How to program a synthesizer

Just mash all the buttons and turn all the knobs. No, seriously.


The beast above is known as the Malström Graintable Synthesizer. It’s Propellerhead’s weird cross between a wavetable and granular synthesis, and makes really bizarre noises. To this day I’m still not any good at programming it but that doesn’t matter, because if I want strange sounds, this thing is the greatest:

Almost all the random bleeps, bloops, tweets, squawks, and other sound effects in the background of that clip are thanks to the Malström. Furthermore, they got weird as hell because we sat down and twisted all the knobs and pushed all the buttons. Essentially we were recording parameter automation for a few basic things, forgot that it was both looping and recording, and just started playing with it to see what sounds we could squeeze out of the thing. After a few minutes we realized that it was going berserk and that it sounded surprisingly appropriate, and kept going. When we were done it sat there turning all its knobs, sliders, and wheels all on its own, and it was awesome.

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