This month Graham looks at Cecilia…

This month Graham looks at Cecilia 5, chezmoi, Viddy, EmuDeck, Paperless-ngx, MegaGlest, and more!

Ear bender

Cecilia 5

We’ve looked at esoteric audio manipulation software in the past, but there has been nothing to compare with Cecilia. It’s like a concrete bunker for sound exploration with a user interface designed for a nuclear power station. It’s probably capable of emulating the sound of a nuclear meltdown, too. In fact, one of its best uses is to generate sound effects, although it’s equally capable of producing musical or soothing sounds. Cecilia is a desktop application designed for audio manipulation and, at a basic level, it loads a sound and allows you to process that sound with various modules. There are dozens of modules, and they vary hugely in what they do. Some aren’t too destructive and will add echo, create 3D space, or blend two sounds together. Other modules add tens of parameters to the user interface and let you mangle sound beyond all natural limitations. It’s an incredible array of sound potential, and it’s so purely driven by DSP experimentation that it’s unlike any other application we can think of. Every parameter, in whatever module you choose, can be changed over time with a line or curve in the main panel. Curves can be as simple or as complicated as you need them to be, and there are three further options for generating curves mathematically. These let you generate a sine or square waveform, or a randomly distributed pattern, all of which can then be further smoothed or warped with options from another menu.

Curves are central to Cecilia, and you can create a curve for almost anything you see on the screen, including loop lengths and pitch, and any parameters from the post-processing effects section listed in a second tab on the left. This section hides an excellent reverb effect and harmonizer, alongside a gate, chorus, and phaser effects, as well as many others. You can even adjust the FFT size for the output processing and generate more than one output at a time. Each output can be tuned to a specific chord or interval.

All of this might sound complicated, but you don’t need to know what you’re doing to create something useful. Cecilia is all about experimentation, and you can always press Play at any point to hear the results of your tinkering.


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