Music on your iPad: Kurt Cobain and Vinyl Love

By , Contributor

Over the past year I’ve become a huge iPad fan, and I’m always on the look out for new and interesting apps. My desk is now paper free thanks to an app called Manage Lists, I use another app called Whiteboard which does what it says on the tin, it’s a ‘White Board’ on the iPad which lets you write with your finger. I never need get covered in a rainbow of magic markers ever again!

I’m also a massive fan of Zite, which is a personalized magazine for the iPad. Zite automatically learns what you like to read about, and here’s the clever bit, it gets smarter every time you use it. You pick which subjects you want to read and it finds new articles everyday. Being the music nut I am, I’ve selected ‘Music News’ which it delivers in fine form as well as specifying my favorite artists -- The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan -- it then delivers all the articles, blogs, and videos you want, and the best bit is its free! (I’ve now stopped buying various monthly music magazines).

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Another great app which works for me is Vinyl Love.  I love vinyl and this app turns your iPad into a record player complete with a virtual turntable. The app links to your iTunes library and shows all your albums including artwork in crates, which you flip through in order to find a record. Select a disc, and it appears on the turntable. The record even starts with a reassuring crackle. Everyone I’ve show this app to loves it!

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Which brings me around to my favorite new app, Kurt Cobain - The Graphic Novel.

Undoubtably, the iPad makes a great comic-book reader. The 9.7-inch screen may not be quite as big as a standard paper page but the easy zooming actually makes the story easier to read and brings the colours and drawings to life. Within a day of launching, the Marvel Comics iPad app became the #1 comic app in the iPhone App store and I’m not surprised, these things were made for the Pad.

Kurt Cobain: The Graphic Novel tells Cobain’s life story in comic book form creating a totally unique digital graphic experience, (the book was first issued in print by Omnibus in 2003 and became a bestselling paperback). 

Writers Barnaby Legg and Jim McCarthy have used biographical fact interwoven with references to the singer’s tortured self-image from Cobain’s point of view. The vibrant art by Flameboy captures both the subjective dreamscape and the objective reality of a tragic musical legend.

This app takes Cobain's story and plays it out as a visual depiction of his life. You can browse page by page, or zoom in and work your way through frame by frame. From the luminous colours of an idyllic childhood through the flamboyant hues of success and stardom, Cobain's story inevitably declines into a much darker palette. The script draws from the singer's tortured self-image as well as straightforward biographical fact so that the tone of the app fluctuates between subjective dream-state and objective reality.

For his 14th birthday, Cobain’s uncle gave him the option of a guitar or a bicycle as a gift; Cobain chose the guitar. Cobain formed Nirvana in 1987 and within two years, the band became a fixture of the burgeoning Seattle grunge scene. In 1991, the arrival of Nirvana’s "Smells Like Teen Spirit" marked the beginning of a dramatic shift of popular rock music away from the dominant genres of the 1980s.

During the last years of his life, Cobain struggled with drug addiction and the massive success of Nirvana with his underground roots. He also felt persecuted by the media.

On April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead in his home in Seattle, the victim of what was officially ruled a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. In ensuing years, the circumstances of his death became a topic of fascination and debate.

Kurt Cobain - The Graphic Novel for iPad is priced at $5.99.

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A former musician, Neil was in the 80's group The Cheaters who were once signed to EMI's Parlophone label, and released three albums. He was also a radio presenter and is still a regular music pundit on various BBC stations. Neil is the founder of the award winning web site This Day in Music which is…

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