets and over 4,500 timbres available for Animoog, lots of them free!
Sound designer named ‘analogue I wish you were’ contacted me to share with you not one, but two packs of free Animoog presets. I’ve been playing with them the past few weeks and I can confirm that these are great presets! I’m amazed at the quality of what the sound designers amongst us are able to create for us, the players, to play with!
analogue I wish you were provided a preview for its Retro Futurism pack:
But never stop yourself at a preview, download and install the free presets for you to explore their capabilities. Next is “À la rescousse”, an improvised Animoog solo played live with ‘analogue I wish you were’ preset named ‘PAD ramp pur’ from the ‘Retro Futurism’ presets.
“La vue” is an improvised Animoog solo played live with ‘analogue, I wish you were’ preset named ‘FM PAD – no way back’ from the ‘RPG Fantasy Sounds’ free Animoog presets pack. ‘RPG Fantasy Sounds’ is now one of my favorite pack of presets.
After the nice presets we got from him last May, sound designer Rust(i)k offers us a second pack of free Animoog presets! Nothing less than 169 new and free presets which are, once again, of pretty good quality :-) Rust(i)k informed me that some of the presets’ timbres might be missing and may simply be replaced with Basic Sine.
Here’s one of the numerous tracks I recorded with these presets, “Japon turquoise” is an improvised Animoog solo played live with ‘Rust(i)k’ preset named ‘Keys Iluminati’ from the ‘RePrison’ free Animoog presets pack.
During an online discussion with another Animoog player, we came to the topic of which timbres are required for a pack of third-party presets to sound as intended. With this information available, an Animoog player can know in advance if he has all the required timbres before downloading and installing a new third-party pack. The table version 1.5 now includes the list of official In-App-Purchase packs you need installed for the third-party presets to sound as designed without any [missing] timbres.
If you’re a sound designer that contributed one of those packs, please contact me to let me know which timbres are required for your presets and I’ll add the info for the next version.
YouTube Channels and an Improvisation
Remember that I provide a list of Animoog-focused YouTube channels? Here’s an Animoog improvisation played by Subconscience. I’m amazed at the variety of sounds and styles that can be played with Animoog.
Enjoy summertime — Animoog can be played anywhere, like shown on this photo from Lukas Gec (thanks Lucas!).
Big thanks to ‘analogue I wish you were’ and Rust(i)k. Hope you’ll enjoy their presets as much as I do :-) Don’t hesitate to share this announcement with other Animoog players, the intention here is to ensure that as many players as possible are benefiting from those excellent presets! Cheers — Alex / Satri
I’m happy to have completed and now share with you the final version of my ‘Model 15’ album of improvised solos made with Moog Music’s ‘Model 15’ app during its Beta testing phase. I couldn’t resist the fun of releasing an album the very day the musical instrument becomes available to the world :-) That’s why you got an incomplete preview version. Please read the initial announcement if you haven’t do so already.
Those who have purchased the album already, THANKS AGAIN! :-) and please redownload the album for free on Bandcamp in order to get the full album as I intended it. My apologies for not having told you in advanced that I wasn’t done reviewing all the improvisations I did with the ‘Model 15’ app during its beta testing phase. I thought my first track triage was good enough but it wasn’t.
The four tracks I added are quite different from the previously released ones and I hope that you’ll like them as well :-)
The new total is 17 tracks and a running time now of 40 minutes. I also slightly shortened the ‘There will be more’ track for it to begin and end more smoothly. In a minority of cases, I truncated the beginning or the end of a track, which is provided raw without any mastering: that’s really how great the ‘Model 15’ app sounds by itself and played live :-) We really need quality headphones to fully enjoy such an app and the resulting tracks.
Here’s the updated list of tracks with the presets I used to play the improvised solos with Model 15. For the new version of the Album, I admit I haven’t respected the chronological ordering of tracks I used for the initial release, the new tracks haven been inserted attempting to make track transitions pleasant as much as possible.
Track list for the 'Model 15' album by Satri
Model 15 preset
Pad / Drew Neumann Polynoise
Pad / Drew Neumann Polynoise
Brass / Fabio Di Mauro Sperimenting in
Learning to walk
Arpeggio / Kevin Lamb Play one note at a time
Brass / Trent Thompson Wod wheelopoly
FX / Trent Thompson Ghost in the record
Keys / Geert Bevin Soft poly
Brass / Trent Thompson Wod wheelopoly
Tom Wies Sequence I
There will be more
Tom Wies Sequence I
Tom Wies Sequence III
Through the rift
Modern / Geert Bevin Between The Edges
FX / Tony Saunders Steam loco
Ledom 51 test 14
Tom Wies Sequence I
Keys / Geert Bevin Soft poly
Flat Earth horizon
Modern Cosmic Organ Grinder
Modern / Geert Bevin Sagittent Voluris
I’m rather happy with this album, I feel it brings something new I never heard elsewhere. That’s the feeling I get when I play solos with the Model 15 app. That’s fun music anyone can play live with the ‘Model 15’ app just like I did.
The album is of course still free, better actually as it is available as Creative Commons CC-BY, and you can download it here on Bandcamp. It’s time for me to get ready for Moogfest 2016! I think I’m now done working on Animoog albums for some time, there’s another music project I want to work on first. And yes, it’s Animoog related :-) I obviously won’t stop playing since I like it so much. And you’ll still hear from me since I have a few other Animoog-related posts to share with you.
