If loopers have been getting you down by being a bit, well, repetitive, this is for you.

It starts as a simple, drag-and-drop looper. Add it to Ableton Live and drop your audio on it. But then things get a little … um … different.

Inspired by turntablism, loops in Diachronic cycle continuously. But speeds can be changed spontaneously, as if the hole in the record could be shifted in position. And the results are absolutely nuts. (Underscoring that effect, the promo video for version 1 is narrated by a calm British narrator, intoning parameters solemnly, with names you’d be forgiven for thinking were made up, all as a Reich-ian loop grows ever-weirder in the background.)

The duration doesn’t change — think a turntable rotating — but speed (and pitch) through that duration can.

diachronic2

Diachronic 1.0 is available free for Ableton Live and Max for Live (now included in Live Suite). The new 2.0 version, adding additional features like slicing, is 39€ (on a special launch offer).

Features of both:

  • Instantaneous speed functions, drawn directly on the looper
  • Three needles: instantaneous speed, constant speed, offset position
  • More parameters: smoothing, cycles, duration (speed variations), symmetrize, reset, invert
  • Presets, on-the-fly scene recall

Version 1.0 tutorial gives you a good idea of the fundamental idea:

Diachronic Basic Tutorial from Diachronic Media LTD on Vimeo.

Version 1.0 is already fairly wild, and a good place to start for free.

Version 1.0 is already fairly wild, and a good place to start for free.

Version 2.0 adds additional features:

  • Additional waveform controls for easier modulation
  • Improved UI look (with nice black background)
  • Slicing
  • Individual slice controls: on/off, dry/variable speed per-slice, cutoff.
  • Multiple aux sends for signal/internal sounds
  • Modulation sends, for sending MIDI to internal and external devices

diachronicslices

diachronicOUTS

This Max for Live device is apparently just the start. The project has greater goals:

Diachronic is a project based on a new vision of timing emerged from years of researches and experiments, and it’s inspired by Turntablism, Science and Avantgarde.

Here’s how that turntablist idea began: watch the record closely. (This is a whole heck of a lot of fun in the mechanical realm.)

Diachronic: Origins – www.diachronicmusic.com from Diachronic Media LTD on Vimeo.

Some of the descriptions read like Zen koans:

To design speed function in real time allows to forge your sound starting from a normal loop. The machine will provide to always staying on the beat at the end of the measure, so you could work inside the fixed duration of your loop manipulating the sound as a plastic matter.

Playing speeds means surfing on beats and tunes. From dissonance to scratch, from breaks to syncopations, drive speed parameters and feel the sound of your loop like a fluid substance that blows in your mind.

Grab the software:
http://www.diachronicmusic.com/product/diachronic-1-0-free/Diachronic 1.0 Free

Diachronic 2.0

Where it began: turntablism. Now, what if that record weren't centered, and weren't playing at a constant speed... Photo (CC-BY-SA) sunny_J.

Where it began: turntablism. Now, what if that record weren’t centered, and weren’t playing at a constant speed… Photo (CC-BY-SA) sunny_J.

  • http://fzero.ca/ Fabio Neves

    I thought the origin was this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp49snF3KmE

  • http://nutation.net/ rseymour

    Christian Marclay.

    • Diachronic Music

      Yes: Marclay, Boyd Rice first, then Alva Noto in 99, or simply a 7″ without the wheel in the middle… that’s just the beginning, a cycloid variation, but Diachronic allows to design many different kind of waves, not a cycloid only…

  • Stéphane Morisse

    Hi, bought your device and love it but the UI is highly unresponsive on the slider and the offset arrow compared to version 1. When I want to move the arrow in V2, I often draw in the slider by accident. The NO 4 8 16 section action is not clear at all and not documented. Can you point us to some video to clarify it ? This was clear with version 1 but here I can’t spot the change…

    • Stéphane Morisse

      Please, any news about development or bug fighting ? This plug in is pricey for a MFL device and I get a little worried about its lifetime…

    • Diachronic Music

      This plug is based on a patented algorithm: it is a new instrument that
      needed years of experiments. You cannot compare it to an fx or a filter.
      It’s a completely different thing. MFL is just an arbitrary platform,
      the most immediate way to realise it, and this platform has its own
      limits. A stand alone hardware will be a better solution, of course, but
      not so easy and cheap.

    • Stéphane Morisse

      As a max programmer and sound designer for a long time now, I sure don’t compare this to an effect… But your points are irrelevant : I don’t care about your patented algorithm. This device is pricey for a max based device : think about the free granulator synth by Robert Henke for example, which is not the average substractive synth, or the Tide synth by Christian Kleine, which is given awayif you buy an album for 10€… What worries me is that the paid version is totally unusable for me in a live context, and a pain to use in the studio, and that you haven’t provided any update for a while now… neither gave me some news about the bugs I documented with screen captures.

    • Diachronic Music

      More functions need space and in M4L it is limited. Version 1 was more simple… the scaling happens in real time in both versions and that’s the playful key, of course some features could be improved, thanks for suggestion. The NO 4 8 16 section it is a loop edit session: by these keys you could select an arbitrary portion (NO), or a multiple of 1/4, 1/8 or 1/16 of the whole loop.