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Borderlands Granular

By Chris Carlson

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Touch, transform, and explore sound with granular synthesis, a technique involving the superposition of tiny fragments of sound, or “grains," to create complex, evolving timbres and textures.

“The best app for exploring sound just got better... This is 'go out and buy an iPad to run it' good stuff.“ -Peter Kirn, Create Digital Music

“Borderlands has floored us. It is very rare that we find an app that is not only fun to use, but extremely useful. It is truly inspiring. The interface is stunning, the sounds are so evocative: they're a film composer's dream.”
Paul Hepker and Mark Kilian, Film Composers (Tsotsi, Rendition, Eye in the Sky)

“It’s beautiful, it’s absolutely great. It goes in a completely new direction. I wish software companies would make more [programs] like that for the computer and not only for the iPad.”
Christian Fennesz, Experimental Musician. Interview from Tiny Mix Tapes, May 2014

“When I first saw the demo video for Borderlands Granular in 2012, my jaw hit the floor. My first thought was ‘THIS is what making music on an iPad should be.’”
Sean Garland,

"The pre-eminent ease of handling the application while it performs extremely complex realtime computations of granular synthesis is truly impressive and allows the user to concentrate fully, and in a very playful way, on the creative process."
2013 Prix Ars Electronica Jury for Digital Musics and Sound Art

Borderlands emphasizes gestural interaction over knobs and sliders. Create, drag, and throw pulsing clouds of grains over a landscape of audio files, or use the built-in accelerometer to sculpt sound with gravity.

Borderlands comes ready to play with default sample content included, but you can also load and export your own sounds via Audiobus, Audioshare, and real time input from the mic or external audio interfaces. Re-sample recordings made within the app on-the-fly for layers-upon-layers of granulation.

You can also improvise alongside the app - touches and parameters may be recorded, looped, stored, and duplicated. Entire configurations of clouds, sounds, and automation can be saved into presets, or “scenes,” that may be recalled at a later time, allowing Borderlands to seamlessly transition between the studio and the stage.

More information is available at

Twitter: @BorderlandsiPad
Instagram: borderlands_granular
Facebook: BorderlandsGranular

What's New in Version 2.0

New Features:
Audiobus Sender, Filter, and Receiver support
AudioShare import and export
Real time audio input recording and granulation
Gesture recording and looping for cloud parameters and positions
Save and load "scenes" - presets of clouds, sounds, and automation
Resonant filters for each grain cloud with per grain randomization
...and much more!

Fixed common sources of crashes on launch.
Better sample import options
Better performance, hardware accelerated audio
Support for external audio interfaces
Improved memory handling
Multiple sample rates and buffer sizes supported
Interface rotation supported
File sharing enabled

iPad Screenshots

iPad Screenshot 1
iPad Screenshot 2
iPad Screenshot 3
iPad Screenshot 4
iPad Screenshot 5

Customer Reviews

Great app but with frustrating file management

Borderlands is a great granular synthesizer.
But given that it's entire purpose is to work with samples, the sample management options are frustratingly limited.
In order to load a sample or save a recording from within Borderlands, one must use AudioShare, an additional $5 app.
Thankfully Borderlands does support AudioBus, but that's quite a roundabout approach, because it requires a sample playback app, routed into borderlands for recording, then yet another app for recording the output from borderlands yet again. This is not ideal when working with long samples, nor is it ideal given notoriously unstable iOS app reliability when working with large samples in small device memory capacities, nor is it ideal when there may be any number of different sample rates or bit-depths between apps, resulting in questionable audio quality.
Supporting an industry standard file management solution like Dropbox or even the freely available (and industry standard to a lesser extent) AudioCopy would cure a major headache.

One of the best things this year for iOS IMHO

It's like iOS music Christmas right now, Borderlands Granular audio import has been on my most anticipated features for this update.... and has gone far past that expectation. Audiobus and AudioShare really did it for me, but the filters were and record features make Borderlands something truly unique. I will be spending a lot of time with Borderlands in the days 2 come.

Utterly Unique

This app is nothing short of Genius. The manipulation of grains of sound is immediate, fluid, tactile and intuitive. It is addictive from the get go and the textures and moods you can squeeze out of even a few samples are almost infinite. Getting sounds in and out is a breeze since the update. Recording of parameter automisation and filters adds a whole new level and incredible as a granular effect on a live input. Amazing.

Borderlands Granular
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Category: Music
  • Updated:
  • Version: 2.0
  • Size: 14.8 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.

Customer Ratings

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