The warmup performance to Google I/O featured a DJ brotherhood duo by the name of PARISI who used an interesting little MIDI interface by the name of BLOCKS.
Roli makes the thing, as well as the app they were using to make the magic happen: NOISE.
NOISE is a modular audio app that has loads of sounds in its library for you to do with whatever you wish. You load the sounds into different virtual pads on your phone, and tapping them makes it play. It’s like the digital version of those MIDI DJ pads you may have seen if you’ve ever poked around the music scene.
The app hadn’t been available on Android due to the platform’s lack of low-latency audio, but as of Android Nougat and the launch of phones like the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8, Roli was able to launch NOISE in limited fashion. The reason it’s limited to those devices is because they are the first to fully support Pro Audio, which is a new low-latency audio protocol that relies on both software and hardware to do its thing.
Audio latency has never been a big issue for the consumers of great works of art known as music, but for creators, it’s a nightmare. Mixing a track and playing instruments and sounds atop a beat requires precise timing, less you’re a fan of off-beat non-rhythmic music, in which case more power to you.
Anyway, with NOISE launching for Android in unreleased fashion, it allows beginners and pros alike to use their Android devices to create music — whether it be for a recording or live performances — instead of having to lug around big expensive audio interfaces. Pair it with a modular BLOCKS setup and you have a traveling DJ booth small enough to fit into your pocket. Look for more and more phones to launch with Pro Audio support later this year.