In this VST spotlight we look at the Glitch 2 multi-effect plug-in, and we chat with creator Kieran Foster to find out what’s new with his software, and discuss all things glitchy.
When Glitch first came out in 2005, it was a novel concept: a multi effects unit combined with a sequencer for enabling and disabling the effects. While the individual effects were very cool, it was the ability to automatically turn them on and off, in sync with a DAW, that really made it stand apart. This powerful design, along with an attractive price (free!) made Glitch beloved among sound manglers and audio experimentalists–but only if they were PC users. Mac users had to look on enviously, or find alternatives such as Sugar Bytes’ Effectrix. Given that the last update to Glitch was in 2010, many assumed that development had been discontinued, and that a Mac version would never come.
Glitch 2 changes all that. Not only does the new version bring the effect to the Mac platform for the first time, it also adds powerful randomization features, a pattern editor, and improvements to it’s effect modules. In this spotlight, we sat down with creator Kieran Foster to find out what’s new with his software, and discuss all things glitchy.
What motivated you to revisit Glitch?
Generally speaking, it’s always been an on-again off-again project for me. I’ve always intended to continue releasing new versions, but other commitments and situations in life tend to get in the way, so I simply work on it whenever I have the time and energy to do so.
The first plugin version of Glitch was released in September 2005. The version of the plugin that most people are probably familiar with – version 1.3 – was released in April 2006, followed by some updates later in the year, and then it was quiet for a while. The last update to that series was 1.3.5, which I released in February 2010.
I’ve spent the past couple of years living in Berlin, providing support and some additional programming for Renoise (http://renoise.com). Eduard Müller (a.k.a. taktik), the creator of Renoise, has built up this really nice cross-platform application framework over the ten-plus years that Renoise has been in development. While brainstorming ideas in the office one day, it quickly became obvious that the framework could be extended to support building VST and AU plugins, so that’s when Glitch 2 really started to come to life. Eduard’s framework took care of all the “boring” stuff that I’d been putting off for years, and allowed me to focus on all the fun features instead. It was a no brainer, really.
Has there been a high demand for a Mac version and was this part of the motivation?
Yes, and yes. The demand for a Mac version has always seemed pretty high, if my inbox is any indication. I’ve always received at least a few messages each week via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and so on. I’m glad that I can finally provide something for them!
How has the reception been thus far?
Glitch is already a niche product to begin with, so I didn’t expect a massive response, but so far the reception seems pretty positive overall. A few naysayers here and there, which is to be expected, but most people seem to be excited that I’m finally continuing to work on the plugin. The Mac users seem quite happy about it .
How does Glitch 2 differ from the original Glitch software?
Cross-platform support is obviously the big one. The sequencer now has the ability to play multiple effects simultaneously, plus greater flexibility in controlling the duration and timing of each step, and a more intuitive pattern editor. If you’re looking for some quick fun and inspiration, you can also use the various Randomize and Mutate buttons.
Each program now has 128 “Scenes”, mapped to each of the 128 available MIDI notes, respectively. Each scene stores a unique snapshot of the entire plugin state, including the sequencer pattern and timing, all effect parameters, and so on. You can therefore create unique-sounding scenes for all the key moments in your song or project, and easily trigger them at will.
In terms of effects, the selection remains more or less the same for now, but most modules have been tweaked or improved in some way. My intention is to continue improving each effect as I think of cool new features, and to expand the overall selection with new effect modules as I develop them in future updates.
Can you tell us a little about Glitch becoming paid software after starting out as freeware?
When I first released Glitch 1, I was selling it for €30. I did manage to sell a few copies, but very soon after that a cracked version started spreading around the internet. In my eyes, that pretty much doomed the whole thing to failure, since my sales essentially dropped to zero. Maybe I was just being naive, but I guess I didn’t expect a big audio warez group to immediately go after an indie developer like that. It was pretty depressing.
I was unemployed at the time and rapidly burning through my savings, so I had to take a full-time job to support myself instead. With the day job and other personal commitments to consider, and feeling pretty dejected about the whole crack situation, I simply did not have enough time and energy to focus on maintaining Glitch in the way that I had originally intended. At the same time, I didn’t feel comfortable attempting to sell a product that I knew I could not fully support, so that’s when I decided to release it as freeware instead.
After all these years of keeping Glitch freely available at my own personal expense, I sort of feel like I’ve put in my time, you know? I’m hoping that I’ve at least earned some respect from all the people out there who are using my plugins every day, and that some of those people will choose to support me.
Illformed is not a big company, it’s just me. I just want to make cool stuff and share it with people, but I also need to pay my rent and put food on the table. Glitch 2 is not free because I’m attempting to earn a living doing something that I love.
For more information on Glitch 2 head over to illformed.com where you can purchase this flexible multi-effects processor for $59.95.