music for apps: slicers & dicers - an eternal album

by dave stafford



SSDL1761 music for apps: slicers & dicers - an eternal album


glitch breaks - by alex matheu
samplr - by marcos alonso
sector - by kymatica
sliver - by alex matheu

release date: 20150517 label: pureambient

last updated: 20150527 current count of tracks: 5

this eternal album is more about the microscopic world of music, about the elements that make up a "wav" file - apps that depend on slicing, dicing, not to mention modulating, warping, reversing, stuttering, time-shifting, delaying, and much, much more - providing us with a veritable plethora of ways to chop up, and then reassemble, audio loops (provided by app vendors, or your own, in most cases) into some sometimes startling new forms.

even the names of the apps suggest this: sector, sliver, glitch breaks, samplr...but names aside, what these apps have in common is the ability to get right down into the DNA of a wav file, and bring it to life, re-invented, as a stuttering, reversing, flowing, wonderful beat - and that's another strange thing about this breed of app - you start with a loop, generally, but once you have re-arranged that loop, and are "playing it back" you really end up with a brand new sound world, where you can effect different tiny pieces of your loop with great effect, and in a surprisingly large number of different ways.

each of the apps approaches this task in a slightly different way, but the results are generally very appealing, like any good loop, it gets "stuck in your brain", but there is more than just that here, because it's the auditory "surprises" that keep me coming back - a reversed bar here, an amazing multiple stutter that then reverses, events that bounce into a delay, sounds that start out sounding quite normal, but within milliseconds, have warped through an incredible series of audio transformations - and it's all happening so fast, that you just have to take it for granted - this is happening!

I chose what is probably my personal favourite, sector, to start out with here; for the first five uploads, because sector is one of the most unique applications ever app that creates music in such an incredible way, and, it's enormously fun to use, too!

this self-described "stochastic sample slice sequencer" is beautifully designed, a truly gorgeous iPad application from one of my very favourite developers, Kymatica. Lead designer Jonathan Liljedahl is also the man behind "audioshare", surely the only music app as useful as "audiobus". but sector is a thing of beauty, a really well thought out, well designed application, and to my mind, it's one of the most flexible sequencers I've ever used, it's really easy to figure out, and you can have anywhere from one to 32 notes in your sequence, which is actually laid out as a set of brightly coloured circles - simple, effective, beautiful.

but sector is much, much more than a sequencer, it's an incredibly adaptable app, creativity is totally at the heart of its design, it's absolutely perfectly suited for live performance, allowing you to twist and turn and clip and alter and mutate and warp the beat, time shifting, stuttering and sometimes moving into the totally bizarre, some of the musical events that occur surprise me, even though it's me that has triggered them - surprised in a good way, though.

it's just one of those apps that as soon as you start a piece, you start smiling, because it's making an awesome sound, a great stuttering beast of a beat, and there are so many ways to manipulate the slices, it's just unreal.

the "fun", though,a is actually based on a some solid science: it uses a network of probability connections, to create an ever-changing chain of sound slices, which you can then apply warp shapes for glitches, stutters and modulations, meanwhile, your traditional step sequencer uses coin-flipping probability patterns, and there's a thing called a Markov-chain that decides which of the 32 sections of your loop will play next!

I don't pretend to understand most of that, but I don't need to in order to be able to get sector to create some remarkable music, and it's all done by re-ordering slices, warping the sound as you perform, and allowing probability and chance to play a part in your loop creation. you can use the supplied files or use your own (something I'm really dying to try out - just haven't had the chance yet...) loops, so the sky is the limit with this powerful and unique musical tool.

sector is a fantastic application, and I love working with it, during the mastering of the first five tracks, I plugged in my favourite guitar and jammed along to the beat, which says to me that it shouldn't be long before a sector track or any number of sliced or diced tracks created with any number of slicer apps - becomes the drum track for some improv / guitar music, perhaps in the style of Mr. Reeves Gabriel, as played on Bowie's "earthling" record... one of the best electronica albums ever, I love the drums on that record, and oddly enough, sector sometimes reminds me of the drumming on the songs from the "earthling" album.....

sector is a true rarity; an app that is both a serious, high-tech music making machine, and at the same time, is simply a huge amount of fun to play - a rare combination indeed.

as time progresses, we will be checking out a number of other great slicer / dicer apps, and I would imagine that there are more on the way from developers, too, that will do even more than the extremely capable apps we already have - from the irrepressible sector, to the very cool samplr, with it's beautifully coloured wav files - or when exploring the awesomely warped sonic worlds of alex matheu, with his twin threat slicer apps - he's the developer of both "sliver" and "glitch breaks" - and between the two, you can create just about any kind of warped beat you could ever imagine.

but then - these apps are all about the imagination...

and now to the music!

dave stafford
pureambient HQ
may 2015

upload history:

20150527 initial upload - 5 existing tracks

all tracks composed, arranged, engineered, recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by dave stafford for pureambient records.

all sounds by dave stafford.

technical note: approximately four seconds (or more) of silence has been added to the end of each recording, to allow for any running order that you, the customer, desires (since this is a completely user-configurable album); this added silence in no way affects the quality of the tunes.

it's also advised that this music be listened to through headphones to experience the full stereo effect - we feel that the tracks are best experienced via headphones; in stereo - if this isn't possible, then the best available stereo speakers will have to suffice.

finally - thank you for listening!


released May 17, 2015

dave stafford - various slicer & dicer ipad applications:

glitch breaks


all rights reserved



dave stafford Stirling, UK

ambient loop guitarist dave stafford performed on stage with robert fripp and the orchestra of crafty guitarists in early 2009, and again with robert fripp and the symphony of crafty guitarists in 2015, and has worked with ambient music and looping for over twenty years. stafford has a rich back catalogue of ambient and loop music, +rock, prog or acoustic crafty guitar music: ... more

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Track Name: slow glitch I
Track Name: slow glitch II
Track Name: slow glitch III
Track Name: slow glitch IV
Track Name: slow glitch V

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