Adventures in Granular
Over two years ago I had the idea to create a granular synth for the Monome. I was always impressed by the idea of granular synthesis for its close relationship to sampling. In essence it is micro-sampling combined with various modulations.
One of the things that always got me caught up about most granular stuff was that the grains themselves were semi-static micro-samples reliant on the source audio. For me this always equalled more an effect than an instrument. As I thought about a new creation I wanted to focus on the idea of the grain being as dynamic as the modulations.
A lot easier than it sounds. Over the two years since I’ve attempted no less than three times. But alas this week I figured it out. The result is mngrn. Now be forewarned this post is a little premature because I’ve basically just gotten past the proof of concept stage (aka I can make a song with it). There’s still a lot of details to be worked out, but I’m too excited not to share. Here’s 12Seconds:
The first six seconds of the clip has a typical granular sound, with grain clouds being produced and modulated. The second half shows how it can be played in a pitch based manner. What isn’t shown in the video is how the grains themselves are created. Basically there’s a modifiable dual oscillator synth with which you can feed source audio into the buffer. This can be singular notes or full melodies, which are then sourced for grains, and then modulated in a granular fashion. The synth itself is fully modifiable so that the source audio can change for an infinite combination of possibilities.
It’s got me excited to make some more new music, and incorporate it into the live rig. And in true synchronicity the following video of Curtis Road talking Granular and the early days of Electronic Music hit the web today. Inspiration overload:
I highly suggest you pop over to Curtis Roads blog for more including the other parts of this video. Your life may never be the same.