Dave Griffiths and Aphex Twin have released a weird sample mashing app called Samplebrain. It’s free, open source and will keep you busy for the rest of the week.
The idea is that you have a target sample that you’d like to mess about with. Samplebrain chops it up and tries to match it with blocks from other samples that are held in its “brain”. So, it’s something to do with one sound interpreting another sound through a network of similarity.
Over the development in 2015 and 2016 they added more and more parameters to the point that it’s mostly a glitch fest of chaotic noise. Although that depends on your adeptness at choosing samples and grasping the effect of things.
Dave explains the idea on his ThenTryThis.org website:
Below is a schematic sketch from when we were planning how it should work, showing bits of waveforms being matched to a target on the right. We planned more visualisation like this, but as we focused on the real time aspects, listening became key to understanding how it was working.
Thankfully there’s a demo session you can download (separately) that at the very least confirms that the glitchy noise-laden strangulation of samples that you are hearing is about right and you’re not doing it wrong with your own samples.
Samplebrain is a fascinating way to generate interesting outcomes from samples you already have. It’s eco-friendly and creative to the point of being obsessive. It’s available for macOS, Linux and Windows, and you should probably give it a whirl.
- Samplebrain schematic and early version: Dave Griffiths