Ghost in the shell uses a reverb lite and a granular module, fed back into itself, to produce different textures of reverb, with the option to use a sequencer to switch between different presets. The granular module’s grain size and pitch are changed per preset, creating a wealth of textures that range from tremolos to pitchshifting to phasing to vaguely formant-like sounds (which is where the name of this patch came from; I felt like ZOIA was “talking” to me when I stumbled upon this combination. I’ve seen, like, four anime movies in my life, and one of them is called Ghost in the Shell, which, if my twenty year old memory serves me right, is about whether an AI can have a soul).
It is not really a “pretty” reverb, but I think it’s an excellent “mood-setting” reverb. Especially if that mood is a sort of dystopian haunted house.
There’s also a “stutter” effect; this is not a glitch/loop/note repeat sort of stutter. I was thinking more of guitar killswitch pedals, which are sometimes called stutter pedals. It is, essentially, a randomized “tremolo” (it doesn’t vary the level; instead of drops the grain density of the granular module, which has a very similar effect). This developed out of the idea of different voices interrupting one another.
The patch is stereo throughout.
Left footswitch — cycles between different modes; in each mode, the middle and right stompswitches serve different purposes; a UI button in the bottom left corner changes color depending on the mode)
SEQUENCER MODE (blue) — the patch cycles through eight presets using a stochastic/random walk sequencer
Middle stompswitch — sets tap tempo** for the sequencer and the stutter effect; the stutter effect has a clock divider, located on the second page
Right stompswitch — pauses the sequencer; when the sequencer is paused, the different buttons surrounding the controls can be pressed to change “presets” (you can also do this while the sequencer is running); when paused, a blue light will appear beside the sequencer controls (see below)
STUTTER MODE (yellow) — the patch cycles through randomized grain sizes and detune amounts based on the stutter control (note: works even if the stutter is turned off; see below)
Middle stompswitch — sets tap tempo** for the stutter effect; the stutter effect has a clock divider, located on the second page
Right stompswitch — pauses the randomizer; if you chance upon a setting you like, you can pause the randomizer; when the randomizer is paused a yellow light will appear next to the shift chance control (see below)
** MIDI clock will override tap tempo if detected.
CONTROLLED RANDOM (white) — the randomization is controlled entirely by the footswitches
Middle stompswitch — randomize grain size and detune
Right stompswitch — only detune is randomized
Blue controls affect the sequencer:
Step chance — sets the probability that the sequencer will advance or not; higher values make it more likely that the sequencer will advance
Direction chance — sets the probability that the sequencer will step forward or backward; higher values make it more likely that the sequencer will move forward
What’s this mean? If the step chance is set to 50% and the direction chance is set to 75%, then half of the time when the sequencer receives a clock/beat signal, it will ignore. When it doesn’t ignore the signal and “advances” it has a 75% chance of moving forward to the next step, and a 25% chance of moving backwards to the previous step.
White controls affect the stutter control:
Stutter amount — this determines the probability that a stutter will occur (it also affects the length of a stutter, as the more often a stutter occurs, the more often two or more occur in succession); higher values = stutter is less likely to occur (this control is probably poorly named, but, hey, c’est la vie)
Stutter depth — sets the degree of change to grain density; higher values = lower grain density; if the stutter is moving quickly and the amount is higher (less stutters are produced), then changes in this control will be hard to identify; however, if the stutter is moving slowly and the amount is low, this can have the affect, at different depths, of producing changes in a sort of tremolo effect caused by the scarcity of the grains
Stutter on — turns the stutter effect off and on
Additionally, a pixel in the top left corner indicates when a stutter occurs (by blinking off; as it is tied to the probability gate used to determine stutters, it will blink, even if the stutter effect is turned off).
Yellow controls pertain to the STUTTER mode:
Shift chance — in STUTTER mode this determines the likelihood that a given stutter will accompany a change in grain density and detuning; higher values = more likely that a stutter will produce a shift in those values; at 0, no changes are produced, at 1 a change is produced every time the stutter occurs; this control continues to work even when the stutter effect is turned off
Aqua controls are global and affect the reverb’s sound:
Pre-delay — determines the onset of the reverb, but it also affects the sound of the reverb, particularly as it relates to pitch-shifting (this modulates the grain position of the granular module; since the granular module feeds back into itself, the amount of time between regenerations will affect the speed at which detuning becomes magnified)
Decay — sets the decay of the reverb
Detune spread — determines the range across which detune can occur; presets were selected with this control set at .500
Mix — a wet/dry mix
Octave up — shifts the pitch of the granular module up an octave; this does not produce a “shimmer” reverb in the traditional sense (it is much more… I’m at a loss for words here that aren’t overly subjective; I would say that it is not as “pretty” but I find it sort of eerily beautiful); it can create a very “metallic” (?) texture