Audiobus: Use your music apps together.

What is Audiobus?Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.

Download on the App Store

Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.

Where to go from here?

So a lot of you have seen my growth as a musician over the course of the past couple of years, but in case you need to catch up, here's a brief summary. From Spring of 2020 to January 2022, I have went from producing EDM to Minimalism to Ambient, from using NS2 to Drambo 1.xx to Gadget 2. Then I became stuck in a bad writer's block, unsure of where to go next.

A couple of months ago, I saw the OP-1 Field and found myself lusting after it with a bad case of GAS. 😂 Thus started my era of live-producing Ambient (rather than laying it out and programming it). I've tried Koala Sampler, then AUM, then Loopy Pro, then AUM again. Somewhere in there I attempted to learn MiRack to make generative music and failed spectacularly when the drone I churned out was 15 minutes of boring shite. 😅 (I certainly don't sugarcoat it.)

Lately I find myself stuck in a pattern of using Gauss in every single project I make. I can't help but love the "commit it to tape" workflow aspect of it, and I enjoy the sounds I create within AUM and Gauss. I'm even getting into some generative aspects of Experimental music and Ambient. But I feel I've hit a wall as far as growth and progress are concerned. I'm not unhappy with what I make, quite the opposite. I just want to know what else is out there.

So what am I looking to do? More Ambient and Experimental music of course. Or maybe to dive into Musique Concrete and Found Sounds. So here are some things I currently wish to know.

  1. How did Brian Eno create "Thursday Afternoon"? I'm going to give this article a read tomorrow over breakfast. Maybe that'll answer it.

  2. How does one create those massive 1-hour-long orgasmic pieces of generative music without it becoming boring or repetative? I know damn well Wotja is capable of such things since it's an evolution of software Brian Eno used. However, can Drambo create complex generative music that can go on for hours without becoming boring?

  3. What other methods could I employ in my creation of live Ambient that I haven't tried yet?

One of my goals is to create a complex installation piece that can captivate a listener for hours on end using standard parameters as well as inventive parameters. Such as "okay, this 30-minute loop will play from 6am to 12pm and will have a 4-minute fade-in to gradually introduce it". Etc. And to find a venue that will put up with such an installation.

Another goal is to go down the David Lynch rabbit hole even further than I've already gone. To create more of those dark, forboding soundscapes that captivate a listener.

And a side goal is to create Musique Concrete like Pierre Schaeffer and Stockhausen.

Maybe there are a couple of goals I've yet to consider. I don't know. :) As the thread title suggests, where do I go from here? Cheers mates. Looking forward to some good conversation.


  • edited July 5

    Well, it’s a moot point whether you should be taking advice from me, guess it depends on how musical or otherwise you find my own noises, (!), but fwiw I know the long-form things I like listening to (and yes, I even listen to my own stuff :) ) tend to feature veeeeeeery slow evolutions of textural elements over solid repeating elements your brain can get entrained by, disrupted at random moments by interesting short spikes of the unexpected, all locked to a single scale to keep things honest. It is a long way from the well -formed verse/chorus/ middle 8 pop song, which I frankly lack the skills to even attempt, but has it’s own instinctive structuring I think: in conception if not execution more Rothko than Rembrandt :)

    Hainbach has addressed just this point in one of his Q&As btw (can’t find which one, sorry) where it’s all about thinking of it as layers and blocks of tension and release between distinctive elements which occupy different sonic spaces in the piece.

    In the current ongoing absence of automation in AUM my own go-to for this is Art Kern’s MIDILFOs on fader and switch automation, (fave waveform: random :)) augmented most recently by LFOH, which can do the same thing directly to audio streams, and some live-recording build up and tear down fader riding as the piece is playing out into AudioShare.

    The tl:dr version is I find each new thing I attempt a struggle between coherence and chaos, and I find my own sweet spot by leaning into the chaos, and the happy accidents that result.

  • Don’t think that you’ve hit a wall // if you continue to create, a path is formed // don’t overthink any barrier // evolve is each minute that you creAte // utilize silence and scrambled words to engage // each emotion should soak into the sonic offerings

  • edited July 5

    Lovely, @iOSTRAKON ! That reads like a translation from some ancient scroll of wisdom :)

    Eno invented a tool for precisely such moments, here is a knock off version:

  • It doesn’t hurt to listen to music that others make to get the juices flowing :smile:

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  • edited July 5

    @IAMANAI said:
    The answer you seek can not be gained externally. It should come from within. Gather your own data. Learn. Make your own decisions.

    So very much this. It’s what the “greats” do and have done. It’s imperative you do the same. As in, not do the same, content-wise at least.

  • Potentially a huge subject, so I’ll try to just add a few (somewhat random) thoughts.

