October 11, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Lis10er Augments Aural Reality for Four Bucks


Following the recent disappearance of RjDj, a new augmented reality audio app called Lis10er (pronounced “listener”) has appeared on the scene to tweak the sounds picked up by your headphones’ inline mic and turn them into exceedingly trippy audio.

Lis10er ($4, iOS) is not for the pop music, short attention span set; it’s ideal user is probably someone of a solitary, artistic bent who would enjoy ambling around listening to their aural surroundings being transformed into glacially-paced experimental electronic music.

It’s simple. Fire up the app, select one of the ten scenes, each represented by a black-and-white  photograph, and you’re up and running. Sounds begin to swell, mixed with audio from your surroundings; you can control that mix with the slider pictured above. Even if you switch scenes by swiping left or right, the outside sounds recorded in the previous scenes will carry over, providing a nice sense of continuity.

“It’s a binaural audio application that creates an augmented soundscape warping and mixing in real-time sounds from the microphone with composed sounds,” said Matteo Milani, who composed music for the app, via email. “The app is a mobile installation that places the emphasis on the surfaces of the world in which we live. It contains 10 themes: Each one is a carefully composed ‘virtual place,’ where the sonic environment is encapsulated and transformed to invent a new reality, mixing ‘live’ sounds and their relative aural context with designed ones.”

This app is cool, ambitious, and unabashedly arty. Is it worth $4? We’d say it could be — but only if your ears have a rather experimental bent, and you’ve already made rent for the month.