App

Create your own calming and relaxation soundscapes

Price: $3/£3
Version: 1.0
Size: 21.7 MB
Developer: Studio Amplify
Platform: iPhone / iPad

Cosm

The iPhone has quickly become one of the most important tools in our lives, from listening to music, to journaling, to managing our health. Cosm is an app that brings all three together, allowing you to create your own relaxing soundscapes to help with things like anxiety and stress.

Tap the screen to create layers of sounds

On opening the app, you’re invited to start moving through various sounds, each with their own suitably calming names like “sutra”, or “hatha”, before using your finger to tap and drag on your device’s screen to trigger layers of sounds. Move between the available sounds, edit their pitch or scale, and add one on top of the other.

On the surface, this app reminds us a lot of the Brian Eno produced-app Bloom, which does something very similar, with a design and sound library that’s quintessential Eno. That app was more an exploration in ambience and sound design, whereas Cosm has taken the basic concept and directly retargeted it on mental health. In fact, the developers directly reference Eno’s app as an influence on their iTunes page.

The app subtly prompts you to reflect on your soundscape

What sets it apart is the aforementioned journalling element. As you add layers, the app provides messaging advising you to think about how the sounds are making you feel. Once you’ve finished your session, you can save it, where it asks you to name the soundscape, but also add notes about how you reacted to today’s particular sounds. Then, next time you’re after something specific – say, to help you feel calm, or focused, or happy – you can simply find something you’ve created before and quickly fire it up.

The art design is decent: more modern, but less interesting than its contemporary, Brian Eno’s Bloom

So, that’s the skinny. But how does it fair to other apps of its ilk? Well, to continue the Eno comparison at this point is largely unnecessary. Put simply, our view is that sound-wise it doesn’t quite reach the complex depths of Bloom, but it’s sounds are at least more familiar in terms of relaxation ambiance. In terms of other health-focused music apps, Cosm does much better, thanks to its focus on saving soundscapes by feeling.

The journaling feature is strong – add notes about how the soundscape made you feel to listen later

In terms of the sounds themselves, they’re relatively subtle. There are wave-like sounds, tinkling notes, and random scrapes and dings. There’s plenty there – 30 different sounds in fact, but the most frustrating thing is that not only are the sounds not in alphabetical order, you have to scroll through them manually, rather than access a list. If you liked a sound, moved on to the next, then wished to go back, you’d have to remember its name, tap 29 times, and hope you don’t miss the one you were after. Admittedly, it’s simple – but it’s not exactly user-friendly.

The app saves the list of your work for later access

As for creating soundscapes we were happy with – it’s not an easy task, and it’s why other apps that do this for you are so valuable. Cosm would be great if it had a few examples, because often we wanted to create a soundscape that made us feel a certain way and failed miserably. However, it’s personalization approach makes it unique and as long as you’re willing to put the time in to play around and enjoy a more reactive approach, then Cosm is a great investment.

Cosm - create your own calming and relaxation music
A great, personalized soundscape creation app
For
  • A decent amount of sounds
  • The journalling element is a nice touch
  • Good for musicians - you can export the sounds
Against
  • You can't access an easily selectable list of sounds
  • If you have something in mind to create, it's tricky
4.0Overall Score