If we can connect to artists through albums, especially as producers ourselves, why not through instruments and effects, too? A new release from Bari, Italy hard core/hard techno artist Carbone comes in the form of a software collaboration. And the results are suitably grimy and fantastic.

Carbonizator is the work of artist David Carbone (who conceptualized the effect), developer Domenico Cipriani, and designer Pasquale Ascione, released on Bandcamp as AU and VST3 plug-in for macOS and Windows. I’ve been working with the software since its Valentine’s Day release and – yeah, nothing but love for this one. Amidst lots of other tube-model waveshapers, this one is unique in its personality and easily worth the €14.99 suggested price.

The architecture here:

  • Three valve-modeling harmonic distortion / waveshaping algorithms, selected by color (red, purple, and green)
  • Distortion and intensity, for amount
  • Highpass and lowpass filters, each with frequency modulation
  • Per-filter LFO controls for filter FM, with speed, amount, and two waveforms (square/sine)
  • Resonance control
  • Amplitude modulation with its own LFO (again amount, speed, and two waveforms)

It’s a really clever setup, and even if you have something like this, those particular valve waveshapers sound unique to me. It’s also possible to tame what you’re doing with the combination of filters and master out, so it’s not only about extreme settings.

Because it’s on Bandcamp, you get sound samples in their player:

I spoke to Domenico about how this came about. Domenico is more than just a dev, too, as half of the all-analog live hardware duo The Analogue Cops:

I have been a friend of Davide Carbone and Pasquale Ascione (who did the beautiful raving graphics) for almost 10 years. We met in Berlin at a techno party and we share a passion for fast and nasty hard techno and old school hardcore — even if I play a little bit softer than Davide.

This summer, Carbone discovered from Marieu (my partner in The Analogue Cops) that I was making audio plugins and applications with JUCE and C++. He really liked my work for Soft Computing (the Synthcussion and the Data Dump Mutator), so he got in contact to give a digital shape to his vision for a crunchy crazy distortion pedal with 3 different types of circuits, a double filter with LFO capable of audio rate FM and a debauched Amplitude Modulation engine I have been researching waveshaping techniques with Symbolic Sound Kyma for almost 2 years ( you can get a touch of it on these sample collection https://softcomputing.bandcamp.com/album/raveshaped-drums-sample-pack)so I felt easy to translate the signal processors I was using for my own samples from Smalltalk to C++.
This is the result, a distortion unit that can range from subtle harmonic distortion to total destruction but with an internal care of a filter network design to always get a sound that can fit in the mix.

The Synthcussion is well worth your time, too – also available via Bandcamp:

And the Data Dump Mutator is pure madness – so if the above is too tame for you, glitch out, friends!

What kind of mayhem can you make with this? Let’s pair it with the Synthcussion and find out! Adding FM to the filter or AM adds some harmonic hotness, but check also all you can do with the filters and different models – even with this intentionally odd Synthcussion pattern:

For more distortion inspiration in an actual music context, there’s a ton on the Carbone Records site – like this one:

Gonna light some candles, make a nice romantic dinner for myself, and chillout with this one.