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Even if you have no clue what you're doing, it only takes a few seconds of poking and prodding the screen to get grooving with Figure. Extreme accessibility makes Propellerhead Software's stylish music-making app a fun toy to noodle around with whenever you've got free time to kill, but Figure's real strength lies in that it's powerful enough that you can just as easily take it on-stage and set the dance floor on fire with some seriously infectious electronic jams.
Using the simplistic and attractively designed retro interface, you can weave together drums, bass, and synth leads into repetitive two-bar loops by setting sound parameters and tapping or gliding your finger around the instrument pad. Crafting parts is an intuitive, experimental process that lets you layer sounds to create simple tunes or more complex electronic soundscapes. Once you lay down a good loop foundation, there's lots of wiggle room to change things up and continue building to create elaborate freeform songs in real time.
Each of the three core sound channels has numerous instrument settings that provide a broad sonic palette to draw from, and you can further tinker with each instrument's individual settings in the "tweak" menu to come up with some crazy-sounding stuff. For live performance, the song menu lets you change key and tempo on the fly, while individual volume levels make adjusting the mix or temporarily dropping instruments to create breaks and build-ups a breeze.
The bottom line. Figure is tremendously entertaining and flexible; the only real disappointment is its lack of a more substantive sequencer or recording function to let you save and export your tunes. Otherwise, it's a total blast to jam with.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Perfect for live performance. Interface is highly accessible for making jams. Tons of instrument options to play with.
Lacks more robust sequencing and song recording options.