Ultomaton - Generative Effects Processor

Hello everyone,

I’ve been working on this app for some time now and decided it is finished enough to share ;-).

Ultomaton is a generative effects processor built to provide live electronic accompaniment for any acoustic improviser. It uses John Conway’s Game of Life to trigger events. These events are reflected in changes of Ultomaton’s effect parameters. Although the Game of Life is at the very core of this application, Ultomaton feels very much like a game of chance, which can be controlled by the performer to a great extent. As different settings have a considerable influence on the auditory result, Ultomaton provides a myriad of electronic backdrops to improvise with.


Quick Start:

For those with a 256 grid, I included a hidden feature: click the icon in the top right corner to play the Game of Life on your grid.

Download: https://github.com/benjaminvanesser/ultomaton

The app is still under development. The Windows version was poorly tested but should work just fine. Let me know if you find any bugs …


Whoa! This looks really fun. It makes me want to embrace my guitar, after ages I haven’t touched it. Thanks for sharing!


Like @AlessandroBonino maybe this will get me to dust off my neglected guitar! Looks great and well done


This is great! I am looking forward to digging into this deeper and making some music with it!

Is there a way to not hear the source signal? (i.e., hear just the output and not the input? Like having a wet/dry knob set all the way to ‘wet’.)

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You point specifically to the 256 Grid, what about the 128?

Scratch my question as I wasn’t thinking you were referencing those who have their Grid attached to their computer.

Very cool. I’ve downloaded and will be trying it out shortly.

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Well, that was certainly easy to set up. Already running some prerecorded audio through it. The randomness of the microloopers works great. Now I want a dozen foot pedals.


Just downloaded and fired it up: acoustic guitar >> Strymon TimeLine >> Ditto Looper >> Ultomaton.

This is beautiful!! Easy to set up and I’m already in the midst of a blooming, buzzing swarm of sound. Currently playing with stutter in the left channel, freeze in the right.

@ithkaa Thank you so much for sharing this.

What would be the best way for me to record the audio output on my laptop? Would Ableton work?


It has a built in recorder on the top left. If for some reason you didn’t want to use that, audio hijack would work well, or you could use something like soundflower to pipe the audio into your DAW.

@ithkaa just played with this for half an hour, super fun. Definitely going to explore more seriously down the road. Thank you for sharing and all your hard work!


@rbxbx Brilliant, thank you so much


If you don’t want to hear the dry signal, disconnect the input from the output in the routing matrix (turn top left button on the routing matrix off)


Ah - I suspected it was something in the routing matrix, but this is my first time using a matrix and my random flailings didn’t work out. Thanks!!

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that’s great! thank you!

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Loaded up no problems (did get a “no disk in drive” warning, but was able to click through) — looks and sounds so good. Looking forward to spending some time with this. Thanks for sharing!!

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I did a short initial (live) test recording, playing a Giuliani guitar exercise:


My first run out with some piano noodling.

A bit of (unintentional) glitching at times - not sure what that is about - but otherwise an amazing achievement.

The software. Not the noodle.


Thank you!
Minor problem : the window is a bit too large for my 13" screen. And I don’t get any scrollbar to adjust it.

Mac or pc? I’ve checked it on my old mbp13 … was ok there.

That’s probably the reversed stretcher recording and playing back at the same time. I’ll take a look at it as soon as I have some spare time

It it helps at all I’ve posted a screenshot of the patch here

Disclaimer:- It was my first couple of hours with it so there is no guarantee I hand’t done something stupid and set up a feedback loop or similar.