Brazilian Drum Machine was recently released for iPad and iPhone. This universal app comes from Luis Martinez, the developer behind the excellent Rock Drum Machine 2 (which I reviewed here), and Afro Latin Drum Machine 2.
If you're familiar with the developers other apps, you'll feel right at home with Brazilian Drum Machine. Using the same interface layout, BDM (as I'll be abbreviating it for the rest of the review) is one of the most intuitive percussion apps around. Dominating the screen are the "Bank", "Rhythm", and "Sounds" wheels, which contain the available preset rhythms. Start scrolling through the banks, and the rhythm and sounds will scroll, depending on what you've selected. Of course, feel free to switch these up to your liking.
If you only used the presets included here (which number over 100), you'd likey be pleased with the results. These all sound real good, and have a great variety of dance styles. But I imagine you'll want to do some customizing. From the "Edit" screen, you can change up the pattern of the six instruments used. These instruments all change based on the sound set you are choosing. Laid out in a 16 step sequencer, simply tap to add or remove beats. Tapping multiple times on a step with alter either the velocity, or sometimes add different variations.
The Patterns page lets you further customize the patterns by way of a six-dial selector, similar to the first page. There is almost an infinite number of combinations here. Spend some time just randomly spinning some wheels, and enjoy the results.
Similar to the Patterns page, the Sounds page lets you choose six different. These will be the same six sounds that you can edit on the Edit page mentioned before. As someone who does not speak Portuguese, I was purely guessing at what these instruments might sound like as I spun through these. But, these instruments all sound great, so you're sure to find something that works.
There is a simple Mixer page, which lets you mute and solo the instruments, as well as control the panning and volumes of each instrument.
Where this app gets away from a simple "preset rhythm machine", and allows for some humanization is in the Jamming screen. Much like in Rock Drum Machine 2, this is where you can select the "Jam Intensity", which controls how frequently variations in the rhythms are thrown in. You can also choose to add a fill after a selected number of bars (like 4, 8, 12, 16 etc.). You can also add a crash cymbal after fills, and choose the frequency of this as well. It's little touches like this that will add flair to your tracks.
An additional feature is the option to "roll the dice" and randomize. You can tap on the blue die to randomize your patterns and sounds. These is just a great way to get inspired. I'm always a sucker for randomization, and I especially love it here in BDM, as I don't necessarily have Brazilian rhythms naturally running through my veins.
The recent update to Rock Drum Machine 2 brought the much-requested Song Mode, which is thankfully present here as well. Tapping on the Song Mode toggle in the upper-right hand corner will bring you to the Song screen. Here is where you can create a song built on parts that you select. Parts can consist of anywhere from 1 bar up to 32 bars, and be chosen from any bank or rhythm. You can also set separate Jam Intensity here, and also choose to add fills after each part. Jam on!
While the iOS app landscape is absolutely filled with drum and percussion apps, ethnic percussion apps are a bit more rare. DrumJam from Sonosaurus immediately comes to mind. Brazilian Drum Machine can definitely fill a need for those in search of some Latin flair. Easy to use, great sounds, and universal to boot, these app should appeal to a great many musicians. This app is a lot of fun, and deserves a look.
If you're thinking about buying Brazilian Drum Machine, please consider clicking through our App Store link below. Thanks![app 988165210]