Music-making in the age of ElectroPlankton: colliding organisms and physics may be just as likely on your plug-in interface as the usual fake-aluminum knobs. NuSofting’s Collide and Play.

Johan Larsby points us to a developer contest at the mind-bogglingly comprehensive audio plug-in site, KVR Audio:

KVR Audio Developer Challenge

Developers are competing for a prize fund donated by readers and users, currently up to US$1770 (probably more than you’d make from a small plug). Developer entries are currently closed, but that means voting is on. There are 31 entries; the contest is pretty Windows-biased with only 5 Mac-compatible entries, which makes me suspect that cross-platform developers will have a major edge in voting.

Of course, the upshot of all of this is that you get to take advantage of lots of free software — just leave a few dollars in the hat to keep the thing going. Here are a few of the more unusual contributions:

  1. Bram Bros Lunchbox Battles: “Play drum contests in your lunchbreaks and earn street cred from your coworkers with your block rocking jams!”
  2. Videovst by Metamorphosis: “Videovst is a freeware VST plugin for playing back MPEG1 movie files in time-sync with your favourite audio host.”
  3. Pondular by Mopiskevin @ “Pondular is a unique way of interacting with a synth. The grid on the screen is your “pond.” Playing notes or clicking creates ripples in the pond.”
  4. Collide and Play by NuSofting: Standalone program for Windows designed to compose ambient music in realtime by the interaction of animated graphic elements

There are also some very mature-looking instruments and effects in there, including some feature-laden pattern sequencers, compressors, and synthesizers, as well as the usual experimental stuff and a random plug-in featuring a picture of a voluptuous woman in a Catwoman outfit to “sweeten” your sound.

Updated: Johan’s own submission is one that should interest a lot of you: Repeatler is a real-time “sample accumulator” for adding loops from prerecorded or live sources. I’m constantly getting requests for plug-ins just like this, so the fact that this is simple, elegant, free, and Mac/Windows compatible probably means you’ll want to check out the download!

Repeatler from Larsby of BetaBugs is a live looper plug-in for Mac and Windows.

Not that I’m necessarily endorsing them for victory, but I find it interesting that there are unusual new, game-like interfaces with built-in physics, as I think you’ll see a lot more of this in the future. (From me, even, if I can keep practicing my ActionScript skills.) I had to picture those, because I’ve seen enough of the usual plug-in interface fare.

May the best contribution win!

Like, totally Pondular: probably the first of many liquid-simulation interfaces for music. Now if I just had a virtual skipping-stone …