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Patterning on iPad is a circular, sample-savvy drum machine

We’re in a the golden age of the drum machine, whether it’s dedicated hardware or a computer or a mobile gadget. Of course, that means it’s getting tougher to stand out. Patterning is one of the most promising software entries yet. I’m already a huge fan of Elastic Drums for its rich approach to timbre – this could be my other fast favorite. Patterning side-steps the two problems with most drum machines – boring, regular patterns, and boring, predictable sounds. Patterning’s user interface is centered around a circle, as cycles of time repeat in futuristic rotating colored geometries. We’ve seen …

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clapping

Free Clapping Music App Teaches You Steve Reich – And Rhythm

Before there was Rock Band and Guitar Hero, there was Steve Reich’s 1972 Clapping Music. And like all etudes, it’s a game. Now an iPhone app makes it an actual game.

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Pyramid is High-End MIDI, Analog Sequencer Gear with Effects [Gallery]

Maybe it’s because people have started collecting lots of gear. Maybe it’s a shift in how people play live. Maybe it’s just that we’re getting more than enough mileage out of our laptop as the machine for mixing and tracking and recording and mastering and managing our tour and our social network. Whatever the reason, boy, are we seeing a lot of focus on dedicated hardware – especially for live performance. The Pyramid, from oddly-named Squarp (Squarepusher + arpeggio?), looks like what would happen if Elektron decided to make its own standalone step sequencer without the drum machine. Or at …

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Polyrhythmus is an Insanely-Great, Free Generator of Rhythms, Arpeggios

Polyrhythmus is the machine generator of notes and rhythms many of us have long dreamt of. It does Euclidean rhythms – symmetrical divisions of time that beautifully produce common polyrhythms (not just for nerds, but modeling a lot of popular rhythms – see the research of Godfried Toussaint). It’s also capable of making other rhythms. It can be polymetrical or polyrhythmic. It’s … also an arpeggiator. It also automates parameters and MIDI Control Change messages. It has loads of modes. It’s modular. It’s dynamic. It’s amazing. It’s a music making nerd’s dream, friendly to anyone who loves rhythms, notes, and …

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Rhythm, Recoded in Plug-ins, Ableton Live: A Conversation with WaveDNA

Music software is at its best when it goes beyond cookie-cutter regularity, and spawns something creative. And sometimes, the path there involves retooling how that music is made. That’s why I’m pleased to get to share this interview with WaveDNA. Liquid Rhythm is something unlike just about anything else in music software. It looks like a music theory class collided with a mandala. In colored patterns, arrayed in bars and wheels, you can produce all kinds of new rhythms, then integrate deeply with your host software. If you use Ableton Live, the integration goes further still. Whether you’re using Drum …

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808 Patterns, Visualized in Posters, Connect Graphic to Rhythmic

Designing a piece of gear, an interface, is a musical exercise much as is sketching a written score. It’s particularly apparent in the simple but descriptive “x0x” grid of the step sequencer on the Roland TR-808. Graphic designer Rob Ricketts has made some beautiful, arresting posters that simply provide those patterns. Apologies if you’ve seen these already, but several people sent them into me and I saw them making the rounds, and they’re worth spotting. Now, next: a monome poster? Or what visualization might next be clearest? Program Your 808 (4 poster series, 2011) A series of informative posters detailing …

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Bassnectar on Beat Structure, EDM, and Dubstep, Illustrated: Hearing Rhythm

How do you hear? What do you hear? Coming to agreement about something rooted in perception is by definition a doomed exercise. But that means the best thing to do is not so much to agree as to talk about the music – about what you hear – and not just the labels. Amidst glib online comments and the micro-fragmentation of genre, it’s hard to get anyone to give you a straight answer about just what’s going on in electronic dance music. That’s ironic – because, at its essence, it’s pretty straightforward. The situation has gotten worse: as “dubstep,” the …

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Time and Tune, More Fluid: Melodyne Editor 2.0 Brings New Tools, ReWire

The Melodyne editor, which promises to make working with audio as fluid as working with MIDI, has long had some impressive technology under the hood. But it’s as the tool gradually matures in terms of workflow and usability that I think it could win some additional converts. Melodyne 2.0 is a major update to the editor all around, with additional timing and tuning options and better usability, and the addition of ReWire (atop plug-in compatibility) is a big plus for some. It’s easiest to just see the videos, but the overview of what’s new in this release: Attack Speed tool …

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Euclidean Rhythms in Ableton MIDI Clips for Polyrhythmic Good Times; Microtonal Operator

Ready to make your Ableton Live pattern programming a bit more polyrhythmic with the power of math? In Monday’s reflections and round-up of cycles and circles, I mentioned Euclidean evenness and Godfried Toussaint’s research. The basic idea is that a mathematical algorithm for spacing pulses has a lot in common with traditional preferences for polyrhythms spanning everything from rock hits to conga patterns and musical cultures around the world. Reader Tony Wheeler has turned those patterns into MIDI clips so you can drop patterns into Ableton Live. Drum patterns and dance music are obvious applications, but this could be an …

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Don’t Mean A Thing: Swinger Adds Swing to Anything

Photo (CC) John Manoogian III. Wish you could make any track swing? Tristan Jehan, grad of the MIT Hyperinstruments Group and c0-founder of The Echo Nest, made that happen at San Francisco’s Music Hack Day. The Python code uses the Echo Nest’s sound-processing magic, available to the world via open Web APIs, in order to analyze tracks and re-synthesize them in swing form. The results are — well, somewhat terrifying, though in a cool way. Paul Lamere of Music Machinery points this our way and has a ton of examples on his terrific, sound geek-friendly blog. (The post must have …

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