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New Face Award

Rhythmushi

NARUSE Tsubasa

Character merchandise [Japan]

This is an iPhone app that combines elements of animation with an instrument in which the hand-drawn character "Rhythmushi" dances in time to the music when the buttons are pressed. A number of series have been presented using the same character, including Oto-sketch, in which the user draws a sketch to play music, and Rap-mushi, in which the user can enjoy being a rap DJ; as a result, it has become a popular app, with a total of more than 2 million downloads. The app has been deployed in a wide range of areas, inspiring serializations in women's magazines and product sales, such as T-shirts.

© Tsubasa Naruse

Profile

NARUSE Tsubasa

Japan

Born in Aichi in 1986. Entered the Kunitachi College of Music in 2005 and, aside from researching computer-generated music in the Department of Music, Culture and Design, he has undertaken various performance activities as a jazz pianist and keyboard player. He is currently enrolled in the graduate program at Tama Art University, where he is active in the fields of sound and media art.

( 2011 )

Award Reason

A high-level instrument/DJ app operated via a mascot
Although there are many music apps, the Rhythmushi series launched in 2010 has already been downloaded more than 2 million times. The work was evaluated highly for its strong design and humor, which broke the stereotype of music apps as cool and remote and tore away the deep psychological complex and self-consciousness that Japanese feel when getting into Western music. The app is skillfully put together. Rather than taking the obvious route and creating a cute mascot, the developer mediates the experience of using the app through the Rhythmushi character—so roughly sketched in pencil that seemingly anyone could have drawn it — to better enable users to focus on the instrumental sound samples and the process of tapping them to create the music. We look forward to what this graduate student in art, having created an appealing music app that received such overwhelming popularity, will do in the future.

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