Reactable Mobile Review
App: Reactable Mobile
Developer: Reactable Systems SL
Reactable Mobile Review
Reactable is a modular and experimental take on a loop sequencer with some interesting sampling and synthesis capabilities.
At the centre of Reactable lies a pulsating orb. An orb that represents time in your composition and it pulses away continuously, keeping time whilst you create music in this quirky and original music creation app.
Making music in this app feels more like playing and exploring than in any other music creation app I’ve used. – It never feels like serious composition and production for me when I use this app but I’m not sure the developers intended it to be anything but fun and experimental. It’s simply an exploration into your musical ideas and concepts, approached from a new and refreshing direction.
With some initial patience and some experimenting, you’re sure to generate useable and original material for any style of music you’re producing. You may get lost on the way, but you’ll end up somewhere that sounds great!
The theme on which Reactable is built is one of placing objects with various musical properties onto a table and combining them with other objects in innovative ways to affect how they behave and play back.
There are various modulation source objects which are always displayed as black and white in the pop-up menu as well as the core sound generating objects. For each table, these objects consist of 2 sample players, 2 synth oscillators, 4 loop players and an audio input which can use the iPad / iPhone mic or and external mic using an interface.
Initially, these sound objects don’t sound great when played-back raw, you need to experiment with combinations of sounds and modulation carriers to take your track to new and interesting aural places, therein lies the fun and the beauty of this music app.
After dropping in a simple oscillator your presented with a number of options to sculpt the playback and tone of the sound, such s: a waveform drawing pad, a sequencer object to create a rhythmic loop, filter, waveshaper and delay objects to name a few!
There are a lot of options and it’s the signal flow, dictated by the order you decide to chain the objects in, that starts to make things interesting! This is what truly starts to turn your sine wave or 4/4 drum loop into a complex piece of music.
This live signal-flow, rerouting stuff makes Reactable a powerful tool for live performances and gives a lovely sense of organic variety to working on your music productions. You quickly get to the stage where, for any instance you’ve created of a modulation object, there are 3 or more other options for choosing what to modulate and experimenting with this is easy and fun.
It’s worth mentioning that objects auto-connect to their sources, (rather than have the user manually connect each), – handy not only for ease and speed of use, but it adds greatly to the sensation of playing and experimenting that sits at the heart of this music app. – You really do feel like you’re poking around in a box of musical toys and gadgets!
Another great feature of Reactable is its thriving community, which can be accessed from within the app. This is a much overlooked feature in the vast majority of music production apps and is a really nice touch, especially within an app like this where playing and sharing within the confines of the app can be an expressive art form in itself.
The community essentially allows artists to publish and share their tables and download others tables within the app and experiment with or remix the table you download. This is great fun and adds a social-network sort of feel to the app.
Reactable is the kind of app you can get lost in for hours. You’ll find your music organically morphing and evolving over time and, youre likely to create some great riffs and loops along the way, but remember to record the output as you may be having so much fun that you won’t care!
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