Screenshot 2014.02.09 13.23.20

Now we know how an MPC would behave if it were engineered on planet Vulcan.

If you’re tired of conventional slicers and step sequencers, Sector turns audio into glitchy, stuttering, elaborate electronic patterns. Sound is fractured into a massive circle, resembling nothing if not some sort of archaic astronomical calendar, as arcing lines connect one slice to another and brightly-colored dots in the center illuminate to show more conventional steps as they advance.

Still too regular for you? Fret not. All of this is randomized for coin-flip pattern variations. Warp modes and modulation shapes, all controllable, add additional glitching and stuttering.

The basic model:

Sound is divided into slices, called sectors (2-32 of them).
There’s a matrix for probability – the Markov-chain matrix.
There’s a pattern sequencer (the more conventional part, though sounding anything but when used in combination).
Time warping performs stretching on the sound.

In other words, once your sound is sliced up, chance and conventional pattern sequencing triggers individual segments of audio, which are then warped.

It sounds complex, but the user interface brings all of this together in a surprisingly-understandable idiom, and really you’re likely to play around and see what works. IDM is back, folks.

There’s a very clear manual now to read up on what’s happening:

Author Jonatan Liljedahl is a composer and musician, classically trained in Sweden, performing experimental and more beat-ish music internationally. It’s nice to see his compositional imagination applied to software in this way – software is the latest adventurous medium for the composer.

And Jonatan tells us he’s hard at work doing new things – MIDI clock sync, in-app recording, and artist loops. (Also cool: he’s got a tip on recording iOS apps, Reflector, which does wireless mirroring and has recording built right in.)

This is already, I think, a must-buy. Going to have fun playing with it. Enjoy!

Screenshot 2014.02.09 13.04.51

Screenshot 2014.02.09 13.03.57

Works with Audiobus.

Audio samples (made with AudioShare, another of Jonatan’s apps):

  • kel

    ahh… which this was windows :( my wallet cant justify any iOs .
    looks great!!!

  • kel

    wish* lol

  • Hideouswhennaked

    Huh, I wonder if the interface was inspired by Infinite Jukebox:
    Looks awesome though, like having your own personal Squarepusher!

  • abluesky

    All of these sound cloud samples are distorting terribly on my laptop.

  • gunboat_d

    it’s getting harder to resist buying an ipad.

    • just passing

      Indeed. The only thing standing between me and an iThingy are my principles.

    • gunboat_d

      If only the other mobile ecosystems weren’t a giant flaming bag of turds when it came to audio. They are more useful than iOS for everything else, but not audio.

    • just passing

      I hear you. Part of it is that iOS can optimise for specific hardware, whereas all other mobile OSes are at the mercy of the processors, and the Linux drivers for whatever they happen to be building around. And then there’s the actual OS-level audio path itself, and the difference between compiling for Dalvik and being able to compile native ARMv7 code…

      Companies like Waldorf wouldn’t be ignoring the (rather larger, by now) Android market if there weren’t solid technical reasons for doing so. What happened to Google ensuring that the Nexus devices had credibly low latency? Perhaps synth writers should simply target specific Android devices, rather than trying to cover the full generality of the Android market? I promise, if they build it, we will come.

      Which reminds me, I need to stick my paw in my purse for Caustic and SunVox at some point. Can scarcely ask Waldorf to do an Android Nave if I haven’t bought what does exist, can I…?


      To the Applebrain we seem to have attracted: if you really believe that people objecting to Apple on either preference or principle is something that elicits such ire in what remains unsold of your soul that you need to take it out on a couple of innocent down arrows, please take a long hard look at your life choices, with reference to the desperation of your need to belong. Apple fandom may have saved you from the allure of your local cult, but that’s scarcely a recommendation now, is it?

  • tesla3090

    If only this was a vst…

  • trash80

    Interface reminds me of Mmm pi.

  • mikefreq

    This app is amazing! I can’t stop playing with it! I’ve loaded all kinds of stuff in here to mangle. Pads, loops, randomly played keys or whatever really. The ability to change the number of steps after the fact is the feature I find most useful from a creative point of view. This is definitely a must have app. I can’t wait for the new features but it’s spectacular as is…

  • Laurence Willis

    totally reminds me of the OTTO –

  • Steve Kirn

    OK, this is way too cool for me. Can’t wait to see more outputs. But, alas, it makes me feel REALLY old, as my prior (mathematics) experience with Markov-Chains was in high school, pre-1965. To show how times have changed, our problems then were slow, manual (and I DO mean “manual”, as in paper and pencil, times-tables, manual algebraic calculations and such, since this was pre-calculator time) projections of the chained outcomes of various patterns of frogs hopping around on probability-weighted lily pads.

    You had to be there.

    And there wasn’t any sound, or color, or motion (other than in my head).

  • michaelmatos

    Ducking love this. Best thing in ages. So fun and weird and perfect. The sequencer is balls out amazing. Midi sync so I can lock it to my modular please?!

  • Richard A

    Really interesting piece of software, canĀ“t wait for midi sync capabilities. Would be great to control the volume of each sector (or am I overseeing something and is this already possible?).