My day job for the past year or so has been writing software for iOS. Not nearly as often as I’d like, but occasionally my interest in making music intersects with my work, and in this particular case I don’t think it’s ever intersected better. (The only time making music for work even came close to being this fun was perhaps when I made sound effects for a CD-ROM game in the mid-90’s, or made music loops for kids’ games in the early 2000’s).
For this app, however, I got to be an active part in the design process from the drawing board to the implementation. My interest in ambient music, generative systems, pseduorandom patterns, etc, all played into both the visual and aural aspects of the Aquarium 2 app. We make no secret of being inspired by devices like the Buddha Machine, apps like Brian Eno and Peter Chivers’ Bloom, or even those 1970’s new age ambient record series called Environments that you could pick up for 99 cents in bargain bins.
What resulted I think is a great app for constructing ideal ambient soundscapes to match your taste and mood. Each color wheel is a set of samples that you swap out with the next one by swiping across the screen; the background plasma colors change as well. You call up samples by pressing a colored wedge; the sample fades in after your touch. Touch it again and it gently fades out. The samples are mellow synthesizer loops constructed by ambient soundsmith Morgan Kuhli, or field recordings of natural sounds of the forest and ocean that you can blend. Whether you are looking for some soothing sounds for baby (c.f., Raymond Scott), something to read, meditate, or fall asleep to, you can probably build a sound with this app that will work for you.