Review Software

The Crow Hill Company – String Murmurations

The Crow Hill Company is a new audio instrument company led by Christian Henson, formerly of Spitfire Audio and an established filem music producer/sound designer in his own right. I’ve been following Spitfire Audio since their inception and own many of their instruments, the ones I still tend to gravitate toward are the more off-piste offerings, such as their amazing Dust Bundle plugins (the v1, not v2 which sucked in comparison), not to mention their free offerings.
So it was amazing to see The Crow Hill Company following this tangent in earnest, already putting out some VERY interesting and unique paid and free instruments.

String Murmurations caught my ear as I’d stumbled across a little demo of it on their youtube channel and it instantly sounded different to the ‘usual’ orchestral plugins (which obviously have their place, but how many 50+ gig orchestral libraries does one need?).

On installing, the first thing that jumped out was the interface – very clean, fun and inviting-looking parameters and a huge one for me: not hindered by “that” ubiquitous and frankly tired Kontakt wrapper! (I still loath automating params on Kontakt)

Secondly, running multiple voices on this only hits around 9% on my i9 MacBook pro, which seems insanely efficient, considering the sound quality and sample lengths here are both high! Whether this is a result of not using Kontakt and their own backend optimisations, I have no idea, but hats off to them for this, as not everyone has the latest and greatest machines.

With a focus on capturing the subtleties of human performance, SMALL STRING GESTURES really invites you to create music that resonates with your own unique voice, without imposing it’s own signature too strongly.

There’s a real warmth and character of live performance that comes across in these samples, lots of expression and gesture! Which I’m really looking forward to using in my own compositions.


Luke Sanger updates Jiffy 16-second looper for Norns

Five years after its inception, Sanger’s Jiffy Looper reaches v.1.2. The 16-second audio looper for the Monome Norns ecosystem is designed to provide a quick and fun looping addition to your app collection.

The recent additions include a complete code overhaul and full midi mapping implementation across all parameters, opening up the usage to those with midi foot pedals and other external controllers.

Fans of Languid Gongue, will already be familiarized with the auditory softcut zones reached by feeding synths into Jiffy whilst manipulating the speed and dub parameters 😉

More Jiffy updates and other new Norns apps are expected from Luke this year. Stay up to date on Jiffy development at and at Github.

Review Software

Rob Papen – eXplorer-9

Rob Papen Inspiration Soundware has unveiled the eXplorer-9, an enhanced bundle featuring 30 plug-ins.

Notable additions include the upgraded Go2-X, an improved version of the original Go2 virtual instrument. Although this is described as having a ‘friendly’ interface, I found the colours and UI a little dated and somewhat busy personally (a visual trait that could be addressed across the entire product range). However, it’s a good sounding instrument! The upgrade introduces features like waveform drawing and morphing, expanded ARP functionality, and the inclusion of MAGIC MODE for musical variation.

The second addition is the Albino-3 Legend, a resurrection of the groundbreaking Albino-3 virtual instrument with updated features such as VST3 support and adjustable GUI sizes. I was a keen Albino user back in the day (loved the filter types!), so it’s great to see it back again for modern OS systems.

eXplorer-9 also offers nine legacy products and the PRISMA plug-in, allowing users to creatively combine up to four virtual instruments.

Overall, the bundle promises a comprehensive suite of powerful tools for music production, blending new features with nostalgic elements from the past.

Available now at Rob Papen

Review Software

Fabfilter – Pro R2

You may recall we have occasionally reviewed music instruments on the blog (like the popular Ciat-Lonbarde reviews for example). But this is a first for Flatland Frequencies. We’re going to start featuring select new software that we feel fits the type of music we support and would be of interest to our readers. So what better way to start, than a extremely high end, gorgeous sounding reverb?

So what’s new over the Pro-R 1? Pro-R 2 introduces two new reverb algorithms, ‘Vintage’ and ‘Plate,’ each bringing a unique retro flavor to your mixes. ‘Vintage’ is a nod to classic digital reverb units of the ’80s and ’90s, delivering long, bright hyper-real spatial ambiences 🤤 . Meanwhile, ‘Plate’ serves up the evocative metallic sound of vintage plate reverbs, making it an ideal choice for drums and vocals. These additions expand Pro-R 2’s spatialising capabilities into more synthetic textural territory.

