Freelance engineer Alan Branch plugs in to this new offering from Infected Mushroom and software developer Polyverse…
Song creativity, originality and expression are some of the major building blocks we all search for when working on new material. What if you had an instrument or an effect that can keep reinventing it’s sound? The I Wish plugin turns synthesis on it’s head by using side chained audio as it’s core sound, feeding it into it’s granular note freezer allowing us to play, manipulate and morph existing audio into sonic pleasing mashed up goodness!
The audio experimental duo Infected Mushoom and software developer Polyverse set about developing a plugin that could recreate their own production technique easier. The plugin is named after their own track release I Wish, this track featured sounds created from micro edited sound sources into synth creation, but the track took several days of manual editing. Hence we now have the I Wish plugin that can recreate this time consuming task instantly.
I Wish is loaded like a normal soft instrument but its source sound comes from the side chain input, and that’s where the magic starts, as the audio input can be wide-ranging, a vocal track, an instrument, a sine wave or even beats; it seems limitless. I Wish works by capturing a tiny piece of audio every time a midi note is played, which can then be refined using a granular synthesis algorithm, that can be then be played and manipulated in real-time. As I Wish relies on the side chain input, a constant input signal can be better, vocals with large gaps could be tricky to make a pad sound, but if you know the input you adjust your playing accordingly. A vocal might turn into a vocoder or glitched up vocal effect whereas beats or a rhythm guitar could be a pad or lead solo sound.
Installing I Wish was a simple process and supports Mac/PC, VST, AAX, RTAS & AU. The GUI design is straight forward with the emphasis on easy to use adjustments. Two main knobs control Pitch and Formant, with a two octave range and linkable control values including any offset to enable a constant pitch and formant change. Audio is pitched automatically via the midi playback going through I Wish, meaning different audio sources are incredibly simple to use! An X-Fade control smooths the captured loop in and outs; loops can be changed from sharp attacks to smooth overlapping notes.
Further to this is an amplifier section, there is a wet/dry mix for combining the synthesis with the audio, while an envelope controls amplitude of both wet and dry loop, as well as attack and release, this results in slow attack long notes to short gated staccato effects. Then there is a modulation section with simple LFO & ENV controls, with six waveforms, Sine, Triangle, Saw, Square, Random and Slew. These modulate the pitch and formant with delay and decay and an LFO with shape and rate control, with additional retrigger and tempo quantise to control when the LFO is triggered and it’s sync rate. The Amp and modulation sections bring creative pitch and sound shaping control, to add bends, pitch glides, slow attack or rises with retriggers or quantisation.
As I Wish can use any audio as input what does it sound like? It’s overall effect is a form of a simple waveform, so you could say a buzzy synth effect enriched with the incoming audio overtones at the same time as the pitched midi note. Therefore, the sound is constantly changing, but it’s real time pitch and envelope controls then take it a step further resulting in a varied range of effects, from a vocoder to a huge pa. But get creative with the modulation or throw in an arpeggiator to drive the MIDI and it could be almost anything, a crazy warble, pitch changing glides to chopped up glitch chaos.
Using I Wish is a great fun affair, it’s small size and quick sounds means creativity is pushed to the forefront as much as possible, this is the kind of good design I like. Meaning although it may be simple to use with a bit of work, I Wish can create complex and extreme robotic type glitch-type effects to huge pad/solo synthesis and no time is wasted like searching through a typical complex GUI trying to find the right controller to change something. Your sound is dependent on the incoming audio so I literally threw everything I could through I Wish, from vocoder style stutters, crazy lead buzz synths to vocal inspired synth pads, it’s the randomness that is so often inspiring.
- Modulate pitch and formant
- Supports VST / AU / AAX plug-in formats
- Pitch based micro-editing
- Real-time polyphonic Wavetable synthesizer
Alan Branch is a freelance engineer/producer. His list of credits include Jamiroquai, Beverley Knight, M People, Simply Red, Depeche Mode, Shed 7, Sinead O’ Connor and Bjork.