TThe new music app PlayGround has a playful take on touch-based music making. It’s a colorful experience, but is it enjoyable enough?
PlayGround, for iPhone and iPad, is developed by the Belgian collective Herrmutt Lobby. The app allows you to play songs by tapping and swiping multiple colored objects in an interactive interface.
The app’s music catalog contains tracks from electronic artsits such as D-Styles, 20syl, Cotton Claw and others. PlayGround isn’t like Guitar Hero, you don’t press a few buttons to play a set song. Rather, you are free to play around with the assortment of sounds that compromise the different tracks. You become the interpreter of the tune, in a way. The app is easy to use and also contains a recording mode so that you can save and share your creations.
The app comes with only a few free tunes, but more are available for $1 each. Even though the amount of songs may seem few at first, you can do a lot with just one. The many on-screen objects are far from static, they have multiple sounds that you are able to manipulate. Taping repeatedly on a snare drum button can change its sound, and sliding over a certain square will also change the color of the interface. It’s a pleasure to both look at and play around with.
Compared to similar apps like Figure and Pacemaker, PlayGround feels more playful; it works better for improvisation than songwriting. I can see DJs and musicians taking this beyond the initial play-around stage and incorporating it into their performances.