Get a free algorithmic bass drum generator, a lo-fi modulator, a massive granular workstation, for free – and that’s just the beginning.
Micah Frank is one of the most prolific sound designer-inventor-composer types around, via his Puremagnetik soundware label and personal projects. Lately, he’s been turning some of these larger, more experimental projects into free tools that you can both use in your own music – and learn from and expand.
Last summer, we saw an expansive, unparalleled granular tool take form as both album and free code:
But now, Micah has gone further – way further. The new series is a set of plug-ins called Prototypes. That granular instrument from last summer has become what is really a full-fledged tool like no other, and now is available in plug-in form. There are new tools in a slightly more pre-release state, true to the “prototype” name. But all are ready to use – and they offer a window into the power of Csound, the fully free and open-source omni-platform sound toolkit that is descended the very first digital audio tools ever created.
Kickblast (an algorithmic bass drum generator)
Parallel (a lo-fi modulator)
And a much developed (not so prototype-ish) plugin version of my multitrack granular workstation Grainstation C
Pre-built plug-ins for VST and Audio Unit are available for macOS and 64-bit Windows. I think it’s trivial to build for some other platforms (I need to check that out), or you can also run in Csound directly. Find those in the Builds section of his GitHub:
It’s all open-source (GNU GPLv2 license), and while you can run it as a plug-in, the sound code is all in Csound. Full repository:
Micah tells CDM he hopes that some of you will discover what Csound can do in your own work. ” Csound is my favorite,” Micah says. The “spectral, granular, convolution sound” is one of the best available, he raves. “I feel like it needs an awareness push, as the music-making community is much more ready to code than they were in the ’80s. And the learning curve from Max (or even a modular system) to Csound is not so bad.”
Follow Micah on Instagram, so you get some pretty nature shots interspersed with your music nerd goodness. My kind of influencer.