Game Development, Audio Tools and Engines, Business and Life in Japan

Game Development, Audio Tools and Engines, Business and Life in Japan

Blip

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This page describes a tool I wrote many years ago (in the case of Blip, it was created in 2007). You will probably need to fiddle around to make it work on a recent machine (hunt down old MFC libraries etc…) and I don’t give any guarantee of any sort about its state or usefulness. To make it short: you are on your own!

 

What is Blip?

The concept behind Blip is to create innovative sounds and loops by drawing with the usual graphic tools (pencil, airbrush, line…). The classic painting functions take a whole other dimension, as they create melodies and rhythms in the musical domain.

 

How does it work?

Blip continuously scans a grid of 64×64 cells. Each cell corresponds to a note, whose starting time is determined by its column, and whose instrument is determined by its row. The color of the cell controls the volume of the note (red component), its pan (green component), and its pitch (blue component).

Painting in the grid can be done in real-time while the loop is playing, which coupled with MIDI support and numerous shortcuts, transforms Blip into a very powerful live instrument. There are 16 patterns, each of them having its own tempo.

Blip can be used in many different ways. Here are a few of them:

  • with a lot of short percussive sounds to create glitchy patterns
  • with a slow tempo and long samples with fading envelopes to create complex ambiences
  • with simple tones and only a few painted cells to create wave sequences
  • with sine waves for additive / granular synthesis etc…
  •  

    Audio & Video examples

    Here is a very simple video example of Blip in action.

    Glitchy Rhythm Example #1

    And a few crazy loops, mostly done with random kits and functions. It is easy to generate such loops in a few clicks with Blip.

    alien club blipping bouncy
    chaos theory clockwork fusion 1
    fusion 2 fusion 3 fusion 4
    gameboy garbled transmission generator
    hypnopiano industry 1 industry 2
    message from Venus microsine minimize
    piano cascade radiooo space scare
    technopulse vacation on Mars

     

    Download & Installation

    Click here to download Blip. You just need to unzip the file and the program is ready. Make sure to read the PDF documentation, as it contains a lot of details, especially all the shortcuts to use Blip as a performance tool.

    If you get a message “This application failed to start…”, you are are missing some dlls. Please install this and you will have everything you need to run Blip, and other Windows programs using the same dlls (it’s small).

     

    7 Comments to Blip

    1. Cody Polega says:

      I love this program! Someone on IDM forums linked me to it and I had a blast playing around with it. I have since received a Bachelor’s in sound arts and am trying to engineer professionally. I lost my copy of this program and have been longingly describing it to friends who can’t quite conceptualize the idea. Today I found it again and am stoked! Thanks for making it available!

    2. Michael says:

      Blip useful? Blip is probably the best sequencer ive ever come across. Ive used nothing else before I decided to use vst synths rather than samples which forced me to use the bloated hosts like logic and co. but I dont even need 80% of their functions. I wish Nico would have taken Blip to the next level: Implement the ability to use vst instruments & effects inside blip, or enhance the brush tool idea to paint arpeggios and chords (like the guys from metasynth did with their xX sequencer). I would definitely pay for features like that. Maybe Nico finds himself motivated one day to step up blip to become a fully all-in-one algorithmic techno production tool. Would put many expensive sequencers out there to shame. Big thumbs up!

      • Nico says:

        Thanks for the kind words, Michael! I definitely would like to make a new version. Time is the only problem (also aggravated by the fact that the GUI was programmed with MFC, so I would have to rewrite the whole thing ;-)). If that ever happens, I would like to add support for graphic tablets too.

    3. Michael says:

      Its just brilliant Nico. Secret weapon for sure. I think ive used a gazillion drum machines over the last decade with all sorts of randomizations but all these randomizers never got me close to Blip results. Endless rhythmic possibilities without even trying. Blip as a vst or ipad app would surely get commercial attention (thinking midi channels columns here or interapp audio for sounds). A 64×64 grid style drum machine app like this with brush tools, shuffle, filters, or even effects or is yet to be born. Blip was and is still ahead of the times, a future drum machine from the past, you can even create patterns/clips in a live situation with a few clicks, 64 tracks allows for a lot of variation on the fly. Tons of potential here. With Blip you nailed it to close a certain gap in drum machine design. In a perfect world we would see Blip reborn news in a few years ;) but its very time consuming to get things working. Maybe in a few years. Genius piece of gear ! Cheers!

    4. darren says:

      Hi,
      I can’t believe I’ve only just found blip – it’s a great composition tool! I am testing it on Win 7 and so far, all is fine.
      Just a quick question I haven’t been able to find the answer to – can it send or receive midi clock so that I can sync it with external hardware?
      Thanks for making such a nice bit of software freely available.

    5. Nico says:

      Hi Darren, thank you for the kind words. There is no external sync unfortunately…

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