Using iOS GarageBand Live Loops

Recorded on May 25th, 2016

screenshot of iOS GarageBand

I’m continually astounded by the power of our phones. I’d been looking for sampler software, live looping apps, anything to record a bunch of snippets from the Mother-32 and layer and play with them in real time. I didn’t find anything free I liked for the Mac, and figured our iPad was too old to run anything good. And then I realized my phone had already downloaded the recent version of GarageBand (the one that introduced Live Loops). The Lifehacker Beginner’s Guide to Making Music with GarageBand Live Loops was immensely helpful in getting up to speed.

I have no audio interface for the iPhone, but you can easily record sounds in Audacity or whatever audio app you like on a MacBook and then export them to iCloud Drive. iOS GarageBand can import those custom sounds all day long and you can turn them into one-shot sounds or loops. The genius of the Live Loops grid lets you stack a bunch of sounds that complement each other, but then you have the power to trigger any of them whenever you like.

After I recorded five tracks of bleeps and bloops I liked from the Moog, I sent those over to the phone and started playing with combinations of them in GarageBand. This is the kind of stuff that early electronic music composers would have killed for. And it’s in our pockets! (Aside from the crazy modular equipment that acts as the sound source.)

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