KRFT is one of the apps that I have just been begging to dive into for the past 6 months but with school still in progress and a ton of other projects already on the front burners I haven’t had time. Now school is out and I get to play some!
KRFT – Modular Music Production – (Discounted 33% until June 22nd!)
I really like to try to find alternative ways for my music students to perform. I like to perform using interfaces/instruments that do not fit into the traditional mold as well. We ARE trying to teach music in the 21st century right? In the past I’ve always had some grand ideas of being able to have this pre-recorded music that I could instantly play various sections of and still be able to tweak in various ways as I felt fit in the moment. The traditional DAW has not allowed this flexibility and neither have simple looping apps. Now with KRFT I can have a great deal of flexibility, and spontaneity all in a layout that fits my method of creating/performing.
The idea is simple you have a layout of squares, triangle, and circles combined with buttons and knobs that control the music. (The cool glasses and espresso don’t hurt either!)
The app runs on iPhone as well, giving you even great flexibility in where and when you create and play.
When editing your layout you get a blank screen and from there start to build up your musical creation. You add these things called Musical Cells to your blank canvas. Inside of each of these cells you add either you music that you records, audio loops or you use the cells to morph and transform your music.
Recording some loops into some cells are probably the best spot to start – there are bass, drums and lead synths built into the app with quite a hefty list of possible sounds to choose from! From there creating a few fills loops might be next and then moving on to adding in some audio triggers. Then you get to start messing around with the buttons that tweak the sound – allowing you to control things like Volume, Tempo, Swing and Filter on the Master side of things. On each individual channels you get to set up morph triggers that affect individual channels – these are Filter Frequency, Pitch, Attack, Gate, Distortion Level and Mix, Level, Duration of Delay, Chorus Mix, and Channel Volume/Pan/Reverb. So you can see how involved you can get with the control of and morphing of your performance!
When entering in your music you have two methods of entering – the first is a grid of pads that allow for some creative input depending on where you tap the cell. The sound can be affected in several different ways – you can set Gain, Filter, Attack, Pitch and LFO to change depending on how high or low you tap on the grid. There are three rows of these pads to play that funky music on. The Master Tuning section decides that scale that gets used out of the 8 choices – Major, Minor, Harmonic, Doria, Mixolydian, Lydian, Phrygian and Lochrian.
OF course for this of you who simply want a piano roll/step time entry there is that possibility as well.
KRFT has quite a bit of versatility built into the app and could easily be an app that you use by itself. But, where is the fun in THAT?
As I mentioned, you have three different types of synth sounds built into the app each with a large variety of sounds to choose from. You can add multiple channels of each type too – so if you want several lead sounds simply add a new channel and away you go.
For those of us with other apps we want to tie into KRFT though it is easy to do. Simply add a MIDI channel, select the other app and away you go.
For those of you who want to take connectivity a step further than go ahead… feel free to incorporate your desktop DAW like Ableton Live or Logic as well! Any other app that is MIDI enabled is good to go here! In fact, any hardware that you have connected to your iOS device, that can be controlled via MIDI can be controlled with KRFT! Take a minute and let THAT sink in!
The developers are two brothers based out of London. I feel like they are onto something exciting here with the flexibility they are giving us in KRFT. It is more than just the flexibility though, it is also the fact that KRFT is pretty simple to figure out. IT doesn’t take long and even us adults can figure it out! Give a few students the task and time in class to figure this app out and they will catch on quickly as well. If they don’t though, there is a nice set of YouTube tutorials they have put together to help guide us through the process of getting going.
Of course what kind of guy would I be if I didn’t let you see the app in action? Here is a nice jam using the app to give you an idea of what all is possible. I do have to say that when Studio Amplify came out with their app NOIZ, I wanted so bad to be able to set up my very own creations instead of being held back by what someone else had created – Don’t get me wrong NOIZ is a blast to play but being given the ability to set things up as I wish, with my own music is like Christmas Morning!
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