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Making a patch from radio interference distortion | FRMS Granular Synthesis Tutorial

Video by Imaginando via YouTube
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Making a patch from radio interference distortion | FRMS Granular Synthesis Tutorial

Sometimes in life, it is during moments of adversity that we find ourselves to be the most creative. Whatever situation you are facing, pragmatic problem solving, a positive determination to get to the finish line while keeping your mind open to changes in direction, can yield surprisingly pleasing results. As the great artist Bob Ross infamously said “We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents". For anyone not familiar with the life and work Bob Ross, this is his quaint philosophy that if something unintended happens, it’s not wrong, you just end up with a different kind of right. If that still sounds illogical to you, then fortunately we have an example to illustrate this positive process in action.

Lucas had a simple plan; find a vintage radio receiver capable of receiving amplitude modulation transmissions (AM band), then make it produce some “squealing noises." Sadly the Grandpa Grundig we sourced especially for this video has already entered into its twilight years, and with a suspected case of old-age antenna failure in front of his eyes (ears?!), it seemed Lucas was out of luck. However, all was not lost, as the answer was only a phone call away. When Lucas’ cell phone started ringing nearby, the incoming call provided a happy little accident – the electromagnetic waves emitted by the phone’s audio started to emanate from the radio’s speaker, and suddenly Lucas’ creativity got turned up to 11.

‘That’s it!’ thought Lucas, as he opened DRC android app and start playing around with our polyphonic powerhouse of analog emulation. As it turns out, the radio gave DRC a gritty edge by adding some raw, meaty phat distortion – and thus our surprise source material sample for today’s ‘FRMS From Scratch’ patch was born. Then it was time to go granular or go home.

Be warned: Today’s final patch is a dark, twisted, guttural granular growl. Intrigued? Then get watching! (and liking, subscribing, bell ringing and commenting while you are there, please.)

As it is 2022 and you probably don’t have an ancient radio lying around to try this for yourself, we hope this video inspires you to embrace the spirit of experimentation and see where it takes you.

00:00 Intro & Field Recording
01:30 Patch Design
09:39 Final Patch
10:07 End

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