Relative to actual human problems and the delicate equilibrium of the mortal coil, waking up one morning and learning that the software synthesizer you’ve made the biggest investment in over the years is no longer available, no longer being developed, and has come to be a casualty of its developer’s own unknown game plan, doesn’t count as a problem. Ben Gillett shuttered CamelAudio without notice last week.
He and his team developed plug-ins, and, CamelAudio released in the fall 2011 an IOS version of their flagship desktop synthesizer Alchemy. The IOS app was a boon to my own direction. Two and half years would lapse before I started using the iPad to control the desktop Alchemy. This provided another wave of inspiration. Alchemy is a unique combination of a sample-based resynthesizer connected to a very array of deep modulation concepts.
CamelAudio disappears, so my immediate problem-solving has to do with how to secure Alchemy remaining a central music-making tool on the laptop, and, on the iPad. The unknown future prospect is that the legacy installs will become broken by future updates. Luckily, both my four year old MacBookPro and three year old iPad 3rd Gen. can be dedicated to their legacy set-ups. This enables me to protect Alchemy and use it far into the future.
As for Camel Audio and Ben Gillett, I hope the sudden closing reflects the transfer of their intellectual property into hands that will honor CA’s innovative software by using it as the basis for amazing new capabilities and software. Amidst all the hand ringing and passive aggression which flavored the music making community’s response to the news, I dropped my own best wish: that Apple turns out to have been the purchaser, and uses Alchemy to burnish Logic X’s capabilities, and, deploys something like Alchemy as a flagship audio app fit to the large screen real estate anticipated to be the main point of the upcoming iPad Pro. It is even within the realm of possibility that Logic X will come to the iPad were ARM CPU’s to come to Apple laptops.
“Yippee” intoned softly, (almost as an aside.) Other than the disappointing elimination of the bridge to 32bit audio unit plug-ins, the surprise release of Logic Pro X, replacing Logic Pro 9, is inspiring. But, I’m a Logic fan boy because even the long-in-the-tooth version has great work flow.
Years ago there was an audio application for PowerPC where you could plug in modules and trigger underlying samples with your keyboard. I think it was called Groovemaker. Then in 2001 Ableton released their first version of Live. There the basic concept was also built around triggering samples but you could organize groups of samples and build something like a time line. My Apple PC at the time, early 1998, was a PowerPC (750) G3 and it featured a 233ghz processor, soon enough, 46mb of RAM. In Khorasan was produced in between 2000 and 2001 using this system, running CuBase.
Scroll ahead ten years and consider the iPad as a platform for music making or sound design. 1 ghz processor, 256 mb system-dedicated RAM, IOS4 on chip, and up to 64gigs storage. The iPAD is roughly 4 times more powerful than the G3 that was the first brand new Mac I ever bought. The iPAD, 12 years later, poses an entry cost a third of that of the G3. The cool thing from my personal perspective is how an iPAD might offer up new capabilities for my sound designer’s toolkit. As it is, I’m waiting for the second iteration of the iPAD due this year, and would justify it just to be able read pdf journal articles before turning out the light every night. That I could plug a guitar into it seemed unreal, but not anymore. I’ve started to keep an eye on so-called IOS4 audio app landscape.
This video reminded a lot of the Groovemaker software from the olden days.