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    cjvitek's Avatar
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    Default Review: Bloom

    I saw this program mentioned on the front page a while back, and it seemed really cool to me. So I bought it recently to give it a shot. In some ways it measures up to the hype, and in other ways it doesn't.

    Basically, this program is a graphical interface to create synthesizer type music. When you start the program, you have the choice of listening, or creating. Listening simply is taking a passive role with a (random?) musical program the iPhone creates. Creating is making your own. When you choose listening, you can always add your own touched to the existing music, but it starts without you.

    When you choose create, there is no precreated music - you do it on your own. You have a screen, and depending where you tap, a "bubble" will appear, along with a note you can hear. You can tap the screen in repeated locations to create a cascade of bubbles and music notes. The bubbles will slowly expand and fade, following the slow decay or the musical note.

    This results in both a visually appealing and pleasently sounding rhythm that repeats based ona preset interval. You can add new notes at any time, and over time the music will fade away completely (unless you keep adding more notes).

    It does sound very nice, and a new-age kind of way. And the shifting colors are also nice to look at. And to top it all off, it is very easy to do - just start tapping the screen.

    But there were some problems I have with it. I do want to say that the program makes full use of multitouch. I was able to touch the screen simultaneously with four fingers, creating fouf different bubbles (at least I think it was simultaneous). However, you can't put your finger down and drag it to create an interesting sound effect - I think that functionality would be really cool.

    Also, the musical tones vary only in their octive. If might be nice to be able to have different "sounding" tones - maybe some sort of string instrument, wind instrument, etc. There are different "moods" you can choose, but from what I can see, they only alter the color and the octave of the music. And when choosing a new mood, you can mix them. If you switch moods, the previous music will be converted to the new mood. You can choose a shuffle mode, and that seems to shuffle it a little bit, but not enough for my tastes.

    Lastly, there is no way to save or record a pattern you really like. Once you play it, it will be gone (either when you leave the program, or when it slowly fades away). You can "freeze" a sequence (preventing the slow decay), but it only lasts while it is frozen - no permanent way to say it.

    Pros: Simply interface, looks and sounds very nice.
    Cons: Doesn't quite live up to the potential, some obvious features seem to be missing.

    All in all, this is a really cool program, but I think it has only scratched the surface of what might be capable. For $3.99, price isn't a big issue, but I found when I exited the program, I just wished for more. As such, I give it only 3.5 out of 5 stars. A good download, especially if it turns out they will be releasing updates with more features.

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