I was looking through some old sounds I'd archived created by some Max patches I made a few years ago. At the time I was playing around with ring modulation in Max, seeing how far I could push it. Here are a few sounds from that period, chosen for their spectrogram. I love the way the frequencies collide, split and multiply...
This is my favourite of the
toolbox players so far. As the name suggests, instead of playing complete
sounds from start to finish the container plays a slice from a random point in
the file. Further controls can randomly adjust pitch and the length of slice played along with a few other options. What excites me about this device is how useful it is for creating a non-linear or generative
system for aiding the design process. In short: designing the system to design the sound rather than designing the
This patch is based on an old
idea I started to develop a few years ago - a machine which would take a bunch
of sounds and combine them together in new ways. I got quite far with its
development, then Twisted Tools released the S-Layer instrument that was
basically the device I was working on, finished and better than anything I
thought I could make! Looking back, this wasn’t really a good reason to stop,
but I ended up working on other projects and that all got stuffed in the ‘half
finished things’ folder. Thinking again about the concept now though, I can see new life for
the idea if it is part of a modular system. So instead of creating a finished
device I’m now aiming for small modules that can be strung together by the user
to create more complex architectures.
In its basic state, the patch implements one of the most simple sound design techniques of them all: combining more than one sound to create a new sound. This is still the most fundamental process we have, and it is still often a manual process: loading up a DAW, browsing libraries, combining sound on multiple tracks, making adjustments in pitch, position etc. Because of their complexity, some sounds require more layers and the process can become very time consuming. This tool comes in useful is when you have many sounds to combine but there is no specific combination necessary, so it works well for abstract sounds or layers such as impacts or sweeteners.
The patch itself is
delightfully simple to use:
1.Drop a folder of sounds
2.Set polyphony to whatever
3.Choose envelope shape
4.Set slice size parameters
5.Set pitch variation and
6.Trigger with a bang in the
left inlet or trigger with Uzi to fire off combinations of multiple sounds
Polyphony is set on the
dial at a maximum of 64, but this can be changed in the patch itself if you
need more voices. Polybuffer~ is at the heart of
this patch, I’m finding it such a useful object for sample based work like
this. The patch itself is fairly well annotated so it should be
fairly easy to understand what is happening.
To give you a flavour of
how I’m using this I've put together some example sounds thrown together very quickly
during the testing phase. I tend to find some settings I like, set the patch
running with a metro and then record out a string of those sounds.
Please let me know if you have any problems or suggestions, these patches are still a work in progress and are likely to change before I call them finished.
These patches are licensed under:
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your
work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new
creations under the identical terms.