Dillon Bastan Grain Forest, new M4L granular effect inspired by the nature

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Dillon Bastan Grain Forest, a new Max For Live effect processor that melts granular synthesis with the cycle of nature. 

In Ableton Live, you can add the mighty Max For Live extension, which you can buy separately or get directly with the Suite version. This is based on the modular programming environment Cycling74 Max in which you can design your own instruments, effects, etc.

There is a huge community around this software with constantly new and exciting devices. A well-known developer is Dillon Bastan, who has released some very innovative devices in recent years. His latest release is called Grain Forest and is a playful granular processor.

Dillon Bastan Grain Forest

Dillon Bastan Grain Forest

Grain Forest is a new Max For Live creative granular effect processor powered by a uniquely designed engine. Both the granular playback and FX engine are driven by a simulation of a forest that evolves through DNA mixing and mutations over generations. In simple: it is inspired by the cycle of nature.

In Grain Forest, each “tree in the forest” is an independent grain/voice that samples audio and grows from the “soil” beneath. They have their own unique audio mix coming from various audio sources.

The trees have their own DNA which modulates the grain’s playback and FX parameter depending on how you set up those three species (up to 4 species). You can have up to 4 unique audio source mixes for the trees to sample from.

Each tree has independent settings that allow you to customize how it grows, survives, and reproduces. Of course, there are also classic granular playback parameters, including direction, grain size, pitch, and more. Then, you can also find here an FX engine that consists of a multimode filter, delay, gain, and pan.


And just like in real nature, pollen is also on the move here. Except these don’t cause persistent sneezing fits. The Pollen from trees allows you to mix the DNA with another tree and create a new seed, optionally with mutations. Further, they are two LFOs with perlin noise option allowing to infuse motion into the process.

Dillon Bastan promises it can be an advanced granular delay, a texture generator, a glitch/chaotic effect, or a dynamic sampler. A big like goes to the GUI. This is one of the first DB releases with a non-Ableton Live tiny interface and it’s very well done for a Max For Live Devices.

Dillon Bastan has released very exciting M4L devices in recent years. some for free some for little money. This is probably one of his deepest and most extensive so far. At first glance, it is certainly a bit more complicated to understand how it works, but the idea of combining the cycle of nature with music technology is ingenious.

Dillon Bastan Grain Forest is available now for $15+ USD from its official store. It runs in Ableton Live 10 and 11 with Max For Live installed.

More information here: Isotonik Studios

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