Music production is gradually becoming more and more accessible and is now much more affordable than ever before. In years gone by top quality records could only be created with a huge amount of technical knowhow and financial backing in fancy recording studios. Now it's pretty commonplace to have people making music on their computer in their bedroom and going on to become international recording artists; probably thanks to their clever use of a cat meme to draw in people's attention to their hidden masterpieces.
Rytmik Ultimate is one of a few electronic music production apps that have started to creep their way into the industry. The idea is simple - you can open this one app and instantly have access to hundreds of samples to edit and arrange however you like, instantly creating electronic music with a few taps of your stylus and a dose of creativity. You can see the appeal – these apps are a lot cheaper than professional set ups, can be used on the go and can help the least musically minded create something great. So should budding music artists get on board?
The software contains over 750 samples that can be pitch shifted, put through delay effects and so much more including ADSR envelopes – completely transforming how the sample you're editing starts, ends and sustains. A lot of these samples are either chiptune or EDM based sounds, and whilst other samples do also feature it feels like these styles are what the app is best at, and ultimately what you'll likely want to create.
The process of creating a song can be a little tricky at first but starts to make sense after a while. Your project can contain up to 192 'clips' that are arranged into various colours and initials to help keep them separate from one another. Clips are essentially a bar of music that can include four different sounds that you've edited to sound how you like. You can insert your chosen sounds at any point in this bar and edit the volume and pitch of each individual note; once you have a completed bar you save this as a clip and add it to your bank of sounds to draw from. Back on the main song editing screen you can drag and drop your clips on to the main song's timeline with up to four clips playing at a single time. It's a very creative process; to write full length songs you'll likely be using an awful lot of clips with various edited samples in each.
If this is your first experience using music software of any kind there are also preset samples that you can use from the top of the main screen to make the process a little easier. Simply drag and drop these sounds into your song's timeline, instead of customised clips, and you can very quickly make music, just not as detailed and complex as when using your own sounds. Sounds available for use are split into different banks such as drum loops, bass sequences, fx and synth leads.
Rytmik Ultimate features the use of the 'Rytmik Cloud' – an online storage space where users can upload their songs for others to listen to. Songs can be given genre-like categories and other information such as the duration is displayed next to each song, meaning you can choose to sit and listen to tracks that take your fancy. Listening to others' pieces and letting them listen to yours can be a great way to improve yourself for your next musical attempt. Having this system in place and easily accessible from the main screen of the app is a very welcome idea.
Another truly wonderful addition to this entry is the ability to export your songs as .wav files, meaning you can take them from your 3DS and add them to your own music collection on your computer. This is something that fans of the previous versions have been asking for so it's great to see it added this time around. What you do from there with your creations is up to you – you could create your own album of video game music covers, or create a way too loud, hard-hitting dubstep playlist of your own creations to be played at your next house party. (You're welcome, parents).
Despite the software being truly jam-packed with features – genuinely useful features too – it has to be said that the interface can be incredibly confusing at first, even for experienced music producers, and potentially intimidating for those who are stepping into electronic music for the first time. The included electronic manual will come in handy for getting to grips with a lot of the functions and getting used to how songs are created, but some things are best tackled with a trial and error approach. The entire application runs on only two separate screens which, whilst handy once you're experienced, means that at first you'll be looking at a screen full of tiny buttons that for all you know could blow something up – or in most cases, seemingly do nothing at all.
Rytmik Ultimate offers a very powerful interface for electronic music composition, combining a generous amount of samples with a refreshingly useful collection of editing tools to good effect. The intimidating nature of the screen layout and slightly strange methods used for completing your songs means that this probably isn't the best bet for someone who is hoping to try out electronic music composition for the first time.
Despite the limitations of an app like this compared to a full, industry standard computer package, Rytmik Ultimate is a great way for music producers who are always on the go to be working on new material; the inclusion of .wav exports also means that your work can be fully functional in a wide variety of different software. It's a title worth picking up if you fall into this category.