Friday, 17 December 2010

Coffee ...

Developing software for iOS devices is a coffee-heavy affair. Here at Ellatron central we just got ourselves the coolest Espresso machine on the planet, so pretty it really should be on sale at the Apple Store as the iSpresso.

And it was *cheap*!!

Check out the Presso from Le Cafe Shop - rattling off the benefits one by one, it is
* £200 cheaper than the machine we just retired
* hygenic - no milky ick on a steamer pipe, but a cool milk frotherizer
* easier to clean than the machine we just retired
* makes better-tasting coffee (not sure how they manage that one!)
* uses no electricity - shoulder power pumps the water through the coffee, and your existing kettle heats the water
* uses up way less space in the kitchen than the machine we just retired
* cool cool cool - and gorgeous
* comes with a free pack of exquisite coffee

It is awesome.

Now for some more coffee ...

Monday, 29 November 2010

iPad goes on sale in Denmark today!

And to celebrate, here's Tim Christensen, Denmark's finest export (apart from certain rather special beers!) playing M3000 HD in Copenhagen a couple of months back. Totally Mellotronic!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Ellatron - the missing manual

The guilt got too much to bear. All those users but no user manual.

So finally - real soon now, i.e. before the end of 2010 - there will be a user manual, and because all our customers have iPhones or iPads it makes perfect sense for the manual to be an iBook.

Monday, 15 November 2010

C30 C60 C90 - GO!

Melloman, as featured on Tara Busch's smash hit Motorcrash.

It's like a Mellotron but the tapes are thinner, it has more wow, more flutter, more tape hiss. And there's only one of them. In the whole damn world.

Coming to an App Store near you in 2010 - Melloman, the App. Just 99c.

Because an idea this good shouldn't be owned by one man alone.

*yes, we know Motorcrash wasn't a chart smash - but in our preferred parallel universe, where quality is the only thing that counts, it busted the charts to bits.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Cassandra and the well-tempered Ellatron

Finally, the MIDI-enabled Ellatron was in the hands of somebody who can actually play the piano - albeit rustily, at least 15 years since the last time she tickled the ivories. But didn't she do well?

Next time I'll request she gives us a blast of the Toccata and Fugue on the M3000 Church Organ ...

Friday, 12 November 2010

First project for 2011 ...

... or even very late 2010 if we can get it together - a sweet, fun, 99c app featuring the weird and warbly, cheap and cassettey, hissy but haunting, achingly awesomely wackily walkman sounds of - Melloman! For iPad and iPhone!! How truly brilliant is that?!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Ellatron via CoreMIDI

Following on from the video of 2 days ago which was made with a genuinely brilliant but not yet on the market pro-level MIDI interface, this illustrates the most cost-effective way to turn Ellatron / M3000 and soon Jordantron into a MIDI-powered instrument if you don't mind repurposing other bits of hardware you have hanging around the house ...

Take 1 iPad.
Take 1 Ellatron. Or M3000. Or Jordantron.
Take 1 powered USB hub. The 'powered' bit is important
Take 1 Apple Camera Connection Kit.
Take 1 M-Audio Axiom 49. Or similar. But we really do like the Axiom 49 ...

Instant MIDI-enabled Tron.

CoreMIDI really is brilliant, and will be the way forward for iOS devices and performance music. Unfortunately the iPod Touch 4G (and therefore I assume iPhone 4) don't recognise the Camera Connection Kit, so this route is only available to Paddies. Now I'd better put the USB hub back where it came from ...

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Ellatron via MIDI

A small group of people will remember our first MIDI video about 10 months ago that needed a jailbroken iPhone. Well here is the real thing. Excuse the totally amateurish nature of this footage, but dammit it's exciting. Cinéma vérité and all that.

