Generative: the rhythmic frontier. These are the voyages of the starship MicroTonic. Its online mission: to explore strange new grooves, to seek out new beats and new musical cultures …
Yes, Patternarium, by software scientists Magnus and Fredrik Lindström of SonicCharge (Synplant, µTonic, Reason’s Malström), have built a server-based rhythmic generation tool. You, the human, don’t have to do much: reality TV show-style, just vote up or down patterns you hear, and the generative scripts will continue spawning new, evolved rhythms. I suppose if you believe in the power of democratic action, eventually this could lead to some sort of new replacement for the “Amen break.”
I actually am more in love with the interface than the thought of servers making beats for me. The results play as a lovely, radial arrangement of rectangles. As for the accompanying starfield and Star Trek:
Wrath of Kahn The Motion Picture typography, well, that’s just a bonus.
These aren’t just beats for your browser, though. You can download the results to SonicCharge’s fantastic synthesis-powered drum machine (VST, AU/PC, Mac). And that brings us to the real news hidden in this story: SonicCharge are cooking up a new version of MicroTonic, which is good news, indeed. They’re not saying much, but they are willing to reveal that the new version supports drag and drop of patterns as MIDI files, meaning that you’ll be able to easily create a bank of pattern-triggering clips in something like Ableton Live. (A recent update to Native Instruments’ Maschine did the same, suggesting drag-able grooves are something we’ll see more often.)
Always delicious, always rhythmically nutritious, µTonic aka “MicroTonic”:
Can’t be bothered to try it yourself? Need a narration? Here’s Torley with a video, via Synthtopia.