The biggest buzz of the week in electronic music has been generated by the release of Propellerhead Figure for iOS.
The app is basically a mobile groove generator, letting you create short sequences using great-sounding preset drum, bass & lead synth engines. The interface eliminates the need for traditional musical skills. Groove-based quantization and a limited palette of sounds mean mean that just about anyone can get decent results.
Propellerhead CEO Ernst Nathorst Böös explains Figure like this:
“We think musicians, regardless what level they’re on, will have phones, tablets and computers, and they will use them in different situations,” he says.
“Think about email: you write an email 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 emailing, but dependent on the device and the situation. That’s how we see this.”
It’s an interesting beatmaking app – but the combination of smart design and the Propellerhead Reason sound engine has led to Figure’s buzz reaching far beyond music sites.
Here’s a round up of Propellerhead Reason reviews:
Time: “Figure lets you create respectable tunes even if you’re not a practicing musician. You needn’t have played an instrument to use Figure, or have studied painting to use Paper, and both apps are so simple that you don’t have to spend hours learning the software. You just open the apps and start making stuff.”
Wired: “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.”
Voltage-Controlled: “Even though Figure’s missing out on some vital features it’s still a blast to play around with. And for 69p in the AppStore I’m going to stop complaining, shut up and enjoy that awesome little loop sequencer that Propellerhead has given us. All in all I’m going to give this app maybe an eight out of ten. If figure had audio export and a save feature then it would most definitely get a full ten.”
MusicRadar: “Looking at the way Propellerhead is marketing the app, it’s clear that Figure is meant more as a fun toy than a serious music making application. On that level the app works beautifully; it’s exceptionally simple to use, and you’ll be making music in seconds. But because it sounds great, and packs a surprising amount of power, we’d love to be able to go past the app’s two-bar limitation and go a little deeper.”
Here’s a video review from PointBlankOnline:
Here’s another quick video review, this time from Ean Golden of DJ Tech Tools:
At US $.99 in the App Store, getting Propellerhead Figure is a no-brainer – but it will also leave you hoping that Propellerhead has something bigger in the works.
Have you tried Propellerhead Figure? If so, let us know what you think of it and how you’re using it!