Noteplex by mode of expression LLC is a new music creation app for the iPad that employs a unique visual method of composition. You can use multi-sampled instruments and beats along with your own samples to create songs that evolve through a series of chain reactions. It was recently named “New and Noteworthy” by Apple.
With Noteplex you use nodes and pulses to create “plexes.” Nodes are like notes that you lay out in your plex that have a specific tone, instrument, pulse reflect and repeat count associated with them. After you get the nodes laid out the way that you want, you start the plex, and the pulses make the nodes make sound. If a node is a multi-pulse reflect, it will send out more pulses that can also sound more nodes. The result is a chain reaction that can make surprisingly beautiful noises.
This unconventional app is difficult to explain with just words, so make sure and catch my own quick plex “8am1am” below, but you can sort of imagine it as a large set of dominoes. One stream of falling dominoes can split out into multiple streams which can branch out further. Except with Noteplex, the dominoes reset themselves every time they fall and certain ones make specific sounds when hit.
Like I said, easier watched than written.
My first impression was that this is a Beatwave clone. That was before I started downloading some of the plexes that other users had uploaded. It was then that I realized how powerful and non-linear Noteplex really is. With it you can make much more than just loops that repeat over and over. Sure, it takes a little more time to get it just how you want it, but the options are limitless, and it might extract creativity within you that you never knew you had.
But, audio is only one side of this curious, music-creation machine. The other is visual and watching a good plex almost makes you rethink how music really works. The nodes dance with the beat and the pulses crawl around the screen like orphaned skittles. You can pinch to zoom while creating your plex or even while it is playing. The option to upload and download plexes from other users isn’t just a hollow feature slapped on for good measure. Like my experience, seeing other plexes, especially the top rated ones, can really spur creativity and teach you faster than your own trial and error. You can also save your own plexes locally for future use.
Noteplex is one of the most unique and revolutionary music creation apps I have used, and should be placed among the vaunted ranks of titles like Magic Fiddle and Seline HD. The visual composition method is fun and powerful; it can make songs that look as good as they sound. For the current price of $1.99, Noteplex is a must buy not only for musicians, but music lovers as well.