LPF: Adjusts the "Low-Pass Filter" by tilting the smartphone screen left or right
Play/Pause: Starts or stops the musical pattern in the sequencer
Scale Selector (four options): Changes the musical scale of the sequencer
Attack Slider: Adjusts the time for the "Attack" envelope
Tempo Display: Shows the tempo of the pattern in the sequencer
Tempo Selector: Changes the speed of the pattern in the sequencer
Waveform Selector (four options): Changes the type of synthesized waveform oscillator
Release Slider: Adjusts the time for the "Release" envelope
Delete (represented by a trash can symbol): deletes patterns and layers in the sequencer
This list of features does not suggest that Kuno works without problems. Like most free music apps, this one has limited features. To unlock the "LPF," as well as all options for the "Scale Selector" and "Waveform Selector," users are given two choices. Either watch advertisements in their entirety to use for a limited time, or pay $0.99 each to keep these features. It also costs an extra $0.99 to remove all advertisements in Kuno. One aspect that I find odd about unlocking these features is how the app randomly picks which features to open and lock: either depending on what the program or users choose. This means that people who use Kuno will most likely not get the same features twice.
Concening the scales and waveform in the selector features, the app does not clearly define which types of scales the app includes (diatonic, chromatic, whole-tone, twelve-tone, etc.), nor which kind of waveform (sine, square, triangle, sawtooth, or pulse). Instead, Kuno groups these visually by color (orange, light-blue, green, and magenta) and beat duration in squares. Perhaps, it is possible that the developers were trying to create this app by addressing Synesthesia, or the extrasensory association of musical or other aspects through color.
Other problems with Kuno stem from its awkward aspect ratio. Like the ARPIO app that I reviewed earlier this month, people must use Kuno horizontally with both hands and thumbs. The top and bottom parts of the screen are also truncated. Although it is possible for people to play higher and lower tones in the sequencer, the highest and lowest rows are oddly cut in half. Additionally, Unity advertises Kuno as a "musical toy" rather than as an instrument. This toy also does not offer recording capabilities. People must use an external recording app on their smartphone in order to achieve this goal. If the app is left alone after several minutes of inactivity, it will time itself out, reduce the brightness of the screen and notify users until they are ready to keep using the app.
Kuno gives people options for "Liking" the app on Facebook, as well as rating the app and recommending it on Twitter. Given everything that I have discussed about the Kuno app, is it worth trying out and keeping? I think so. Yes, sitting through advertisements or paying $0.99 to unlock more content may be a bit annoying, and people cannot record directly from the app. These are small sacrifices, though, and it is worth using in the end.
I used Kuno and other programs to create this: bit.ly/2QKjmbk
Kuno is available for free (with in-app purchases) via Google Play on Android smartphones.