Going with the Grain (Dennis Miller)
Granular Synthesis - Ten granular synthesis programs to slice and dice your sounds
in: Electronic Musician, Oct 2008
(...) Karlheinz Essl has been quietly producing creative music tools for years, and REplay PLAYer is just one of his many offerings. The program’s interface is divided into four main areas: Mode, Grains, Pitch, and Scratch, with additional functions provided via pull-down menus (see Fig. 4). After loading a sample and turning on the audio engine, REplay will begin to generate grains from the source based on its default settings. You can use the Mode menu to choose how the sample will be scanned; options include scrubbing manually, Jump, which skips around in the file using distances you specify, and Loop, which has an adjustable speed setting (from 10 to 100% of the original speed).
Move to the Grain menu and you’ll find a 2D grid for adjusting granularity (grain size) on the x axis and Density on the y. Mouse movements you make update parameters quickly and feel fluid with nary a glitch, but you can select from one of several presets if you prefer to leave control to the program. Pick the Random preset, for example, and you’ll get a constantly changing grain cloud.
The Pitch area provides four ways to control grain pitch, which again include using presets and using sliders for adjusting pitch manually. There’s also a virtual keyboard for specifying a transposition up or down two octaves and the ability to set a minimum and maximum range from which the program will pick randomly.
REplay PLAYer has a feature that lets you crossfade between the original sound and the granulated version (with a random crossing amount, of course), the ability to host up to three VST plug-ins, EQ (also with a random option), and a random panning feature. All in all, a hefty tool kit for producing a wide variety of granular sounds. (...)
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...more on sample manipulation (Andy Murkin)
Music Electronics, Jan 2013
(...) The other program I’ve found useful, for detailed manipulation of a single sample, is REplay PLAYer, which is described as a ‘generative sound file shredder’. REplay PLAYer is a program ‘based on the paradigms of granular synthesis. The program de-constructs a given sound file and re-composes it by using realtime composition algorithms [and] can be used as a tool to generate an infinite and every-changing sonic stream from a single sound file for artistical, compositional or mere recreational purposes. It can also be regarded as a computer based instrument for live performances, as an interactive sound installation or a generator for ambient music.’
A full description of the program can be found on the download page at http://www.essl.at/works/replay.html. Once again, it costs a bit to buy it, but I’ve found it very useful in the past. I haven’t used this feature up to now, but it is MIDI controllable, and can be used with VST plugins.
It’s well worth reading more about Essl. His main preoccupation is one that I’ve become interested in in recent years: ’music that is created at the moment of its sounding (“realtime composition”)’. Improvisation, looping and manipulation of sound and music samples are all part of the same field, and chance can play a significant role.
In the case of the Black Widow Auto Mode, I enjoy setting up the conditions and listening to the samples play, although for a more permanent record of what was created, I normally edit the results.
Updated: 8 May 2013