As a precursor to my Final Year College project I’m currently researching App Development on the Android platform. I’m interested in melding the Processing visual library with Pure Data’s audio library and to use Android’s SDK to provide the glue and also to access the SDK’s extensive code base. This appeals to me because all these platforms are Open Source and can be freely distributed anywhere. The Android platform is growing at an exponential rate. At this point in time nearly 1 Billion Android Devices have been activated with 50 billion Play Store downloads
Apps that I’ve come across that utilise these libraries are still relatively few in number but are increasing all the time. One such development house that uses both these libraries is the Binaura art collective based in Hungary. They’ve developed 3 apps that use both Processing and libpd they are Soundbow, Flux and rOtal. They also have also a fourth app that utilizes Openframeworks and libpd called Spheretones. Grab them from the Play Store here.
Soundbow uses an interface drawn in Processing. You can create music by drawing curves to the screen. It has 8 bars that are used as strings that can be moved anywhere. Your gesture will be remember and played back continuously. Each time your ever looping gesture crosses a string a sound is produced thereby generating sound from a Pure Data patch.
Another such app developed by the same company is Flux. Its an ever-changing digital sound sculpture. Draw a simple gesture that defines the overall shape and structure of the evolving composition. The sound synthesis is structured as a flux of material similar to a waterfall, the initial white noise serves as the source for all sounds. Its then filtered through several layers, flowing and travelling through filtered paths and probabilities to reach their destination through the speakers. The visual field is mapped to the sonic structure: filter values, probability intervals and logical decisions are controlling the minimal, pulsating environment thus creating a contemplative, synesthetic experience. The interface for this App is pretty amazing and visually stunning and its definitely gonna prove an inspiration for my own designs.
Another interesting App from TwoBigEars is Circle Synth. Its a grid-less sequencer synthesizer that makes quirky musical sounds. Draw shapes, choose presets and apply effects. Its a simple idea but executed perfectly on this platform. The interface is simple clean and effective. The Accelerometer controlled Filter Sweep is a nice addition and adds another way to interact beyond the usual touch gestures and is something that can be explored further in my own designs.
Pulsate is a simple app which allows you to create musical patterns from randomly colliding circles. The sound engine is Pd and it sounds powerful on the higher end devices. The circle collision points provide the data Pd needs to generate sound. Of particular interest to me is the the way the menu drops down over the collision area and is semi transparent. The app provides controls of reverb, delay, bpm and Synthesis wave type, shape, and slope.