The idea behind the original iPhone was that its touchscreen was a blank canvas and could become anything. Despite this, music apps tend to remain rooted in tradition, with piano keyboards and multi-track song arranging that’s been around since the 1980s. KRFT tries something different.
Essentially, it’s all about building blocks. You create loops or fills, tapping out notes on a pattern editor or pads grid. But these components live within triggers you apply to a custom playback surface, which can be arranged in countless ways.
This isn’t quite a freeform proposition. You can’t doodle a picture of an angry wasp and magically have it sing Flight of the Bumblebee. But there’s nonetheless flexibility in diamond-shaped loops and fills, which you can drag about, rotate, and place alongside oval SFX triggers, triangular morph buttons, and circular dials.
KRFT’s clean, minimal interface looks fantastic on a modern iOS display – part abstract slice of art, part isometric arcade game. And during playback, active components pulse in a pleasingly sci-fi manner.
The advantage of KRFT’s system also becomes clear when tapping away on your custom instrument. Freed from the conventions of standard keyboards – and from dull, regimented grid pads – there’s room for expression and dynamism, continually reinterpreting your track.
That said, the app is in a sense demanding, even if it’s broadly intuitive. When staring at a blank surface, you must simultaneously consider instruments, components, and a potential composition. Even those well-versed in music apps may initially flail.
Smartly, though, KRFT ships with demos that show off its range. With Honey you get a futuristic keyboard, comprising single-note fill modules, and dials for manipulating sounds live. Caffeine is a full track to remix on the fly.
There are some limitations to the system, however. KRFT is currently a closed box, lacking Audiobus and IAA support, and the only way to get songs out of it is to record live playback and export the resulting saved AAC. Still, for the performance-oriented and anyone who likes the idea of creating music and unique digital instruments to play them, KRFT’s RM20 well spent.
KRFT is available for iOS.