The ABYSS from Tracktion uses a unique Tone Colour Gradient system to visualise the sonic qualities of the synthesis and sound generation.
This is very different. It has an immediately striking visual vibe, something in the minimalist design, the playful interactions and this fascinating Tone Colour Gradient that explodes into 2000 colourful tonal possibilities.
You can browse through the swarm of coloured sounds and then drag several of them onto the gradient bar in order to morph and fade between them. Morphing can be done with a mouse, via internal modulation from LFOs or envelopes or from hardware control as you play. Abyss is an MPE compatible synthesizer and so has many ways it can be modulated.
The modulation engine contains all sorts of different waveforms, you can sync them or not, flip them and divide them by time. They can polyphonically act upon every note or run as a global modulator. Two of the LFOs have inbuilt quantisation which can run as step sequencers with defined scales. And everything can modulate everything else – you can get as crazy as you want in there.
The individual tones can be edited and pushed about to get closer to pure waveforms or blurred through tonal filtering. You can introduce noise and mix in organic textures of movement and beating
There’s also a built-in resonant filter, some panning and level control and some Dirt to add saturation and grit to the output.
At the bottom is the effects section represented by some interesting hand-drawn icons. The wavy lines are a Phaser that seems to be described as various oceanic locations. The Reverb is represented by a jellyfish and a Shimmer effect takes on the persona of some kind of sea creature, or it could be some kelp. The Delay is all about bubbles.
Abyss is an unexpected synthesizer with a surprising amount of power and possibility. It looks so gentle and simple with a brilliantly clean interface and yet the modulation and tonal possibilities are huge and potentially complex. Tracktion has released a few interesting synths lately and this one, designed by Peter V, a mathematician, AI and musician, fits right in.
Abyss is available now for macOS and Windows for $77.40.