“Inspired by Tape, Microsound and Experimental Music”, Expanse and Driftmaker are the latest plugins to come out of Berlin development house Puremagnetik – and what’s more, they’re totally free to download. This coincides with the launch of a new record label, Puremagnetik Tapes.
The first of the duo, Expanse, is billed as a ‘Texture Generator’ that instantly creates eerie drones with lashings of tape noise and seemingly randomly timed incidental sounds.
Using the Blend knob, you can mix the generated sound between an ominous oscillator and a wind-like noise tone; the Stasis parameter reigns in the movement to the oscillator and the chance for incidental sounds to happen; Shift will manipulate the tone of the oscillator between a dark buzz and a rushing wind. Elsewhere, there’s filtering, Size, Space and Output controls to further refine the sound.
Expanse is a worthy instrument for adding textures, although its sounds will be hit-and-miss, depending on the usage. It sounds great through a rhythmic gate – although some modulation parameters would be very welcome.
The second plugin of the pair is quite possibly the most inspirational, giving an abstract approach to delay alongside a bed of tape hiss. Your input is chopped, modulated and ‘wobbled’, although the results of this don’t reach into the ‘out-of-this-world’ category – the character here is given by the tape.
The Parse, Chop and Time parameters give an alternative take on a standard delay’s Time and Feedback, while Drift determines the extent of the sonic mangling – almost like a deep flanger placed after the chopped-up, delayed signal.
A thoughtful, avant garde pair of plugins, with inspirational results (depending on the music you’re intending to make), Expanse and Drifmaker are available from the Puremagnetik website, alongside playlists from the new record label, Puremagnetik Tapes, created using both tools.
As well as being an Editor At Large for Electronic Musician, James also dispenses software news and views as the co-host of Appetite For Production Podcast, and tweets on Twitter as rusty_jam. You can find his 'collected works' at his website, XoverFreq.