Triqtraq- Jam Sequencer is a new app from Zaplin Music for iPhone and iPod Touch. Just as it’s name describes it is a sequencer that blurs the lines of instrument and sequencer. It is a 4 track sequencer that is set up like 4 individual drum machine tracks. The beauty of the app is the simplicity that it offers, enticing you to start jamming and experimenting to make the patterns.
On the main screen you are greeted by 4 colored circles with the letters A,B,C, and D in them, these are the tracks, and a grid of your 16 pattern slots in the center. If you touch one of the letters the view changes to 8 drum machine like pads to touch, and a sequencer on the top that shows you 1 bar at a time. The app is automatically armed for recording, and tapping the play button and touching the pads will start placing note events in the sequencer.
You can also use step edit mode to manually place notes on the sequencer, one extremely nice feature with this is, if you drag on the sequencer you get a grey selection area, if you place a note, it will jump ahead one 8th note past the selection, this makes for really quick editing for repetitive patterns.
Each track has 2 effects on it, Filter and Delay, which you can edit quickly on the fly as well, and it picks up the automation and shows it well in the sequencer. The delay is set up like a send effect, with settings for the delay being global. Each track also has Pan, Pitch, Level, and Decay settings.
You can string the patterns together in what is called a Queue, to put together a song.
One of the most exciting features in triqtraq is the Loop Range feature, I didn’t quite understand it at first, (all of this review was done through exploration) but once you touch the Loop Range button you are presented with a Loop Speed dialog, initially I thought that was it, which this is a handy way of speeding that particular sequence and automation up or down, but if you tap and drag on the sequence above you are setting loop points. What is really cool about this is that you can set them up per effect, or for the sequence itself. This feature makes for some really cool syncopation options, and can all be done while playing and on the fly jamming since you can have the sequence different lengths and speeds from the other sounds, and each can have different lengths of filter, delay sends, level, decay, pan, pitch, letting your track really breathe. Super powerful!
Also included is a tool for setting the bpm, which surprisingly can also be automated. You can set the BPM by tapping also, which is a nice feature.
The way that you change pitch on the instruments is a little less intuitive than the rest of the app though, it seems that it is screaming for a little keyboard for note input. You change the pitch with a slider, which can be constrained with a keyboard next to it.
I really wish that it had more import options, it would be great with audiocopy and paste, now that Apple has broken the tether between it’s devices and iTunes, it feels a bit archaic to have to connect the iPhone to my mac in order to import sounds. Also currently there aren’t any export options other than just recording the audio output of your device.
Overall triqtraq provides a simple way to quickly jam out some new sounds, it is fun to pull out to make a quick beat with some one shot bass and synth samples, and gives you quite a bit of control. With the awesome experimentation that is possible with loop range, this app is on the top of my list of go to apps to make a new sound. I really wish those export features were in there now, I am sure the developer is getting lots of people asking for them, let’s hope they make it in soon.