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Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin launches free sample matching app, Samplebrain

‘What if you could build a 303 riff from only a cappellas or bubbling mud sounds?’

Aphex Twin has shared a new sample matching app, Samplebrain. Announced in a post on his blog, Richard James said that the software has been in development for nearly two decades and was originally inspired by music identification app Shazam.

“It processes a target sample, chopping it up into blocks in the same way, and tries to match each block with one in its brain to play in realtime. This allows you to interpret a sound with a different one,” he wrote. “As we worked on it (during 2015 and 2016) we gradually added more and more tweakable parameters until it became slightly out of control.”

Made in collaboration with fellow artist Dave Griffiths, the free app is described as a “custom sample mashing app” that “chops samples up into a ‘brain’ of interconnected small sections called blocks, which are connected into a network by similarity.” This processes a target sample and chops it into blocks, which is then matched with other blocks in the software’s ‘brain’ to play in realtime. 

When creating the software, James asked himself questions like: “What if you could reconstruct source audio from a selection of other mp3’s/audio on your computer? What if you could build a 303 riff from only a cappellas or bubbling mud sounds? What if you could sing a silly tune and rebuild it from classical music files?”

He added: “We soon realised after Dave had started to get things going that with a few cheaty sliders you could actually re-make anything from just one source file, so the options are all there to play with.”

Try Samplebrain for yourself here.