Borderlands Granular is a new musical instrument for exploring, touching, and transforming sound with granular synthesis, a technique that involves the superposition of small fragments of sound, or grains, to create complex, evolving timbres and textures.
2015 ZKM | Center for Art and Media App Art Awards - Special Prize for Sound Art
2013 Prix Ars Electronica - Award of Distinction in Digital Music and Sound Art
Borderlands enables flexible, real-time improvisation and is designed to support interaction with sonic material on a fundamental level. The user is envisioned as an organizer of sound, simultaneously assuming the roles of curator, performer, and listener. Gestural interaction and visual feedback are emphasized over knobs and sliders to encourage a sculptural approach to making music.
Create, drag, and throw pulsing collections of grains over a landscape of resizable audio files, dynamically and polyphonically sampling the waveforms beneath your fingertips. The iPad's built-in accelerometer may also be employed to shape sound with gravity.
Borderlands comes ready to play with default sample content included, but you may also load and export your own sounds via Audiobus, AudioShare, and real time input from the mic or external audio interfaces. Recordings made within the app may be imported on the fly for layers-upon-layers of granulation.
It is also possible to improvise alongside the app - touches and parameters may be recorded, looped, stored, and duplicated. Entire configurations of clouds, sounds, and automation can be saved into presets, or “scenes,” that may be recalled at a later time, allowing Borderlands to seamlessly transition between the studio and the stage.
“The best app for exploring sound just got better... This is 'go out and buy an iPad to run it' good stuff.“
Peter Kirn, Create Digital Music
“Borderlands has floored us. It is very rare that we find an app that is not only fun to use, but extremely useful. It is truly inspiring. The interface is stunning, the sounds are so evocative: they're a film composer's dream.”
Paul Hepker and Mark Kilian, Film Composers (Tsotsi, Rendition, Eye in the Sky)
“It’s beautiful, it’s absolutely great. It goes in a completely new direction. I wish software companies would make more [programs] like that for the computer and not only for the iPad.”
Christian Fennesz, Experimental Musician. Interview from Tiny Mix Tapes, May 2014
“When I first saw the demo video for Borderlands Granular in 2012, my jaw hit the floor. My first thought was ‘THIS is what making music on an iPad should be.’”
Sean Garland, iOSMars.com