25 November 2016


    App: Noise

    With the Noise app and an iPhone or iPad you have everything you need to start making music on the go.

    With the Noise app and an iPhone or iPad you have everything you need to start making music on the go.

    There are all sorts of mobile apps out there for the budding musician, from those that teach you how to play real instruments like Yousician, to those that allow you to record your ideas like Music Memos. Noise sits somewhere in the middle. Think of it as a digital colour palette for creating musical paintings on the fly.

    Open the app and you can either create an account (which will let you save your projects or share them with other Noise users through the noise.fm site) or skip that and get straight down to the music making.

    Choose your instrument

    You’ll be presented with a grid of coloured blocks with a title above it like 'Hip Hop Groove Kit' or 'Trap Drum Kit'. Tap the left and right arrows above the blocks to cycle through different sound collections, and tap the coloured blocks to generate sounds.

    Each coloured pad corresponds to a different instrument or a single note in a scale. But, what’s really, really smart about Noise’s interface is that different gestures create different sounds. You can drum on the screen with your fingers, slide them around it, long-press or lift off a pad to make a sound.

    Along the top of the screen you’ll find four buttons. The first two let you record, play or pause your sonic creation, while the far right-hand button lets you go back a step if you want to undo something. It’s the third button that’s our favourite, though, and the most important one to know about going in. It’s called 'Learn' and has a mortar board for an icon.

    Hitting the learn button on any of the instrument or sound collection screens starts a tutorial where you’re prompted to follow on-screen animations to learn how each collection of sounds works. It’s an incredibly intuitive way to get to grips with what Noise is capable of, and to learn what works best with each collection of sounds.

    Even more noise

    The library of sounds on offer is huge, particularly when combined with the variety of ways you can make each sing. And thanks to the record function, there’s plenty of room for experimentation.

    If you really get into Noise there’s also a hardware component you can order from maker Roli’s website called 'Blocks'. These are physical devices that look like the coloured pads of the app and connect wireless to your phone or tablet. For most users, the app will be more than enough, but it’s testament to how seriously Roli takes its product.

    Feature’s like 'Hide Mode' keep the notes that aren’t in key greyed out, and 'Snap Mode' makes sure you stay in time, which is great if you’re just starting out.

    With Noise making beats or melodies and looping them into complex, multi-layered songs isn’t just easy, it’s incredibly fun. And because the interface is so easy to navigate, it’s a wonderful introduction to music making if the last time you touched a musical instrument was an ill-fated attempt at the recorder or triangle in primary school.

    Get Noise


    Download it for iOS.

    Note: While the app is free to purchase in the app store, you will need data to download and use the app. You can buy data bundles quickly and easily by downloading the My Vodacom App »