Two Brians and Twelve Absynthists

Hard at work (

This past weekend we held the first big brain audio course on Absynth 5. It was a great honor for me to co-teach this workshop with Brian Clevinger, the creator of Absynth.

Brian Clevinger (

I think I can speak for Brian and for all of the participants in saying that it was an extremely positive and rich experience! We all learned quite a bit during the two-day intensive course where we covered just about every nook and cranny of this legendary software instrument. At the end, we had a roomful of 12 very competent Absynth sound designers!

I first met Brian Clevinger several years ago when I was working on the Absynth 3 tutorial DVD for Native Instruments. I was struck by his clear and deliberate way of explaining things as well as his profoundly philosophical approach to sound. Unlike many synth developers, Brian has a very strong classical background in composition. He also has an ear for experimentation and for exploring new worlds of sound and has worked with a number of other composers and sound artists over the years.

Brian Smith explains (

Brian released the very first version of Absynth ten years ago and has been developing it ever since. Right from the start, Absynth became the secret weapon of a growing number of audio professionals; it is a sound universe in itself, different from any other instrument I know. Now in its fifth version, it’s a choice tool for countless film composers, game audio designers, sound artists, and performing musicians around the world.

Brian Clevinger on waves (

Although I consider myself an Absynth power user, I learned quite a bit from Brian this weekend. He gave us all a great deal of insight into the way Absynth works and showed us a lot of very useful techniques for creating our own patches.

As with the Reaktor workshops in the summer, we had 12 highly-motivated participants in the big brain audio classroom. They came from England, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, as well as from Germany. Each one of them had their own unique approach to sound. And each one contributed greatly to the workshop by sharing their rich and varied experiences as musicians and producers.

One of the most enlightening moments for me was when we played the patches that the participants had created for a specific exercise. Having been given the same conditions — the same piece of software, the same workstations, and the same exercise — each person created something completely different. The sounds ranged from driving electrobeats for the dance floor to atmospheric ambiences, ready to be dropped into a film sound track. It was simply amazing to listen to the variety of quality work that they all produced!

Eating is important (
Hard-earned beer after the workshop (Foto:Björlin)