eDrops Nature is one of four very similar apps by Noe Guerrero. So far I have only tried the nature version and another more electronic eDrops Free version of their Pro app. Each one uses a dropping ball as the main theme (similar to SoundDrop), and you select various objects for the ball to bounce against to trigger built-in sounds. There are also other ambient tracks in the background controlled by the two columns of circles on either side of the screen.
I was immediately drawn into eDrops Nature, as the sound palette covers a lot of my favorite areas of drones, water, ambient piano and acoustic percussion. The pin-ball like interaction between the ball and the sonic elements creates a lot of random rhythm and melody, and you are free to change any element as you notice patterns forming – often by surprise.
You can save and load your creations (though this interface element needs work). There is no in-app help, so unfortunately the app stops and jumps you to a web site for details, but you are unable to use them in context. I found this particularly annoying, and completely counter productive compared to other similar apps that guide you while you are experiencing the app.
Still, it’s a good app for generative music, and I can seem myself using it on my radio show. The pro version gives you some more capabilities, including the ability to change tempo, which is kind of important! Otherwise you are stuck with a slow ambient tempo, which isn’t too bad for creating mellow background. Unlike many other apps tried, this one didn’t get on Audra’s nerves quite as much, and she actually found it relaxing.
Here’s an example:
eDrops Free is another story in terms of the sounds available. Definitely more techno/electro. The interface is similar, but there are some important differences. There are very clear icons for bass, snare, and hi-hat percussion elements, while there are other icons that represent different kinds of waveforms.
Same outside-of-app web help plagues this eDrop Free.
With both of these apps you can save your templates, and with the Pro version you allegedly can share with others, but I do not see anywhere that indicates you can download your creations in WAV or AIF format – something that would be more useful for serious users.
A much more chaotic experiment using eDrop Free can be found below. This one would DEFINITELY annoy any spouse. I didn’t care for the sound selection in the more techno version of eDrops. Even though my signal was well under clipping on my recorder, the sounds are just too compressed and distorted to be of much use for anything outside of a few genres. I think the interface lends itself better to ambient generative music, not beat-based music. Its unclear what sound palette is available in eDrops Pro, though for 99 cents it isn’t much of a risk, so I might check it out.