Filmed with an iPod Touch in one hand, our intrepid cameraman's free hand attempts to show some of the features of the Ella MIDI implementation. We have 3 voices at once (upper, lower and pads), and all can be played concurrently if you have enough hands or somebody else around/on stage who can hit the pads. Programmable keyboard split for upper and lower, programmable chord pads if your keyboard supports it (and the Axiom 49 has 8 of them - mighty useful). Ella can be seen responding to controllers on the keyboard with on-screen information keeping you up to date, and controllers are used to change voices, volume, pitch, tone, reverb parameters, and level/pan for each of the upper, lower and pad instruments. Ellatron and the Lite Trons now all feature the same rich reverb unit first seen in M3000, and the MIDI Ellatron is going to hit the shops with a handful of the real Tron voices from M3000, albeit with the usual limitations - shorter loop times, major third sampling intervals etc. Mellotron purists will want M3000, people who just want a handful of Tron sounds for occasionally spicing up a song will love the new Ella.

Plus the MIDI implementation is ultra-responsive, despite this being a debug build and having a dozen printfs per played note - printfs going over WiFi to the Mac, because you can't really printf with an attached dock accessory...

A bit more work to do on the user interface to de-stupid it - for example, I still am amused by 'What's this for?' at the left of the screen - cannot for the life of me remember what those user interface elements were supposed to do ... and it needs an upgrade to the saved/restored preferences file, and we will be ready to roll out for testing. If all goes well we should be good to go by early December.

And a final word - all apps universal. So M3000 for the iPhone for the first time. Jordantron universal on launch date. And having pretty much all your controls exposed to the MIDI keyboard makes the iPhone / iPod Touch so usable as a performance instrument - no squinting in the dark and carefully positioning fingers to make changes, just move a slider or change a rotary control and you can select different voices, tweak reverb, change chordbanks - suddenly makes the iPhone a genuinely amazing performance or practice instrument.

Monday, 13 September 2010

a) Don't Panic!

and b) Sincerest apologies to anyone wanting to use our online user guide or in any other way look at the website - we have a minor and temporary web hosting problem, and don't have a live website right now. Now we are *VERY* annoyed as I'm sure are any new customers, this will get sorted within the next 24 hours.

But once again - sorry folks.

Monday, 30 August 2010

What's been going on in the land of Ellatron

OK, it's all been a bit quiet round here lately, so let's update you all on what's been going on.

First we have been cleaning out the codebase. It had got messy. It's now in much better shape and as a result is running faster and more smoothly than before, which is nice.

Secondly, we've been going universal. Our build system is now in shape and set up to get Ellatron and Ellatron HD merged into the same product. Now it's not clear how we can do this with Apple, we may just have to continue with the 2 separate SKUs and upload the same binary to them - but going forward, Ellatron for iPhone will be the same program as Ellatron HD. For those of you who purchased both we do apologize, but in the early days of iPad development without hardware it was just impossible and we had to get the iPad version out. But going forward, everything we do will be universal from day one.

So Mellotronics M3000 will go universal at the next refresh. This will open up the amazing semitone-sampled ABC-blended tones of M3000 to iPhone and iPod Touch owners. And of course the long-awaited Jordantron will also be universal when it is launched - one binary, all devices, it will be really cool.

And coolest of all - all these apps are going MIDI. We have early access to an advanced prototype of a quite fantastic low-cost MIDI interface for iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad. Latency is insanely low, quality is insanely good. Price - well, all we know is 'low-cost', this should get more clear over the next few weeks. We can't commit right now to when the device will ship - we hope during Q4 this year, so before the holidays - but it will be immense. As soon as we can tell you more about this new MIDI interface we will, but if the design pans out it will be the nicest one we have seen yet. Having 8 of the chord pads available on the programmable pads of our in-house Axiom 49 is *brilliant*!! And continuous controllers for M3000 ABC blend, pitch and volume - it is just so fantastic to have a MIDI keyboard plugged into an iPhone!

