Slow Machine and Granulizer audio effects by Bleass are now available for macOS and Windows.
Some of you may already be familiar with Slow Machine and Granulizer, as they were previously available for iPad and iPhone.
If, like me, you aren’t an iOS producer, chances are you might be discovering a couple of gems here.
Bleass Slow Machine
Starting with Slow Machine, we have a plugin that you might expect to offer variations on the classic tape stop sound. It does that, but it does a lot more, too.
The GUI has two pages, Down/Stop and Sequencer. The first page shows three sections; the main two are Slow Down and Time Stop, plus a small Mix section.
Slow Down provides control over the Loop Size, Speed, and an optional filter. All basic controls, but each has a flexible range; Loops Size from 1/16 bar to eight bars, and full speed to quarter speed (with quantize). With the filter on, Slow Machine will only affect the selected frequency range.
The Time Stop section has an X/Y trigger that allows you to be very specific with the tape stop effect. Clicking in different areas on the X/Y Trigger will produce different envelope speeds. You also get various modes to determine how quickly the effect grabs and releases your audio.
If you bring up the Speed Sequencer view, you can now add and manipulate speed variations per step. The Sequencer is by far my favorite aspect of Slow Machine. It’s a workhorse that lets you create interesting, glitchy sequences with minimal effort. I can easily imagine running samples through this Sequencer before chopping them up for my MPC.
Slow Machine has a bunch of presets, too, from adding harmonic layers to making a techno-beat swing in time, which is great for breakdowns.
Granulizer is a granular texture effects plugin with four multi-bus audio inputs. That means the Input Stage can take up to four audio sources and randomly extract grains from active busses, creating something unique.
The Input Stage also allows you to switch between a high-pass and low-shelf filter.
The entire GUI looks like something you’d see on a control panel for anything in any 80s movie, especially with the 3D visualizer.
The 3D visualizer isn’t just there to look good; you can see the grains are color-coded to represent a specific bus. So, you can pinpoint the tiniest detail of your sound design.
In the Granulizer section, you’ll find controls for Volume, Pan, Size, Density, Offset, Playback Direction, Shape, Warmth, Tune, and Randomization. That’s a long list, most of which are straightforward, concerning things like grain duration (Size) and the number of grains (Density).
I like that you can offset the time between record and play and add subtle or not-so-subtle distortion. There is also a generous amount of tuning modes covering major, dominant, and diminished qualities.
The tuning modes work very well, and if we “think 80s” again, just going from major to minor gives you that transition every 80s sci-fi movie had from space is peaceful to obvious concern about what’s approaching.
What I like most about the amount of tweaking you can do is that everything is represented somehow by the 3D visualizer.
I’ve used granular effects previously for a few reasons, commonly if I have a lead melody that I want to add texture to without putting a pad underneath. It’s also great for transitioning between melody, texture, and noise for film/game composition (also drums building from noise to glitchy/precise rhythm).
Bleass Classics Bundle
It’s also worth noting that Bleass previously released four other desktop plugins: Shimmer, Chorus, Delay, and Reverb. These are still available for a bundled price of 40€ and have just been updated to v1.2.
Bleass desktop plugins are available in 64-bit AU and VST3 formats and are very worthy of the progression from iOS to desktop.