If you haven't experienced the fascinating sounds of granular synthesis, now's your chance. GranuLab 1.0 (Win) (http://hem.passagen.se/rasmuse/Granny.htm) is a freeware granular-synthesizer application by Rasmus Ekman that allows you to process audio files or create sounds from scratch.
A granular synthesizer produces its unique sound by playing large groups of tiny sound fragments, or grains. Each grain can be as simple as a sine wave or as harmonically complex as a sample. Each of the grains can have its own set of parameters, many of which can be adjusted in real time. With granular-synthesis techniques, you can easily create rich and complex sounds.
GranuLab gives you real-time control over the pitch, envelope, and density of the grains. It allows you to apply interesting time-stretching and pitch effects to a sample while retaining the character of the original sound. Parameter configurations can be saved as patches, and you can morph between up to four patches at a time using your mouse as a controller. The application also has MIDI-controllable features. A word of caution from EM associate editor Dennis Miller: be careful not to set the grain density too high, lest you overload your CPU.
If you want to work at a higher level, you can move up to GranuLab 8, a shareware application that lets you run up to eight separate patches at once. GranuLab 8 has a number of additional features, such as panning and the ability to load new files while the program is running.