This blog is about technology, software and social media. It's aimed as much towards 'normal' people as the tech savvy. The author is Tony Gallacher.
It’s like a really addictive game, except that each time you play you make something tangible – your own song. It can kill time (a lot of time) on the bus, in a queue or while you should be writing a blog post.
To create drum beats, bass and lead lines, you select from pre-programmed rhythms and sounds. There are separate screens for each of the drum, bass and lead parts of your mix. These are colour-coded blue, red and yellow respectively.
Tap, swipe the screen or move dials to select your sounds. There’s just enough automation in the app, to make sure your masterpiece is always both in time and on key.
The app only costs £0.69 (or $1) and is well worth it because it’s so much fun. It’s available from the Apple iTunes store.
A criticism of the app has been that it doesn’t let you save the tunes you’ve made. That means, to make a new song, you have to ‘erase’ the last one. Figure is currently at v1.0, so hopefully Propellerhead will soon add an export feature.
In the mean time, one thing you can do is connect your iPhone or iPad to a Mac or PC and play your track into some music editing software. I used GarageBand.
I connected my iPhone to my iMac using a cable with a 3.5mm jack (connector) on both ends. Headphones for the iphone and most mp3 players have a 3.5mm jack on one end. You need a cable with one of those on both ends. It’s the same type of cable you would use to plug an mp3 device or a smartphone into a car stereo.
I played my tracks from Figure, as an external voice source, into GarageBand and exported them to iTunes. I’ve uploaded these below.
Ladytron they are not and, listening back, I must have been channelling some sort of calypso influence when I made them. The first one has a wandering lead line and the second adds the drum, base and lead parts one at a time, the way you would if you were using the app.
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(Figure Example Tracks 1 and 2 are the property of Tony Gallacher.)