Band app helps you take GarageBand on the road

Sep 1, 2009
Music

MooCowMusic’s tersely titled Band app may be the closest the iPhone gets to having Apple’s GarageBand on the go. The days of awkwardly whispering melodic phrases into your voicemail or personal tape recorder are now officially long gone. True, you can’t produce complex, multi-tracked songs with it, but it’s perfect for musicians of all levels […]

MooCowMusic’s tersely titled Band app may be the closest the iPhone gets to having Apple’s GarageBand on the go. The days of awkwardly whispering melodic phrases into your voicemail or personal tape recorder are now officially long gone.

True, you can’t produce complex, multi-tracked songs with it, but it’s perfect for musicians of all levels or even people with no musical inclinations. Band is a portable way to tinker around with and quickly record that sweet melody or rhythm that just popped into your head. 

The app has a lot of virtual instruments at its disposal. This includes two drum machines, including a version for more complex rhythms that couldn’t be created with a pair of human thumbs.  Other musical tools include a bass guitar, two octaves of a grand piano, and a robust 12-bar blues mode. Of course there is an audience as well. 

Band’s polyphony capacity means the only thing keeping you back from producing chords is your own ability to cradle the iPhone in new and unintended positions. The audience mode is more useful than the bass, which is far too quiet without headphones, and sounds somewhat ugly with them. The fun of the app and ability to overdub all instruments together make up for any shortcomings. 

A configurable metronome can draw in the more serious players, but this is more likely to be used for a quick jam session than fine-tuning your masterpiece.

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David Wolinsky

David Wolinsky is the Chicago city editor for The Onion's A.V. Club and is also the  undisputed 1994 Blockbuster store champion at collecting bananas in Donkey Kong Country.

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