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Thicket for the iPad: Finger Painting for the 21st Century

Remember those blissful afternoons in kindergarten, where nap time was followed by the comfort of covering your hands in paint and letting your creative genius go wild? Well, here it is: finger-painting for the 21st century.

Interval Studio’s Thicket takes advantage of the iPad’s and iPhone’s touchable screens to let users draw music in real-time with your fingertips, thereby falling into the category of what Apple calls “Generative Art and Sound" (combining visual and sonic tools).

Moving and holding the screen in multiple positions affects how the app looks and sounds in real-time. Users can trace brilliantly hued line visualizations with their fingers, which then float around the screen moving in rhythm with the music they hear. Tapping various spots creates and adds new beats to the main rhythm, which then play in a continuous loop.

In “Sinemorph”, the default mode, you can add on up to three additional packs for $0.99. The unappealing-sounding “Scary Ugly” mode incorporates white noise elements with glitch-core sounds but lacks a beat. “Love” is reminiscent of a pipe organ in space, the visualizations reflecting the base beat that sounds like vibrating strings. Last but not least is “Cathedral”, which allows users to create and move circles and rectangular shapes, creating pleasant, reverbing arpeggios.

In all the modes, users are free to experiment, creating alterations that depend on the number of fingers used, the patterns drawn, the speed at which they are drawn, and the angle at which the device is placed.

Thicket is similar to Uzu, billed as a ‘kinetic multi-touch particle visualizer’ that allows the user to freeze and move the app in 3D space while molding and twisting spiro-graphic curves with their fingers. Unlike Thicket, Uzu, available for $1.99, allows users to switch between 10 different modes of real-time animation by simply changing the number of touches they use, even providing a pretty snazzy transparency option. Thicket, conversely, seems to be a good combination of versatility and control that would allow a club, DJ, or party organizer to let multiple, random people mess with the app without rendering the results un-listenable or even un-danceable, while still clearly allowing users to control the sound.

Thicket also has a VGA-out support, which means users can connect their iPad to a projector and watch its magic on a big screen. It even lets users share their musical genius via AirPlay. If a greater variety of beats and sounds were to be added to the app, one could easily imagine it being used at a nightclub or lounge, the crazily gyrating visuals creating a perfect atmosphere to listen and dance to the accompanying rhythms.

There seems to be no one-specific use for Thicket, however. While it looks to be a fun and creative medium for those inclined to experimenting with music and light, my 10-year-old cousin seemed to summed up its use nicely: after playing around with it for about ten minutes, he looked up and asked, “Okay, now what?”

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