There are many little matrix synthesizers for the iPhone and iPad. I have about a dozen on my iPhone, but the only one I really ever use is TonePad Pro. I spent an hour or so recording some bits and pieces a few months ago and used one of them for a soundtrack to a little movie I made testing out my GoPro camera on my bike. It doesn’t quite fit the mood of the film perfectly but at least its an alternative to the thrashing or stadium anthem rock that seems to be the defacto choice. If Kraftwerk made mountain bike soundtracks, maybe it would be like this.
I first discovered Reason back in 2003 and spent a good deal of time playing with the demo of version 2.5. I was working on an animated promo for a book I had written and illustrated that was to be shown at a French book festival in Paris. With the idea of “driving” in mind, I meant to make something that would feel like it was in motion. This song, Drive, was the result. Eventually, it got replaced as the soundtrack to that animation, and I spent a little time making different versions of it over the years.
In 2005 I made one with a more synthy beepy feel. I used Reason for this as well, this time with Matrix running Malström for the bell in the background, and Subtractor as the main synthesizer. This was used by my friend Barbara as a soundtrack to a movie she made for a graduate thesis project. It worked well for that.
Two years later, I had made a little movie following my son around a playground on our bikes and I needed a soundtrack. So once again, I repurposed “Drive.” This time, I exported the MIDI from Reason and brought it into Ableton Live, using Operator as the main synthesizer. I added drums and made it much more complicated.
Here are the three versions of “Drive,” followed by the movie that used the third version as a soundtrack.