    • There are lots of arguments about “ambient”, but bear in mind that Eno intended to make music that was as easy to ignore as it was to listen to. How boring or repetitive it is somewhat depends on the listener and how much attention they are giving it.
    • I’m also reminded for some reason of Robert Fripp saying that he reserved the right to be as bored as the audience!
    • Phasing (eg using different length loops/modulations that shift against each other) and/or randomness/chaos (from true random to probability) seem to be key elements. A constant shifting of the two will create continuously changing juxtapositions. How long things go before repetition sets in or the textures become boring is dependent on the piece, and the aforementioned level of attention.
    • If you’re feeling blocked, try just playing with stuff (I mean playing as with toys rather than playing an instrument, though both might help). Rather than accrete more apps etc try using the stuff you have in new ways, or dig out things you’ve not used in a long time and see how you might use them now. But don’t turn it into a chore, or feel there has to be any outcome in terms of finished work. Just have fun!
    • In a similar vein, try to maintain a “beginner’s mind”, don’t pressure yourself to “master” everything, just play with it and enjoy the discovery and happy accidents.
    • Modular is really useful for this kind of thing due to the modulation possibilities (sorry if I’m like a stuck record on this!), but isn’t the only game in town by a long chalk. Maybe when you’re feeling adventurous again, take a second look at MiRack, and rather than trying to make a voice from scratch use one of the more complete voices, eg Plaits, which has a lot of depth, and concentrate more on the sequencing/pitch generation and modulation rather than the basic synthesis side of things. Multiple instances of Plaits with complex modulation has a lot of possibilities, without getting too much into unfamiliar territory and overloading yourself. Quantisers can be a real help if you’re generating random/chaotic voltages, and BPM LFO is great for modulating different audio streams, as you can set really slow clock divisions with odd numbers that will phase against each other. Or modulate one LFO with another (or a sequence) to make complex modulation sources.
    • One thing I’ve found pushes my creativity a lot is making a piece with just one sound source (usually a sample), like the recent challenge on the forum using the Greenwich time signal pips. Process/pitch shift/mangle/whatever.
    • There’s nothing wrong with using Gauss. A lot!
  • My addition to all the good hints so far:
    Some addition to the spectrum of sources may apply... atm yours seems very limited.
    Which is natural, if those sources all share a common source (simplified).

    One of the reasons I still regard SamplR a top app is it‘s unique sound print. It‘s not even a great engine in technical terms, but it‘s voicing is cutting through.

    A few examples (according to my own subjective estimation of „unique“) are Synclavier Go, DRC, iVCS, Apefilter, Sparkle, Nave, Shockwave, Stroke Machine.
    But the main point is listen to what your ears tell you about a device’s sound and what makes this sound particular.

    All the examples are fairly straight designs. Some can do complex things or be a bit twiddly, but the general principle is simple.
    My personal bottomline from Modular: the more options, the more complex the design of the patch... the sooner you reach white noise land... o:)
    In your recent Butter Synth example you were approaching that area ;)

    Things may „clear up“ greatly if sources from outside IOS (instruments, samples) are added or if IOS sounds are processed by external gear (may spoil the setup, cause expenses).
    A reverb has a huge impact on sound, no matter what „quality“ or price it may have.
    An external reverb (quality VST or hardware) modifies sound in a different way because it doesn’t share the same audio software heritage (again simplified).

    This is (of course) not intended as a set of rules, but just food for thought...

  • In addition to all the other thought-provoking examples John Cage went to great lengths to break free from customary avenues in his compositions, using chance operations involving the I Ching amongst others:

  • @Svetlovska

    I absolutely love slow evolutions of textural moments. :) I have MIDILfos and LFOH. I also have Flux Pro as well. I should play with these apps more and see just how slow they can go. :lol:

    About the Hainbach Q&A, I'll have to see which of his videos I haven't watched yet. I know I've been on a binge, because the man is one of the most interesting and prolific modern composers of our era as well as a wonderful human being. But using layers and blocks of tension and release is something I haven't considered employing in my train of thought.

    And any advice from you mate is good advice, just like all the advice from everyone here who have come to help me. You are all amazing.

    The whole well-framed verse/chorus/middle 8 pop song is just a bit overdone. I'm pretty decent at making those, but I just find no joy in being constrained to a certain song form. Maybe this is what I'm doing to myself and why I feel I'm stuck in a rut. I need to break out even further than what I've already been trying, and embrace the chaos far more than the coherent.

    OMG, I've been looking for that set of cards everywhere! I completely forgot what it was called! I also didn't know Brian Eno created those (I'm so thick, lol). Strategies that provoke thought and stimulate creativity. I've downloaded the app. Hopefully these expand my creativity to some extent.


    I love what you wrote. These are great nuggets of wisdom. The one that hit home the most for me is "don't overthink any barrier". I admit, I tend to be an overthinker in many aspects of my life. Sometimes I just need to turn my brain off from overthinking and be in the moment.

