Review based on Curtis v2.4 on iPad 1
Curtis for iPad is indeed unusual, maybe even Strange. I suppose that’s par for the course coming from the Strange Agency? This, however is strange in the best possible use of the word.
Curtis is a unique hybrid of wavetable and granular synthesis that creates tones and timbres in ways that the traditional synthesizers just can’t do.
What you get from Curtis depends a lot on what you put into it. Thanks to Copy Paste, audio recording from the iPad built In mic, or an iRig Mic, file share and now Drop Box compatibility, there are plenty of ways to get sounds and samples in to Curtis.
The possibilities are endless. Just don’t expect to play melodies or solos, especially with it’s keyboard. Curtis just doesn’t work that way. Its about textures, temporal exploration, and manipulating tonality while accepting the random nature of audio mangling. Curtis is a blissful way to make abstract tones, from violently active to sublimely gentle drones. Again it depends largely on what sound you put in the audio ball park. Use your imagination, try different things. Explore, and listen. Try a big synth pad, arpeggios, or record a conversation and drag your finger through the waveform play surface to see what you can come up with.
Every direction you move your finger will express something, up, down, forward,backward, fast or slow, all movements produce something interesting.
You can “scratch” like a turn table DJ, sort of. You can play with it in the original geometric mode maintaining that randomness, or try the quantized “chromatic” mode for more precision. The two XY pads control pitch and position of the LFO.
Recording your performance while manipulating all the various controls and settings is always a snap, and fun.
My only complaints are that it seems to crash a bit often, and it could use a few more adjustable parameters to enjoy.
Curtis for iPad opens sonic doorways that might have been otherwise unknown. It’s expressive, random, specific, chaotic, or whatever you want it to be. It’s all wrapped up into a tidy single screen easy to use interface. It’s powerful, elegant and fun. It’s no toy, but go ahead and play with it.
All things considered, and after having a real nice time with Curtis for iPad I recommend it to those interested in having the ability to really shred up sounds, and explore new textures you can’t get anywhere else. 4/5 Stars!
Purchase Curtis for iPad at the App Store here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/curtis-for-ipad/id384228003?mt=8#
Great review. I love Curtis, when I have time to mess with it.