Review: Glitchmachines Cataract

A world of sonic mayhem in another plug-in from the twisted minds at Glitchmachines? Toby Pitman puts Cataract to the test and finds that it comes up trumps.  

Cataract is a relatively new plugin from Glitchmachines that’s aimed at letting you go nuts morphing sounds or loops together in crazy ways! 

It consists of four Scanners that you can load any sound into. These Scanners can play through or jump around your sound creating all sorts of rhythmic mayhem using LFOs. On top of this you can also crossfade or blend these Scanners together in time or just totally randomly to create new loops or odd sounds using some complex modulation routings and sequencers. 

Pic 1

It’s quite fun!

Slice and Dice

Cataract has two Modules, one Blue and one Green. Each Module consists of two Scanners, a Filter, Delay and its own set of modulation routing. In the middle is the main Morph control that allows you to blend between the two sides using some LFOs.

Clicking a Blue Scanner will reveal the parameters for that side. Clicking the Green Scanners will bring up a new set of identical color coded parameters.

You can load a loop by hitting the ‘Load A Sample’ button on any of the four slots. If you're working with loops, it’s a good idea to make sure they are all the same tempo as your host (or not! This is Glitchmachines!!). It’s also important to note that Cataract is free running so when your host starts, it starts!

Most of the work is done in the ‘Scan’ window. Set the length of the scan slice and its speed. Here I have both set to 16th and the Scan LFO set to ‘Random’. 

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Loading a, loop I get something like this as it jumps to different positions in the loop.


To play through a loop use the ‘Saw UP’ LFO set the length to the bars in the loop. Here it’s four. You can use the ‘Gate’ control to shorten each slice etc. That’s probably a bit normal though!

Pic 3

Morphing Scanners

If you load both Scanners you can morph between them using the ‘Global’ Morph control. Clicking the ‘G’ button (which stands for Gen) by a parameter will randomize its value on every step defined by the speed control. 

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Here’s both Scanners (two loops) in Random playback mode with their ‘Morph’ control in ‘Gen’ mode.

You can of course normal forward playback and randomly Morph to create new loops!

Morphing Modules

The center top window allows you to morph between the Blue and Green sides. There’s two LFOs. The first one can have its Rate modulated by the second for some crazy outcomes!

Pic 5

Here’s both sides (four loops) all with random playback  being randomly Morphed together!

Here’s both sides in regular forward playback being Morphed with a Triangle wave LFO.

This is as normal as Cataract goes!! Once you start using the additional LFOs to modulate Scan Wave, Scan Rate and Global Ratios as well as ‘Gen’ mode it will turn mental pretty fast!! :)

Sequenced Parameters

Every parameter in Cataract can also have its own Step Sequencer! That’s right, every one!! Just hit the ‘SEQ’ button and a window will pop up. Select you parameter from the drop-down and draw away! You can even record your moves for each one in real time using the ‘REC’ button.

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Any sequenced parameter will turn Purple so you can keep track. This opens up a lot of potential for madness. The Scan window also has its own dedicated Sequencer for reshuffling loop slices!

Conclusion

The examples I’ve given are pretty simple just so you can get an idea of what Cataract does. When in full modulated/sequenced swing Cataract can do some really chaotic stuff!! It’s largely down to the sounds you load and how much you grind your patch as to what will come out the other end!

I’ve only just scratched the surface here. Go and check the Glitchmachines website for more info.

Price: $49.00

Pros: A world of sonic mayhem awaits in another twisted plugin from Glitchmachines. Great fun and easy to use!

Cons: Not suitable for adults! :)

Web: http://www.glitchmachines.com/products/cataract/

For the past 20 years Toby has worked as a professional guitarist, programmer and producer. Clients include Sir Paul McCartney, George Michael, Shirley Bassey, Yusuf Islam, Giles Martin as well as the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies. He has also worked extensively in TV, Advertising and Film. As well as composing himself he has also ... Read More

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