    If I didn't hit a wall, that's excellent news to me. Cheers mate. :)


    I've been listening to the beautiful "Music for Tuning Forks" as I type this. It's gorgeous! It actually gives me an idea for breaking up notes into their own separate tape loops (all looping at different time intervals) in Gauss rather than looping one melodic phrase.

    If you have any other good choices for listening, let me know. :) I'm going to look further into Warren Burt's music meanwhile to see what else he made. :)

    @IAMANAI @emjay

    Absolutely true. :) I've been doing just that, but sometimes when I feel I've hit a wall, I just need a "kick in the arse" to get me going again. Which is why I made this thread. Good advice mates. :)


    I'll reply to each thought. :)

    • In other words, music is subjective. I often tend to forget this. Eno did explain Ambient Music in the best way. I'm still listening to "Music for Tuning Forks" that Identor linked me to, and I've been in and out of paying attention.

    • Robert Fripp's saying is a little funny but also a revelation. "I reserve the right to be as bored as the audience." See, I don't want to become boring and predictable, but Fripp is basically saying "who gives a shit who's bored". If that line of thought works for him, I definitely need to rethink some things myself without overthinking things.

    • "Just have fun!" I definitely have been having fun since I saw the OP-1 Field in action and have adopted a more limited workflow. Maybe I just feel like I've been churning out the same stuff the past month. I think listening to music I haven't heard before will help open up my mind to possibilities I haven't thought about before. Listening to "Music for Tuning Forks" has given me some new ideas for how I can use Gauss in ways I hadn't considered before.

    • "Maintain a beginner's mind" is great advice. :) I think that's where I got a lot of the joy of creation from back in May and throughout June.

    • I may one day return to MiRack, and if I do, I'll definitely keep what you wrote here in mind to see what I can come up with. Meanwhile, I have LFOH, MIDILfos, and Flux Pro I can muck about with in AUM. And I can try Drambo again as well as dive into Wotja.

    • A one-sample challenge? I think I'm up for that. :) Easy to do with Freesound since there is always a random sample of the day. And if I'm not satisfied with that sample, I can just search for whatever I want.

    • TRUE! One of our mates did challenge me to try to use convolution reverb as a drone instead of Gauss and PaulXStretch, and I tried, and I caused myself to fall into this block from overthinking. :lol: And I absolutely love Gauss and PaulXStretch!

    I did read the article about how Eno crafted "Thursday Afternoon" using a reverb freeze function. I think I will give that a go as well regarding crafting a drone. Or I will use Alteza only on the drone element and use a different reverb for a melodic element. To switch it up and break out of the rut.


    I read through your reply three times, and I'll definitely check these apps out! Also, very good food for thought. :)

    And yeah, it did seem I was approaching "white noise land" there, lol. I think what I need to do is dial it back a bit and try something different with Gauss. Like I said above, maybe use Alteza only on one element, like the drone, and maybe Stratosphere Reverb on a melodic element, rather than have it all mush together under a universal reverb. I own an M1 Pro, so I should be able to use more CPU-hungry AUv3s no sweat.


    So that's how Oblique Strategies came to be. It was directly inspired by Cage's use of the I Ching. That's actually very inspiring! I wonder if I can come up with my own strategies to provoke my own thoughts. 🤔

    Thanks all. :)

  • Many useful recommendations here already. I'll just add that what you're looking for is perhaps not specific things like apps or techniques, but more artistic approaches or inspiration - sort of broadening your horizon a bit. You spoke of Pierre Schaeffer and Stockhausen. Have you read about them in more detailed ways? Read on history and artistic approaches more than mere techniques. Read about Xenakis, not on how he wrote his composition software but more on how he thought of the structure of his music. Listen to Varese' Déserts, spectral work of Tristan Murail, or early electronic works of Milton Babbitt. Not to sound like them or even to like those work, but to see how they thought, what (aesthetic) problems they had, and how they solved them. Buy a translated version of I-Ching—someone mentioned the book already. Read it and experiment on it - randomness is a very powerful thing :-) You also mentioned that you're bored with a formulaic system of pop songs, and I sympathized with that. But think also of the fact that, despite the formula, which helps everyone and their uncle to be able to write a pop song, surprisingly why is there a lack of good pop songs? Why doesn't everyone create a damn good 3-minute pop song? Think of these in an artistic way, it might help you to see your paths. I mentioned these obvious things because you're looking for an artistic revelation, and that is the thing that only you can find for yourself.

  • @jwmmakerofmusic
    I often use AUM as a tapemachine. Just add an audiofile as a channel input, and set it to loop, just like a tapeloop. That way you can set up several channels with different lenght “tapes”. It very basic, but fun to experiment with. Last week i played around with the TNMOC samples (the link i gave you) to set it to loop and add several effects to it, to see what comes out.

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