The ndial combines automated sampling and sequencing with manual controls to navigate sound worlds in unpredictable ways. The system selects samples at random from a live or prerecorded source and maps them to a hardware interface—an 8-step sequencer that goes around instead of along. The interface can match pulses, record live samples, reorganize patterns, add effects, and reanimate performances in real time. Recordings are explored out of order, and because control of the content is limited, preconceived strategies give way to the matters at hand.
The ndial is designed for use with the onism software system. Four ndials were used in the large-scale performance-game, Reconsidering the Pattern in Light of the System. Performing with the ndial is called nterplay. A typical nterplay lasts between 8-15 minutes with each ndial drawing from one sound world—a recording, song, speech or live input. nterplays are flexible and game-like and can involve anywhere from 1 to 4 ndialists. nterplays are kind of like concerts and kind of like games, somewhere in between.