I played a bit of ‘review catch-up’ when I posted a review of KRFT from Studio Amplify a few weeks ago here on the Music App Blog. Studio Amplify have a couple of other iOS musics in their catalogue and that I’ve looked at previously here on the blog; Jungulator and NOIZ. Both apps were perhaps aimed as much at non-musicians as those with traditional musical skills in that they allowed you to easily create musical ideas but based upon pre-existing musical content such as loops and drum samples.
However, NOIZ was interesting for a further reason; the rather interesting ‘performance interface’ it used that allowed you to interact with this pre-made musical content. yes, you were still just triggering loops and apply some basic effects you the sounds, but it was a very cool approach and did, I’m sure, appeal to EDM producers whatever their formal musical training/skill level.
With KRFT, Studio Amplify have taken that performance interface concept to another level as, in this case, you get to program your own drum loops or synth parts (the app includes its own collection of sounds for playback) and then actually build your own user interface to trigger them in real-time with effects options included that you can also control from your customised surface. Yes, you ‘craft’ your own set of triggers on a per-project basis and, unlike the earlier apps mentioned above, you also are responsible for writing the musical content in terms of sequencing drum and synth patterns.
The combination of these two features perhaps means KRFT is aimed at a slightly different audience than NOIZ – those with a bit more musical experience perhaps? – but it may well attract existing NOIZ users in looking to take their music creation efforts a little bit further. And, with the emphasis very much placed upon the design of the performance interface, this is obviously an app for those that like to ‘perform’, be that in a live context or within a studio as a means of improvising a complete musical piece build around a set of your own musical phrases and beats.
The end result is really rather interesting. Indeed, perhaps the underlying concept – when it comes to the performance element anyway – is not a million miles away from a ‘DIY Launchpad’ where you have triggers for sounds and different triggers for effects…. except, in this case, you design the layout of those triggers yourself on a project-by-project basis.
Anyway, Studio Amplify released the v.1.2.0 update for KRFT yesterday. This brings a number of useful feature tweaks for the app. For example, there are some new bass presets included, a Background Audio switch has been added and the Live Quantize option has been improved. You also get more control over the waveforms within the synth engine section of the app.
However, there are perhaps two new highlights. First, the app can now be used as a sound source via IAA, making it easier to get your KRFT compositions.jams out into a wider workflow. Second, and also helping that wider workflow, KRFT now includes support for Ableton Link. Link has most certainly been one of the success stories as a technological advance for iOS music makers and, while I’ve only had a brief chance to play with KRFT ‘linked’ to other apps, it seems to be working well.
While KRFT is an interesting app and would, I suspect, be fun for almost any iOS musician with a bent for electronic music styles to explore, there will be a sub-set of those EDM/iOS user base that will be particularly interested in giving KRFT a try simply because they like to ‘jam’ rather than think about music creation in the more ‘linear’ way a conventional DAW/sequencer functions. If that’s you, then KRFT, now priced at UK£7.99/US$7.99, is worth a look and it’s great to see Studio Amplify developing the project further. Check out the demo videos below some examples of the app in action and then hit the download button for further details….