Today the mad geniuses from Elepath, the app studio created by Vimeo founder Jake Lodwick, are debuting Keezy to the public. It's a deceptively simple app. You have eight buttons, each of which can record a short sound clip. To create a clip you sing, scream, beatbox and spit into your iPhone's microphone. You mix and match the samples over one another, using the loops like a drum machine to create killer beats and melodies. A slider on-screen allows you to delete or undo individual clips.
Lodwick introduced The Verge to the app at last year's South by Southwest Festival. For months it was our favorite trick to show off at parties, resulting in hours of drunken music-making revelry, but the company kept the service in private beta until now. In all our time experimenting with Keezy, however, we never managed to make anything quite as catchy as this track from comedian and musician Reggie Watts, which is being used to launch the app.
Elepath has made a number of strange and compelling services; its tagline is "tools and toys for the modern mind." They designed Moonbase for animating memes on the web and a to-do list called Thinglist for iOS. But designing a full-screen app for the iPhone was a challenge, says Lodwick. "There just aren't many options for displaying a menu in a full-screen iOS app. We eventually decided on a sliding dot in the middle of the screen that appears when the app is idle for a couple seconds. It's the only time I've felt like Android had the upper hand; another physical button would make it easier to do full-screen apps!"
Keezy is now available for free on the App Store, and Lodwick says the biggest users during the beta period have been musicians and children. "Kids love to scream and make fart noises into it and musicians use it to create quick sketches of musical ideas. What kids and musicians have in common is they both love hearing their own sounds," says Lodwick. "I mean, probably all humans enjoy hearing themselves, but kids and musicians have no hang-ups about it."