Once it's clear we are not breaking any NDAs we will post video ... stay tuned.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

2,000 iPads from home

Sheer brilliance. Whoever you are pinstripedclips, you are a major dude.

iPad King Crimson!

Another totally brilliant M3000 performance I just found online - it is great to see our product being enjoyed and used by talented people - I have to say, I totally love this one!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Check out Tandog on MySpace ...

... who is using some warped Ellatron tones for movie soundtracks. Brilliant stuff!

Rocking the M3000 with Miss Vortex!

Her flying fingers make great use of the M3000 chord pads to apply some gorgeous beds under the beats here - this is actually my favourite fan video of M3000 to date, I really, REALLY enjoyed this one!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Beautiful, haunting music featuring Ellatron

This video was popped onto the omenie YouTube stream as a video response last week, and it is a lovely piece of editing and a haunting piece of ambience. It reminds me very much of both the Startled Insects' music and Richard Kwietniowski's glorious short films for that very influential band. Added bonus - it features a heavily processed Ellatron, set to Riekotron for maximum violinosity - check it out, we enjoyed it very much -

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Brazil simply loves M3000 HD

And we love Brazil right back - thanks to @musicappsbr, a lovely and very enthusiastic Mellotronics M3000 review translated by Google -

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Summer shutdown at Ellatron HQ

We are taking a synchronized 7 days in the sun, so don't feel upset if your emails are unanswered for a few days - we'll be back as normal very soon, with a bunch of great things to come in the second half of the year.

Back in early July!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Mellotronics M3000 for iPad is a big success

Obviously when you put your heart and soul and a lot of work into a new musical instrument you hope it will be well-received, and that it will be valuable to, and treasured by those who play it.

We seem to have managed it based on the first few days of availability of the M3000. We have had excellent positive feedback to date, and the question we now find ourselves asking is this - are there now more copies of M3000 than there were Mellotrons manufactured by Streetly? The answer to this will need to wait until Martin (font of all Tron knowledge at Streetly) returns from a business trip to Copenhagen, but wouldn't it be wonderful to have in less than a week doubled the amount of Mellotronic goodness on the planet?

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

M3000 1.0.1 went live ...

... exactly one day after 1.0 went on sale - sorry boys and girls, it's just unfortunate timing. We realized that it was critical to have the 'Chord level' function in place to play Nights in White Satin for the 3 minute guide video (we had it pegged for a 'next release' feature) so we put it in, submitted, made the video, then waited. And waited. We thought it would just sail through - tiny change, app already cleared for sale, how long can it take? Whoops. Our bad.

Our assumption - iOS 4.0 testing is backed up, and (despite M3000 being iPad-only) we were honest and didn't tick the 'Tested on iOS 4.0' box in iTunes Connect - we suspect that stuck into a 'needs more testing' queue.

Which is a very long-winded way of saying sorry to force you to download the same 113 MByte app 2 days running. No way to treat early adopters, we agree, so we will buy at least some of you a drink when we see you.

In the meantime an eagle-eyed customer has spotted another 'deliberate mistake' which we need to fix. On with the endless refresh cycle!!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

This is cool - video from Fumita Anzai using Ellatron (and a few other excellent music Apps).

Hoping to get him (her?) a copy of MELLOTRONICS M3000 HD (that's a mouthful - I'll start saying 'M3000' from now on) - total Tronfest would be so, so awesome. And this is what I *love* about making music Apps - I do the thing I'm good at, and then people out there who are good at music do beautiful, wonderful things that bring a tear to my eye and a warming to my heart.

Well done Fumita Anzai - just more Tron next time!!!

Friday, 11 June 2010

MELLOTRONICS M3000 HD - new website up, on sale date announced

A frantic day of running around, making phone calls, signing off press releases - and, most unexpected of all, fixing some silly late-stage problems in the code - and then we were done, and the new website went live and the press release went out. And our good friends and now business partners at Streetly updated their site as well.

