Samplebrain Is A FREE Sample Mangling Tool By Aphex Twin

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Then Try This releases Samplebrain, a free sample chopping and mangling tool designed by Aphex Twin.

Samplebrain is a sample mangling software program designed by Aphex Twin. It is a standalone application (not a plugin) for Windows and macOS.

So, how does Samplebrain work?

The software lets you load one sample as the “target sound” and multiple samples acting as the “brain contents.” It then uses the “brain contents” to recreate the “target sound.”

As the developer puts it, Samplebrain “allows you to interpret a sound with a different one.”

For example, you can use several drum samples to recreate a guitar chord. Or, load several drum loops and let Samplebrain turn them into a vocal. So, it’s somewhat similar to cutting up multiple images to create a collage, but in the audio realm.

Of course, the results will sound glitchy and weird, but that’s precisely what makes Samplebrain such a fantastic sound design tool.

It’s an interesting concept, and the resulting app is entertaining to use even in its current early state. Yes, the user interface features dozens of controls parameters that you won’t instantly understand, but you really can’t go wrong here. The idea is to try different samples and parameter settings until you’re happy with the results.

Here’s another quote from the project page:

“Samplebrain chops samples up into a ‘brain’ of interconnected small sections called blocks which are connected into a network by similarity. It processes a target sample, chopping it up into blocks in the same way, and tries to match each block with one in its brain to play in realtime.”

Should you download this app? Samplebrain will surely inspire you to create new sounds while restructuring your favorite samples. It’s not for everyone, but fans of glitchy sounds, digital noises, and Aphex Twin shouldn’t miss this one.

If you’re looking for some fun sounds to try experimenting with, check out the collections available at 99Sounds and the free cinematic sound effects by Flame Sound.

Need more glitchy audio tools? Check out the free TugGlicento plugin by 2Rule.

Samplebrain is available for free download via GitLab. The software is compatible with Windows and macOS, including the Macs powered by the new M1 chip.

Download: Samplebrain

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About Author

Tomislav is a content creator and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief here at Bedroom Producers Blog.

20 Comments

  1. This is a tool that is important to be able to hear the mangling in real time, so that it can be tweaked to the result a user want. As far as I can see from the interface, that is missing, one have to set the controls first, and then “(re)generate brain”. In 1997 this would have been a revolutionary native app for a computer, 25 years later I think it is mostly of interest because Richard D. James is involved.

    • Unfortunately, it crashes at launch for me, but it seems like there is at least some realtime element to it when you read their page. Anywho, it’s open source, so maybe part of it might serve as a basis for samplers, like Shortcircuit XT, anything without the evil Comic Sans, etc… Will try another computer later. :-/

      • Beyond the irony of the title “Shortcircuit” IMO that is a top of the line plug, I use that almost daily still, and it performs rock solid on Windows 10 :-)

        • If only it would support flac (my samples are all in flac format)
          I’ll have to wait till the XT version is ready to use. Very happy that Claes made his ‘baby’ open source and the people who ‘powered up’ the surge synth now trying to revive shortcircuit. I think this will be a moooonster.

      • They provide a PPA, which is a Ubuntu-only (or Ubuntu-based, like Mint is) way to add repositories from (unverified) people and users. Of course, the binary must be compiled for your version of Ubuntu and provided by this PPA.
        There are other ways to distribute binaries, in various forms and packages. DEB, RPM, Snaps, Flatpacks, Arch has AUR which is a sort of PPA from users too.
        They also provide the source code and the commands to use to build it yourself, so…
        I love Linux in many ways, but so far I only have it (Mint) on an old laptop for experiments and some web browsing. The whole dependencies thing is still a bit scary, and boring.

  2. I’ve watched several videos on YouTube and not a single person was able to get any usable sounds out of this thing

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