Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
iPhone Integration Rating:
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Forget everything you know about reproduction and imagine for a moment that your grandfather's record player, your Atari 2600, and a drum machine all had a kid. Other than having a hard time in grade school and some really awkward Thanksgivings, that kid would almost certainly have some sweet samples up it's sleeve and a great retro interface. Drumcircle RH would be that funky child's name.
Drumcircle RH is a pixelated little music app that allows users to create their own musical loops via 27 samples and simulated instruments and an unconventional, rotating scrub bar. This scrub bar rotates at a constant rate, much like a radar screen. Users choose from the app's samples and instruments and places corresponding dots on the drumcircle, and when the rotating scrub bar hits each dot that particular sample is played.
The circular track of Drumcircle RH is an interesting departure from the usually linear set up seen in most loop generation apps. While this unique approach to placing samples and creating loops is fun, it does end up being more difficult to fine-tune your loops. Using the circular track, it can be difficult to fit every sample needed for that perfect loop and it is tricky trying to work around the smaller inner tracks.
The musical key of the samples can be changed via the options menu and the pitch of each sample placed on the circular track can be adjusted by placing two fingers on either side of the dot and twisting. The twisting works great, and it's great to hear the pitches change on the fly, but fitting fingers in between all of the sample dots can be near impossible when the tracks get crowded.
Certain menus in Drumcircle RH can get a little clunky and instead of being able to navigate back and forth through options the user can only navigate forward and has to flip through all of that menu's options to get back to the first option. The control bar located on the rotating scrub bar which controls the loop's tempo is another particularly difficult option to use. To change the tempo, the user must touch and slide the control bar back and forth on the scrub bar, but with the scrub bar constantly rotating it can be very hard to catch without inadvertently changing the position of one of the sample dots beneath it.
Drumcircle RH is a fun music app and it's options will allow users to be creative and have a great time creating their loops. Serious musicians looking for a serious musical app will need to look elsewhere though. Especially since there is currently no way to export saved loops out of the app. Drumcircle is great at what it does though and the retro interface looks great even if it is a bit hard to use.