October 7, 2011 at 10:45 am

Isle of Tune Lets You Build a ‘Sim City’ to Compose Music on iPad

isle of tune for ipad

We haven’t seen anything remotely like Isle of Tune for iPad, which was released today, with the exception of the web-based Isle of Tune, which impressed us late last year with its utterly unique approach to songsmithery.

Both apps let you draw roads, populate them with houses and trees to indicate beats and notes, and then activate the whole thing with cars that drive down the streets in predictable patterns, “playing” each thing they drive past.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and can actually be grasped fairly easily, although it takes a bit of doing to create something like the Pixies’ “Gigantic” or the theme song from the Simpsons. (Hey Matt Groening: The latter would make a great intro for the actual show, given the app’s suburban setting.)

We’ve been playing around with the brand-new iPad version of Isle of Tune ($3), and it works even better on the touch screen, simply because you can drag your fingers around to create roads and add elements, rather than using a mouse and a cursor. It also means you can spend more time crafting tunes, because you can use the iPad app on the bus, train, and so on.

Co-creator Jim Hall tells Evolver.fm that even-more-mobile Android and iPhone versions are in the works too, although it made sense to start with the iPad, because it offers the most real estate.

This iPad version adds sound effects, road delays, and a full keyboard mode (see screenshot), making it easier to assign notes to specific trees or shrubs.

Our advice: Try the free web version. If you get hooked, $3 for the iPad version is worth it.