Band is a collection of four “virtual” instruments and a couple preset instruments that allow you to create some awesome tunes to rock out to. (Or, to at least try to make awesome tunes that you can rock out to). You record the instruments one at a time, and then overdub a new instrument over the one you’ve already laid out. Then you adjust the volumes of each instrument in the final track. Presto. You can save your masterpieces for future playback in the app.
- Instruments At Your Disposal
Your first option is a drum kit consisting of 12 samples, (snare, kick, splash, etc). Not too shabby. If you can’t keep a beat to save your life, or if you just don’t feel like creating your own drumbeats, you can select from a set of eight drum loops. (The tempo is fixed though, so if you’re hoping to be able to change that up- sorry- it ain’t happenin.’
The bass instrument has five frets, unfortunately it’s locked on those five frets. That severely limits the sound you can hope to create. The 2-octave piano is equally frustrating in that regard, because I’d really like much higher and lower octaves- but these two are more in the middle. But, at least they included two octaves, so you can have some variety there.
There’s a funky 12-bar blues machine dealio that will make you sound a lot better than you really are. There are 14 solo guitar notes, (four of which you can bend), an intro, three fills, three rhythm chords and another drumbeat. For the egomaniacs, they’ve included a page to record crowd applause. I guess that’s for the “live” experience. Cute, but kinda dumb. I guess I’m just disappointed that no one shouts “Freebird!”
If you’re having trouble keeping rhythm, you can turn on a metronome to help you out. The playback volume and tempo are adjustable. You also have the option of choosing between one and six beats per bar.
Once you’ve got your instruments recorded, you can go to the mixer and adjust the volume and pan of each instrument. (Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the extent of the mixing you can do) Think your drums are drowning out your guitar? Turn those puppies down! Does your song need more cowbell? Uh- actually, they didn’t include one. Bummer. I gotta have more cowbell!
I’m not a musician. Not at all. (But I can play the Tetris theme on the gee-tar.) However, I still enjoyed playing with this. I was able to create some drumbeats upon which I could lay the other instruments over to create my “songs.” It’s fun to mess around with. (But once I started layering instrument tracks, my song turned to crap.) Like I said, I’m not a musician so I couldn’t take this app too seriously. I’m sure a musician would probably be a little more critical of this app, since you’re very limited in what you’re able to do. But I was able to make some nice sounds without having to do much work. So that’s always cool. I’m just not sure how long the fun will last after the novelty wears off. (See most of the apps on my iPhone.)
I’m not a fan of the bass. I couldn’t make a single pleasant sound from it. Maybe that’s because I don’t know how to play the bass. But you’d think with enough messing around I could make something that resembled music. Sadly… no… I couldn’t. I could pick up a real bass and at least make something respectful. I know, I’ve done it! But… not with this app. No sir.
I didn’t like the mixing process. I’d like a setup more like Pro Tools or GarageBand. I’d like to be able to start a drumbeat, then loop it for the duration of the song. I’d like to be able to move the tracks around, fade them in and out where they should be coming in or cut them at points, have them start later or end sooner – I don’t have nearly the control I’d like.
There’s no way to transfer the songs off your iPhone. Assuming one day I created something I was crazy proud of, maybe I’d like to share my creation. Maybe I’d like to add it to my iTunes. Or… or maybe I’d like to throw it on the next mixtape I give to a hotshot record producer who works at one of the “real” labels, man – not one of those fly-by-night indy companies. Not an option. Denied. The dream dies here, my friends.
I can’t call this a bad app, but I can’t call it a good app either. It’s mildly amusing, I’ll give it that. Look, if you’re a professional musician, you could do a lot better. (And why in the hell are you trying to make music on your phone? Use real instruments!!) If you’re like me, no real musical talent, but you like messing around with them when you get the chance, you’ll have fun, but you’re not going to change the world with anything you can do on here. It’s too limited to be worth investing much of your time. Maybe these problems will be addressed with an update or two. But if you’ve got four bucks that’s burning a hole in your pocket- you could do a lot worse. At least here you get a variety of instruments that sound pretty decent.