Newfangled Audio and Eventide are bringing in some new chaotic oscillator techniques in the form of Pendulate which drags sound out of the physics of swinging oscillations – and it’s yours for free!
The interface is really different and that’s the first thing that strikes you. It’s quite weird how by making all the knobs square it totally throws you off your game and it takes a little bit of time to relax into it. And then there’s the sound which is deliciously unruly and slightly boggling. The interface lights up with animated waveform displays which are unsettlingly placed behind the controls. It feels uncomfortably smashed together, unique and unusual but in really interesting ways.
The oscillator is based upon a Double Pendulum. Exactly what that means is hard to tell but what we get is an oscillator that moves smoothly from a sine wave into realms of complete noise and chaos with lots of interesting space in between. You get to control the amount of chaos, the shape of it and how much it’s animated – this is before we get to modulation. There are two sub-oscillators and a sync option between the chaos and non-chaos whatever that may mean. The oscillator is then passed to the Wavefolder section that folds, drives and mixes the signal into new tonal arenas. And finally a low pass gate with its own envelope, resonance and frequency controls to give it some Buchla 292 flavour.
Along the bottom we find the modulators. This is very reminiscent of the Sandman plug-in from Unfiltered Audio, in fact, they would make for a very exciting combination. You have an ADSR and LFO which you can patch into any of the available parameters in the synthesizer. All possible outputs are available and can be patched multiple times. While the individual square knobs glow with modulation the background waveforms animate their connections wonderfully.
Pendulate is a really interesting take on West coast synthesis and has the potential to offer some fresh and innovative sounds. It’s free to use and download and requires no iLok to run on MacOS, Windows in AAX, AU and VST format but you will need to register.
If you like Pendulate then you are going to thoroughly enjoy Generate which expands Pendulate into a multi-oscillator chaotic epic – more details on that coming soon.