NOISEPLUG from smider on Vimeo.

The art of making sound software and the art of making electronic music can be closely bound with one another. That means tools that embody a certain compositional idea. You can choose to use them or abuse them – or simply gain some insight into the sonic imaginations of the people who created them.

Italy-based musician and software designer Guido Smider writes to share his free (as-in-beer), Max/MSP-built sound tools for Intel Macs. Most impressive is the new 1.8 upgrade to his Noiseplug, a collaboration with Tobor Experiment / Giorgio Sancristoforo, known also under the software label Gleetchplug.

Tobor Experiment’s ambient works are quite beautiful and worth exploring on their own, spanning massive sound design projects in which environmental sounds and steel foundry field recordings get rewoven into slick, pulsing electronic music:
Sancristoforo / Works

audioscan MILANO – Noise transformed into ambient music from Giorgio Sancristoforo on Vimeo.

But Sancristoforo’s work may be better known in Gleetchlab software. Built in Max/MSP, that has included simulations of late 50s electroacoustic music studios and the underground hit Gleetchlab. Coupling various tools and patches, Gleetchlab makes some popular sound processing techniques from ambient, IDM, and glitch genres more accessible.

Noiseplug is in the same mold, and it might work a little too well. Filled with random sequencers and loopers, filters and EQ, reverbs, granular delays, and random frequency cutoffs, with an entire drum synth built in, it’s a bit like having an IDM producer in a box.

What’s nice about it, though, as Smider points out, is that it’s built for modular, real-time performance. “You can use samples, synthesis, and sound processing without saving presets to use noiseplug like a musical instrument,” he says.

Here’s a live performance from a couple of months ago, realized using the latest 1.8 version:

Add.Structure from smider on Vimeo.

Find all of Smider’s music tools, including the Gleetchplug collab:

Just seeing the tool isn’t the whole story. I’ve had a great time now exploring Guido Smider’s Vimeo archive, which includes some really terrific music for commercial and independent gigs, some in collaboration with Andro Smider.

Share from smider on Vimeo.

PIERREANCY from smider on Vimeo.

It’s great to see the command Smider has over his work, in being able to work with tools like Max to shape the sounds he wants, through to being able to share the software and the music with other people as a product.

  • smider

    Thanks i didn't know. Special thanks to Tobor Experiment for the fantastic ideas. Now T~lde coming soon…

  • I can't try it on my system, but I see some good ideas here… 
    Actually as you say these virtual instruments probably are best use by those who created them, but make me think that who really wants to make electronic music, should get his hands a bit dirty and program his own tool from time to time.
    The more I study the matter the more I realize that that's what electronic music really is about, the creation of a timbre, an interface and a process, ultimately the creation of an instrument and a way of intereacting with it.
    of course programming isn't the only way… soldering is another one, the creative "misuse" or the modification of existing technology is yet another one

  • Ah, yes! Gleetchlab was one of my favourite tools and is actually what got me into max/msp in the first place. I'm a very happy man to see noiseplug, and it's looking even better than gleetchlab did.

    so nice

  • @Papernoise:

    "The more I study the matter the more I realize that that’s what electronic music really is about, the creation of a timbre, an interface and a process, ultimately the creation of an instrument and a way of intereacting with it."

    This is such a wonderful analysis. From this perspective, and rightfully so, I think, one could look at hip-hop (some elements of it) as a specific subfield of electronic music, with its processing being grounded in records and sampling.

    Wish I could use this tool on a ppc mac. Have yet to get an intel one, just slowly awaiting complete obsolescence….: )

  • it's unfortunate the user cannot open up either gleetchlab or the smider noise program. i think the individual (or at least myself) could gain much from doing so, by tweaking things to their personal taste.

    the matrix can only have it's connections made and broken by the mouse cursor. aka make 1 connection and break 1 connection at a time.

    if one is wants to divert a signal instantly from one destination and send it to another, this cannot be done.

    if we could open up and see the guts of the program, one would be able to create a touchosc interface, or monome control of the matrix patchbay.

    there is positive that comes out of this obstacle, being if i want to do this, i have to rebuild their software from scratch (which i've begun already) and it's a great learning experience.


  • rich

    Do you have a link to the free download? Am I missing something? The software is not free on their site.

  • rich

    Sorry I found it. The free stuff is at:

    Just to clarify.

  • That definitely looks very interesting and can't wait to try it out.

    @Peter – I've been following this blog for quite a while since I stumbled into it through your review of Lilypond. I'd like to see if you could consider reviewing this piece of software called 'Symbolic Composer'&nbsp ;
    I downloaded it and gave it a try, its very very similar to Lilypond in terms of compiling programmed text into musical information, only at a much deeper level with trying to link composition with chaos theory (!!), Gaussian curves and so on…!

    I can definitely see that this is something right up your alley and would love to see it being featured here.


  • I would like a review of Symbolic Composer as well. I have been looking at it but the lack of examples does let me think twice before that much money on the software. If there is somebody with experience with the program, I would like to hear about it.
    BTW: where can I download noiseplug? I can only download gleetchlab.

  • jonah

    There is a link is two comments above you 🙂
    Noise plug is great! Huge thanks to the creators.

    Symbolic Composer looks interesting.  I'm going to try the demo now.

    Speaking of obscure audio software. How about a review of Composers Desktop Project?&nbsp ;

    It sounds intriguing, but no demo, limited screen shots and not even a youtube video of it in operation.

  • If mr. jóhannsson is this enthusiastic about it, i'm taking a look. good work everybody!

  • I'm tempted to volunteer to write a review of Symbolic Composer. On the other hand, why would I want to drop Csound in favor of an entirely new language?

  • On digging deeper into their web pages, however, I find that Symbolic Composer doesn't work in real time and doesn't have synthesis capabilities. It generates MIDI data. No, thanks.

  • cdbsn

    anyone else having issues getting this to run? i launch it, then it freezes. :/

  • cdbsn

    nevermind. rookie mistake.

  • isn't working for me, been trying a few days. Anyone else?

  • Doesn't work for me either – I'm running an Edirol UA 25 sound card on an intel mac – in Settings, it picks up the Edirol ok for input – but registers no output…?

  • I can back up my claim of inspiration there. Just take a look at my first max/msp creations:&nbsp ;

    If the program "Le Grande" isn't obviously inspired by this program, plus the addition of synthesizers, very programmable drum synths (gleetchlab did not have that, but I wanted it, and obviously Guido wanted it too) and the pitch delay. Of course, I did this with beginner knowledge and it's probably flawed as hell, but still, I feel very satisfied with it as a first project…

  • Great stuff … but i missed the save option or is it not available on purpose ?

  • Brian

    No output through my mbp onboard sound…its displaying an output its all working aside from that. One thing I noticed is that on first load it tries to open another window but it quickly shuts down… Subsequent restarts and it goes straight to one window mode I assume there is supposed to be other windows from the video…ie mixer window which might explain why there is no sound.

  • Brian

    P.S Are other people with this issue running the latest max/msp/jit version?

  • Sam

    I can't get my MBP sound to work either.  Additionally, I too see the app attempt to open a window that quickly disappears.

    The Sound ON setting in the Settings window will not "stick" and causes the program to crash when engaged.

    The program refuses to launch.  Too bad as it looks interesting.