Chain, Chain, Chain: Crazy Nodal Note Sequencing Departs from Everyday Step Sequencers [Kontakt]

Ready to step beyond normal step sequencers? Skip ahead in the tutorial videos here, and you’ll see what’s possible: elaborate grid patterns that don’t just play looped patterns ad infinitum. Now, as in milkshakes and ice cream cones, sometimes vanilla is just fine. For instance, this week, Nord released Nord Beat, a free step sequencer for iOS. And, apart from being free if you’ve got the iThing to run it, it’s a nice offering. You can chain together multiple loops of steps, and there’s a clever mode for switching to finger drumming. The system works: you get four tracks, velocity …

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Making Digital One-of-a-Kind: Inside Icarus’ Generative Album in 1000 Variations

Even the artwork changes. This is my personal copy – #148. Digital: disposable, identical, infinitely reproducible. Recordings: static, unchanging. Or … are they? Icarus’ Fake Fish Distribution (FFD), a self-described “album in 1000 variations,” generates a one-of-a-kind download for each purchaser. Generative, parametric software takes the composition, by London-based musicians-slash-software engineers Ollie Bown and Sam Britton, and tailors the output so that each file is distinct. If you’re the 437th purchaser of the limited-run of 1000, in other words, you get a composition that is different from 436 before you and 438 after you. The process breaks two commonly-understood notions …

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Cells 2.0 Melds Renoise with Ableton Live-Style Clip Launching

Renoise’s scripting interface is something special, allowing people to build anything they imagine in a way that’s directly integrated with this production studio – no add-ons required. But whether or not you yourself want to code, that also means access to the imagination of the Renoise user base. And one of the most impressive shows so far is an ambitious process to duplicate Ableton Live’s mixer and clip launching interface inside Renoise. We first saw that effort at the end of the year, but it’s now about to reach a whole new level. Now, in fairness, part of why people …

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Shuffling, Slicing, and Glitching Audio, and Other Modular Max for Live Devices

For fans of slicing, dicing, glitching, reversing, and shuffling incoming audio streams, this Max for Live Device is for you. Shuffler 2.0 is the latest in a series of “modular” Max for Live devices from developer Isotonik Studios. Mappable to MIDI, the suite of Devices focuses on simpler tasks in ways that can be combined. There are interactive Follow Actions, for instance — a feature I’ve long argued should be native to Ableton Live — plus tools for more easily mapping MIDI to envelopes. There’s a convenient Looper. From last week, there’s a module called Smart, capable of mapping some …

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Ableton Live-Style Performance Interface, Scripted Entirely in Renoise: Cells!

In a marvel of DIY engineering, one intrepid user of the tracker-made-modern music making environment Renoise has reconstructed the basic elements of the Ableton Live interface. With quantized clip launching on channels and even a crossfader, it’s unmistakably a copy of what Ableton does. I don’t think you’d dump your install of Ableton for this; the whole reason you’d want a feature like this is really if you prefer other elements of Renoise that are different from Live. But as a proof-of-concept, it’s pretty extraordinary. (Ableton users, the ball’s in your court: someone want to make a tracker in Max …

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Grid Machine Slice: Custom Kontakt Sample Library, Gone Mad

I tend to tune out when it comes to sample libraries, but here’s one that takes the scripting capabilities of Native Instruments’ Kontakt sampler to extremes. The Grid Machine line developed by Lindon Parker (Channel Robot) and distributed by LoopMasters brings to Kontakt the sort of grid-based, sliced-up sample manipulation we’ve seen in the monome community and in custom tools in environments like Ableton Live and Renoise. Using KSP, the scripting environment in Kontakt, these produce entirely-custom instruments that cut, chop, stutter, reverse, mix, trigger, sub-loop, re-trigger, and modulate. You can change speed, mute, skip, reorder, and play patterns, and …

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Fruity Loops Gone Live: New FL Studio Performance Mode in Alpha (Video)

FL Studio, beloved to its users by its original name “Fruity Loops,” has long had a Playlist mode that could be used to assemble simple live performances by jumping to sections of your music. But a new alpha mode takes this mode far further. It’s still based on the Playlist, but can add clips dynamically – including Audio, Automation, and Pattern. While still in early testing, developer Image-Line has released some information about how triggering works, as well as the video above. And oddly enough, just like the video we saw earlier this week in Renoise, it employs a Novation …

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More Renoise Step Sequence Goodness: Launchpad + Lauflicht (Other Controllers, Too)

There’s a beautiful immediacy and tactile quality to hardware step sequencers. And there’s all the flexibility, convenience, and power of software. Solution: combine them. We’ve been following various custom creations for the music production tool Renoise – the latest being a lovely performance grid, and back in 2009, the beginnings of Launchpad grid sequencing. You can thank Renoise’s powerful API, which allows its users to modify the way the app works with surprising ease (at least for the hack-inclined), all for free. The latest is Lauflicht, an 8-, 16-, or 32-step step sequencer for the Novation Launchpad controller (or, alternatively, …

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Music from Code: In Simple Text, Live Coding Steve Reich-ian Rhythms with Free Overtone

Writing code for music may still seem a remote notion to the vast majority of even geekier digital musicians, but as exemplified by the language Overtone, it looks very different than coding once did. Whereas sound code was once a type-and-render affair, new coding environments focus on live coding. They use elegant, lightweight modern languages that take up less space. And they can be surprisingly musical, coming remarkably close to just typing “play a c major chord.” Not to say that you won’t look plenty geeky doing it — but, hey, if you can’t impress slash frighten your friends a …

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A Killer Performance Grid in Renoise Shows Off This Hackable Music Tool

If you just want to fire up Renoise, the modern tracker/music production app, and not worry about the fact that its innards are hackable, you can. But for a reason why you might at least want to explore customization of this music tool, give the video above a look. It starts sleepy and slow … and then, part of the way through, as creator Dac Chartrand starts demoing the tool, something really special happens. (Anyway, that’s what I think. See if you agree.) Dac explains his work, completed at the recent Montreal Music Hackday: My Renoise hack was Grid Pie. …

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