By FRANCIS PREVE
BACK IN 2008, I REVIEWED KORG’S ORIGINAL
KAOSSILATOR AND LOVED IT.
In 2010, I reviewed the Kaossilator Pro and really dug that. Both products were
ahead of the curve in their use of an X/Y touchpad that could be constrained to
speciﬁc keys, tunings, and modes. Today, this is the de facto standard for many
synths and music creation apps. Korg is a leader of the iOS synth pack with
iMS-20 and iElectribe apps, both of which sound fantastic and make creative use
the touchscreen. So I knew that I was in for a treat as I explored the
In the original Kaossilators, overdubbing your
parts was a destructive affair, adding new
parts by rewriting over a looping audio file. In
iKaossilator, that’s a thing of the past, since
you’re now working with five discrete tracks,
each with its own instrument.
Instrument types include lead, acoustic, bass,
chord, sound effects, drums, and user fi les (which
can be imported from your computer). The presets
that come with the app cover a wide range of musical ground, all of it leaning
toward the most popular
styles in music people shake a booty to, such as
house, electro, dubstep, and hip-hop, to name a few.
There are 50 loop sets, containing drums
and a few synth loops in various styles, to use
as starting points for your musical experiments.
Getting started is easy: Pick a loop set that has
the sonic character you’re looking for, keep the
parts you like, and erase/overdub the parts you
want to change. The interface lets you easily
select different parts from multiple presets, so you can grab an electro bass,
house drums, and a
chillout lead, then start from there.
As with the hardware Kaossilators, each of
the instruments makes intelligent use of the
X/Y interface. Left/right is pitch, while up/down
modifies one or more timbral features—usually
filter cutoff , but often in conjunction with sync
sweeps, LFO tricks, and/or delay-reverb effects.
What’s more, iKaossilator makes full use of
modern iOS amenities, like the ability to save
your creations, export the audio as wave data or
upload it to SoundCloud, import your own audio
loops, and even sync with WIST-capable apps for
quantized jam sessions.
Frankly, I’m blown away by how much Korg’s
Kaossilator tech has evolved in the past four
years. As an iOS app, this instrument has truly
come into its own, either as a synth tool in a DJ
rig, a groove-oriented tool in a keyboard rig, or
a way to kill time in airports and coffee houses.
Two thumbs way up on the iKaossilator.
PROS Five discrete drum/
synth tracks, each of which
can be up to 16 measures
long. Exports to WAV or
SoundCloud. Can save your
groove creations as presets.
WIST iOS sync.
CONS Animation borders on
cheesy, as do a few of the
The Kaossilator concept on Apple-ﬂavored steroids.