Make music with “Figure” #App
April 11, 2012
— gadgets, gaming, mainstream adoption, professional musicians, software, technology
It’s never been easier to make music, thanks to a wealth of apps available for smartphones and tablets that put bleeps and bloops together to create amazing tunes. The latest is Propellerhead’s Figure.
Figure lets you combine drums, bass synth and lead synth together in a simple, blocky interface that looks fantastic on an iPhone screen or even when blown up on the new iPad’s Retina Display(despite the fact this is not a “universal” app).
It’s incredibly easy to use — a novice with no music experience will have a beat pumping out of the speakers within 10 seconds. Those with a bit more knowledge, however, will find the app surprisingly deep — you can tweak around with the pitch, filter, waveform, distortion and other effects, adjust the key you’re in, and even add a bit of shuffle.
It sucks you in. You’ll be on a bus, half an hour from your stop, and then look up again 45 minutes later, way past where you should have got off. There’s enough diversity in the included presets for the average user to not get bored for a while, and there’ll be value in here for more professional musicians, too. The only big omission, for my money, is a sequencer of some sort to lengthen the period of time that the app records for.
The objective was to make a portable music app that would appeal to both casual users and pros. Chief executive of Propellerhead, Ernst Nathorst Böös, told The Guardian: “We think musicians, regardless what level they’re on, will have phones, tablets and computers, and they will use them in different situations. Think about e-mail: You write an e-mail differently when you write it on your phone, compared to sitting down at your computer, taking a deep breath and writing a longer one. It’s still e-mailing, but dependent on the device and the situation. That’s how we see this.”
That’s reflected in the price point, which sits at a tremendously affordable 69p. Böös is clearly hoping for mainstream adoption to recoup the company’s costs, though the app was predominantly developed from the company’s previous work with the much-more-complicated ReBirth app, and its work on OS X.
If you’ve got access to an iOS device and you’ve ever even considered making electronic music, you need to pick up Figure. Expect to hear an awful lot of its influence in music released in the coming years.