October 17, 2012
Granular Shoot 'n' Loot...
by Chris Randall
Yay, Borderlands Granular for iPad is finally out! Despite my personal opinion that the author may need to re-address his product-naming paradigm (related: watch for my new synth app for the iPad, Fallout 2 Subtractive), this one is right in my wheelhouse, visually. Any iPad audio app that doesn't look like an oscilloscope from 1967 is A-OK in my book, and this app is most assuredly not a skeuomorphic disaster area.
Functionally, it is similar to Curtis, except you can overlay several sounds; it lacks some of the playability of Curtis, but by the same token, it lacks a lot of the questionable control mechanisms, and in my brief relationship with it, it lacks all the bugginess. (Unlike Curtis, which I can freeze in a matter of minutes, I haven't managed to crash Borderlands yet.)
Why do I assume those two things? Because visually and operationally, this developer knows his shit, and there's no way that he didn't think of those. So he'll get to them eventually, or we're gonna have a problem here.
So, maybe not ready for prime time just yet, chiefly because there is going to be a fundamental sameness to all its output given the fact that everyone is sharing the same source material. (Such is the nature of granular synthesis, after all.) But as an exploration in to a more sophisticated and visually stimulating iteration of the general ideas put forth by Curtis, it merits support, and I would like to see where it goes over time. Provisionally, five star review from me, with the noted caveats.
$3.99 in the iTunes store. I recommend an iPad 2 or 3; I don't really see how this would be any fun on an iPad 1, but you're welcome to try. Overview video on Vimeo here. (I'd embed it, but it's Vimeo, so that'd suck.) Product website here.
EDIT: Apparently, it _does_ load user samples, but not in the normal manner. You can make a playlist called Borderlands in iTunes and it will access those. It actually says this in the second paragraph of the info page, but for some reason I didn't notice it. I just looked in the File Sharing part of the Apps tab, because that's where such things normally go. So, perhaps a bit of a usability fail, but nothing too tragic. I'll try it out later today and report in the comments.