Luigi Bairo is a writer, music journalist and musician from Turin, Italy. He published adventure books, pedagogy essays and books about bicycle philosophy. As a musician he has played in several underground bands of Turin as Stray King, Arigret and Harp1. In 2011 he began a solo career. In 2012, he released his album Valis in which he played all the instruments and in 2013, Forbidden Planet which combines traditional instruments with iPad apps such as Animoog. He is now a member of the Lefigurine duo since 2015.
That’s a pretty good and interesting album :-) I’m amazed at what others can do today with apps such as Animoog. Hope you’ll enjoy Luigi’s Animoog bicycle-driven creations! — Alex / Satri
Great news! Italian sound designer Tiziano Gileno Fasano, aka Subconscience, recorded a video tutorial just for us, showing how to connect Animoog to Model 15 with Audiobus, a process which further opens the door to endless possibilities!
Here’s the short video which shows every step and ends with a quick demonstration of how Animoog presets can be morphed from within the Model 15 app itself:
Dear fellow Animoog players, I’m delighted to announce version 1.4 of Animoog.org’s table of expansion packs. This expansion packs table lists third-party presets and timbres that you won’t find anywhere else.
328 new Animoog presets are now available as part of this update. There’s now a total of 2,224 presets and over 4,500 timbres available for Animoog, lots of them free!
I’m happy that sound designer Steffen Presley contacted me and that we’re now able to provide his expansion pack named Song-Haven. It is available for $6,99 by sending money directly to Steffen via Paypal. There’s a total of 50 new presets, with some of them requiring that you already purchased the Acoustic and R. Devine packs in order to access their timbres.
As you can see in the following YouTube demonstration video, those are high quality presets. They just got released and I haven’t tested them yet, but I soon will!
Sound designer Rust(i)k is freely sharing with us 132 excellent presets. Here’s a part of Rust(i)k bio: “RUST(I)K is currently working on several projects and remains a major part of some of house music’s greatest venues and artists over the last 20 years. He now is experimenting with a variety of musical styles and methods as the IOS music world grows by the day. In doing so, he routinely puts out preset or sample banks to various sites and several companies.” His full bio is available here. Rust(i)k’s excellent presets are freely available directly on Animoog.org: Rust(i)k presets.
Here’s two improvised Animoog solos, the one I just recorded named ‘San Andreas’ played with the ‘Lead PolyAnna’ preset, and the second one named ‘Going Rust(i)k’ I made with Rust(i)k’s ‘Lead Axe’ preset.
Here’s an improvised Animoog solo named ‘It’s ongoing’ I made with Subconscience’s ‘Lead-polymulti’ preset.
I added a new section to the page providing the table of Animoog expansion packs, here’s its content: Here’s what I need to know from you if you created great Animoog presets yourself and would like to share them with the community of Animoog players, please provide the following information:
Big thanks to Sound of Izrael, Subconscience, Rust(i)k and Steffen. Hope you’ll enjoy their presets as much as I do :-) Don’t hesitate to share this announcement with other Animoog players, the intention here is to ensure as many players as possible to benefit from those excellent presets! Cheers — Alex / Satri
I started to populate YouTube playlists with the intended benefit of providing an extensive list of videos to help us learn more about playing Animoog and increase our fun with it. The playlists I created and populated so far the the following ones:
Videos showcasing the use of Animoog along with other apps
If you found other videos that should be included in these playlists, let me know and I’ll be glad to add them! If you think we should maintain another complementary Playlist, let us know! :-)
Here’s what videos currently in those lists look like.
There has been a surge of Animoog tutorial videos when the app came out but few recent ones as far as I could find. That said, do not miss watching those ‘old’ videos! They have been instrumental to my understanding of how Animoog works and how to exploit its features in order to have even more fun playing it.
One of those examples is the following video, an amazing live Animoog performance by Argon Vancouver in which layers of Animoog are added one after the other, along with additions from other apps. In the long intro, Argon Vancouver provides the details to help you create your own Animoog tracks with such beats and loops.
Many Animoog musicians within the community are playing Animoog along with other instruments. In the following video we get two Animoog players playing together, along with a few other instruments, including Improvox, an app to sing in tune for those amongst us who aren’t Pavarottis.
Another example of Animoog’s flexibility is the following example in which Animoog is played from a MIDI Guitar along with the ToneStack app.
Animoog is great in itself, and you juxtapose it to other music creation apps, you can play wonderful things! Watching how others leverage Animoog clearly inspired me to try some new combinations myself. Here’s a nice example of Animoog and the moodscaper app, currently in beta. Developer Rob Jackson informed us that moodscaper is itself using heavily-processed Animoog timbres.
Think I should create a new and share a new Animoog playlist? Let me know about your suggestions :-) Don’t forget to watch the ones directly coming from Moog Music. One of such Animoog videos from Moog is the funny announcement of the ‘Biomimetically Augmented Synthesis Expansion’, also known as the ‘B.A.S.E.’ expansion pack, presented by Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater and iOS music app developer.
I plan to maintain these playlists up to date when new Animoog videos are posted online. If I miss any, let me know :-) I have to thank Animoog enthusiast Tiziano, who suggested me to pull together those playlists. You’ll hear again from Tiziano soon since I hope to update the list of third-party presets: there’s two new excellent free Animoog presets packs and he is one of the sound designers freely sharing his presets with the community of Animoog players. Cheers — Alex / Satri