If you've ever dreamed of talking like a robot while warping at high speeds through hyperspace, then look no further: Vio lets you simultaneously fulfill both of those wishes. Part toy and part tool, this bizarre musical app takes a little tinkering to get a feel for, but it's a blast to play around with for a while once you figure it out.
Using your iOS device's microphone, Vio transforms your voice and other sounds it picks up into a musical mish-mash of sci-fi robotic craziness. You can talk, sing, hum, speak, or just make random noises to create wild effects. Tapping, pinching, and swiping the star field in different ways changes the audio and the trippy vortex on the screen. A dozen presets give you a lot of variety in the kinds of sounds you can make, and it's possible to create repeating audio loops. Some effects make you sound like the adorable turret robots in the game Portal, while others pulse and warp your voice into techno synth tracks. There's even a hilarious auto-tune effect amusingly dubbed "P-Tain." It's funny for sure, but what's the point?
All of these audio diversions are amusing to tinker with in an abstract way, but only the most inventive music-minded users will find Vio of any real use beyond its giggle-inducing capacity. If you're inclined to go that route, hooking your iOS device to a stereo or multi-track recorder opens up potential for using Vio in a more serious musical capacity for vocals and sound effects. The option to make in-app recordings that you can upload to SoundCloud is a nice touch too. Vio's on-board user guide doesn't explain its functions very clearly, however, making it appear shallower than it really is. Unfortunately, you'll have to hit the app's website for a full explanation.
The bottom line. Vio is a weird and wondrous audio toy for robot-minded folks, but it has limited practical musical appeal outside of the electronica realm.
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