Aimed at electronic musicians, sound designers and installation artists, Iota is a Max For Live granular looping instrument that wrings endless creative potential out of even the simplest samples, via an inspiring graphically-driven interface.
Max for Live
by Dillon Bastan
Conceived and developed by Los Angeles musician, artist and programmer Dillon Bastan, Iota enables spectral regions within samples to be ‘windowed’, looped, layered and processed for the creation of all kinds of tones, soundscapes, glitches and rhythms.
You start by dragging a source sample into Iota from Live or your operating system – a beat, a vocal, a pad, a found sound – and selecting a region within it to be rendered as a continuous stream of tiny slices. Familiar graphical editing tools are then used to draw, move and resize ‘boxes’ in the spectrogram, each one defining the length and frequency content of a band-pass filtered loop in a clear and immediately representative visual manner. By arranging and overlapping multiple boxes, you can deconstruct, fragment and dice the original sample to as coarse or fine a degree as you like. Create lots of small loops to atomise and reimagine a percussion clip, for example, or a few larger ones to carve an orchestral string section up into a scintillating multi-dimensional ambience.
Loops can play back free-running or snapped to grid, and each one has its own bank of granular and mix controls, including direction, speed, panning, volume fade and curve, filter type (FFT or resonant) and a feedback delay effect. Changes made to these parameters, as well as movement of loop boxes, can be recorded and replayed by the onboard automation system, making it easy to apply intricately evolving timbral changes.
Three playback modes let you lock Iota to Live’s transport for synced playback, unlock it to play back autonomously and endlessly – ideal for unattended sound installations – or control individual loops using Push or a MIDI keyboard.
From evocative ambiences and sinuous textures to finely-sculpted FX and polyrhythmic soundbeds, Iota offers a unique and powerful new approach to granular sound design, with no upper or lower limit in terms of sonic complexity.
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