I Wish is a granular synthesis plug-in that uses incoming MIDI notes to play very short loops of audio.
Developed by Polyverse Music in conjunction with psytrance duo Infected Mushroom, the rather odd name is taken from one of their tracks. It was made available at a discount during the beta phase with a promise of free future upgrades. Beta or not, I had no difficulties under Logic (10.0.7) and once I’d checked the Quick Start section of the manual, I never looked back.
To get that first sonic hit, you create an I Wish instrument track, then open the plug-in and select an audio track as the side-chain input (I began with a drum loop). Then it’s just a matter of starting your DAW and playing notes into the plug-in to see what happens. It’s probably a good idea to mute the source audio so the processes are audible in isolation. There’s a simple amp envelope, plus a wet/dry slider to set the balance of incoming signal and resulting synthesis.
There are two large controls: Pitch and Formant. Pitch offers two octaves of shift up or down, and works in combination with the MIDI notes, which dynamically modify the loop length. Formant adjusts the audio playback speed and shifts the overtones, also in a range of two octaves either way. With just these controls and the notes you play, I Wish is an innovative tool for robotising, re-pitching and granular-freezing audio, and it becomes even more flexible when you assign a MIDI controller to the Formant parameter. Pitch and Formant can be linked together for producing drops and tape-like effects.
This is such a straightforward plug-in that you might not even notice the dozen or so presets. They’re worth a look, though: I chose one called ‘for drums’ and my loop became a freaky, pitched groove that screamed like a wounded android when I played high notes and stuttered like a mucky CD when I played low. But it was when I swapped my drum loop for vocals that I Wish really came to life. Sticking with low pitches, my puny voice sample became a rich source of robotic, glitching bass lines, like Tomita on acid! Naturally, the results are very source-dependent, but at times I Wish can sound like a vocoder or wavetable synthesizer, with up to 32 notes of polyphony if your system can handle it. There aren’t many other options to get sidetracked by. The X-Fade control is useful for smoothing the loops generated, and there’s an LFO with the usual waveforms which can sync to the host clock. Along with an envelope this can modulate the pitch or formant in a bipolar fashion.
Far more practical than a penny tossed into a fountain, I Wish will grant your desires assuming these involve replicating some of the godlike production feats of bands such as Infected Mushroom and Shpongle. Sometimes it reminded me of the Roland V-Synth or Audio Damage’s Replicant, but always with its own distinct flavour. The trippy, artificial tones and glitches will be a gift to any psytrance devotee but they’re applicable to any genre where wilful experimentation is rife.