People keep buying iPads like crazy, even though others view it as a glorified toy. Most of the business, education, and productivity tasks that Apple boasts its tablet can tackle can be done more easily on a laptop, as critics point out. They forget how fun the iPad can be — and how important that fun can be for a healthy human brain.
This brings us to the enigmatically-named K235 for iPad ($1), which succeeds as a sleek, simple, motion-based musical instrument with a new twist on polyphonic (as in more than one note at a time) composition.
Upon startup, the app loads the electronic music option automatically, or you can switch to the chamber setting if you’d rather fabricate some elegant, Muhly-esque, classical compositions. Either way, the layout is clean, simple, and decidedly modern. This attack on nostalgia from developer Peter Kay might come as a breath of fresh air if you’re tired of apps that retread the past or merely mimic traditional instruments.
Four buttons on the bottom of the screen trigger brief, measure-long passages. Above, two identical circles play different melodies upon being “flicked” about the screen. The intensity at which you flick these circles dictates the tempo of the resulting melodies. Fortunately, everything plays in the same key so nothing will ever sound too far out of place, regardless of your flicking decisions.
The accelerometer comes into play when the iPad is tilted. Depending on the angle from its fully-upright position, K235 can play four different background melodies to accompany your tapping and flicking. Somewhat counter-intuitively, we found the sounds most exciting with everything activated at the same time. The end product might not sound accessible, but it often ends up sounding like a pretty good imitation of Four Tet.
Our only issue with K235 was a bit of rhythmic inconsistency. The instructions say to simply “shake” to add rhythm, but my attempts were met with only spotty success, and were probably dangerous (I really waved it around hard) to the iPad or anyone in the vicinity.
Nevertheless, for a mere dollar, K235 is worth a shot for anyone looking for some awesome, cheap, musical fun with their really expensive toy.