So, for of all you out there holding your breath - MELLOTRONICS M3000 HD - or 'M3000' for short - hits the shops - that is, all the App Stores, all around the world, all at once - June 14th. I'd like to give you an accurate time but stuff like a) timezones and b) the uselessly low speed of light make it difficult. So June 14th is all I can say.

Exciting, isn't it?!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Mellotronics M3000 ... putting the 'M' into Ellatron

When we launched Ellatron we had lots of very positive feedback. That's because you people out there are lovely.

The only negative comments were about the 'Mellotron purity' of Ellatron - its use of note sharing and looping made it impure in the eyes of the faithful. Our roadmap for Ellatron - sequencing, synths, onboard effects - is clearly pushing Ellatron further away from Mellotron purity. We totally love Ellatron, and the long-awaited version 2.0 will be amazing. But we also love Mellotrons, and we wanted to make as pure a recreation of the classic Tron as possible.

So we did the only sensible thing - we called up the guys that make the real thing, and partnered with them.

And here is the wide world's first glimpse at the Mellotronics M3000 HD. Powered by Ellatron and stuffed with genuine Mellotronics, this is initially an iPad-exclusive baby brother to Streetly's amazing M4000 tape-replay instrument, with iPhone version to follow. Streetly have for the first time made their entire tape vault available under license, and the M3000 is stuffed with voices derived from the Mellotronics tape library - *EXACTLY* the same tapes that appear on all those Beatles, Genesis, King Crimson and Zombies records.

All 35 notes of each voice are sampled - this is a *BIG* application, and it sounds beautiful. To make it even more beautiful we've integrated a gorgeous, lush and highly controllable reverb engine. The Church organ never sounded bigger ...

Four voices can be resident in memory at one time, allowing the classic A/B/C switch to be used to instantly switch between voices. Even better, the A/B/C switch is in fact a continuous controller to support an infinite* variety of blended tones. All the while, a 4th voice can be used with the now-standard Ellatron chord pads.

No bells. No whistles. Just 120 MBytes of pure, musical, Mellotronic joy.

*Not quite infinite. Your mileage may vary.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Ellatron HD fix is in the pipeline ...

... thanks to our (currently very small!) set of testers who actually have an iPad, we seem to have nailed the nasty orientation jitters - watch this space ...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Ellatron HD has a problem ...

... we are aware of it and trying to fix it. If you have the App, you know the problem - jittery, skittish uncertainty about device orientation, random flips between orientations when the pad is close to horizontal. Annoying - yes. Very. We apologize with all our hearts, and we assure you that a solution is close, so please bear with us, and sorry to put you lucky iPad owners through some early adopter grief.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Ellatron HD for iPad is Ready for Sale!

Our first iPad application, Ellatron HD, will be on sale in the App Store this time tomorrow. At present it is functionally very similar to Ellatron for iPhone, but has reduced audio latency for improved touch responsiveness, 'invisible fat sharps' for keypress accuracy, and the increased screen real estate of iPad will make for a much more playable instrument - and also will let us take the application to some very interesting places over the next few months, so watch this space.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Powered by Ellatron

Here is the first sneak peek of the first third-party application which licenses the Ellatron engine. More details to be revealed soon. Well, quite soon.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Ellatron 1.5 is finally in for review

A big old apology from team Ellatron, we have been working on a couple of other projects recently - both of them amazing - and Ellatron didn't get enough TLC. But we righted that today, and now Ella 1.5 is in the store, awaiting review. Not long before everyone out in Ella land has 12 chord buttons to play with.

The 2 secret projects will be fabulous...

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Ellatron 1.5 test - Mellotron Classics : Space Oddity

Ellatron 1.5 and the brand spanking new website are almost ready, so to celebrate we decided to remix Space Oddity, removing both Rick Wakeman and Rolf Harris (yes, we know Rolf didn't *actually* play on it, OK?) and inserting Ellatron instead.

Excellent results!