What caught my ear, is the fact it now supports impulse responses. Something as an Ableton Live user, I’ve never had catered for (like those lucky Logic users for example). Pro-R 2 also adds the ability to import impulse responses and have them automatically recreated as algorithmic setups — including Decay Rate and Post EQ shaping — that closely match their sonic characteristics. Whether wanting to binge on the vast array of free impulse responses available online, or capture and emulate favourite vocal booth, drum room, or hardware reverb in Pro-R 2, IR import opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

Anyway, to bring back into context, this thing did AMAZING long tails, perfect for drones and washed-out synth-scapes (which is what we’re all here for, right?)

Available now at £144 from their webshop

Beats Experimental Review Software

Dan Derks – Mirrored Heart

Self-release (bandcamp) – 21/7/22

Big fans of Dan’s Phylum album from 2019 round these parts, so naturally the bandcamp notification landing in the inbox was greeted with a small cheer 🎉.

Known for his involvement with the Monome company (especially their Norns music computer) and surrounding community, Mirrored Heart takes excerpts of a recent live set performed entirely on a script he developed for the Norns platform.

More beat-orientated than Phylum, the release serves as short (but sweet) taster of coming works, as well as the potentials of an upcoming script (Hills), which as a combination of FM and audio recorders, you can colour us excited!

Interview Minimal Software

Interview: Greg Davis

greyfade – release: 23/9/22

We caught up with Vermont-based producer and record shop owner Greg Davis, for a chat on his sublime new record, upcoming on the greyfade label. ‘New Primes’ is based on a bespoke max/msp patch, to translate prime number sequences into a web of pure microtonal sine waves and Greg gives us some insights on his compositional and technical process.

  • Tell us a bit on how this record came to light.

Joe Branciforte, owner of greyfade, emailed me back in 2016 because he had discovered my Primes CD (released on my own Autumn Records label in 2009) and was really into it. The conversation started with a back and forth about how i made that music & geeking out about the max/MSP patch i built for it but after awhile Joe encouraged me to make a newer, updated version of my software system & try to develop some new music from it. in 2018, he was starting to launch greyfade and asked me to make a record for his new label. i kept working on my patch and rebuilding it for an 8 channel performance at the Fridman Gallery in 2019. then from 2019-2021 i worked on finalizing the current patch and recording many different prime number set outputs from it. in 2020, i spent a couple of days with Joe at his studio mixing a bunch of pieces intended for the record. then we worked on selecting, editing, and sequencing the 6 pieces you hear on the record. New Primes is a distinct evolution from Primes but still retains a similar soundworld and tuning relationships.

  • Which came first, composition or software (for you)?

For this specific New Primes music, the idea of using prime number sets as a way to determine frequency and tuning relationships came about in 2008 when i was invited by Duane Pitre to compose something for a compilation of music in Just Intonation for Important Records. i wanted to find a unique and personal way to approach JI and this is what i came up with. once i landed on the idea of using prime number sets to set the parameters for all aspects of this generative music then i set about building a max/MSP patch to realize the ideas. I think that when i was first starting with max/MSP i did alot more experimentation, breaking apart existing patches, messing with stuff, building things up from basic tutorial patches, just seeing what specific objects could and discovering cool sounds and things that way, but now, since ive been programming with max/MSP for over 20 years now, i usually start with an idea and build a patch to realize it. as you know though, there is always exapnsion and exploration whenever you build something, it starts as one thing but keeps growing and evolving over time, especially the more you use it. 

  • Any tips you can share on your patching  process? How does a session begin for you on max/msp?

my patching process is always a bit different, but usually it is in service of a musical idea that i want to create. once i build up some basic parts of what im trying to do then it grows and develops from there as i try to refine it and use it make whatever music im trying to make. a patching session can begin in a bunch of different ways for me, sometimes i like to experiment and play around with different sets of objects and their tutorial patches, ripping and pulling bits of patches from different places as i start to put things together. but usually i just start with the blank page! which is one of the most beautiful things about max/MSP. in the end, my patching is always guided by my ear and trying to achieve something that im trying to do sonically / musically. experiments & messing around with patches are good starting points but i always try to refine them to create some sort of sounds that im really resonating with or discover some new sounds that really turns me on or something that im imagining ahead of time for a certain piece of music. 

  • What’s next? Any plans to perform this material live?

as for this Primes material, i think this is my final statement with this software system and music. it feels like a good resting place for it after the initial ideas sprouted almost 15 years ago now. its cool to take a longer arc of time on something and watch it develop over many years and im really happy with the results of New Primes. i would like to perform this music live a bit after the record comes out. my time and energy for touring and playing shows is super limited these days (i have a family and i own a record shop here in Vermont) but id like to get out there a bit and present this music in different spaces and contexts.

‘New Primes’ is available to pre-order on vinyl/digital at greyfade and their Bandcamp