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
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:
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.
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.