Why the updated BeatStep Pro is the sequencer to beat

For a lot of us, hands-on sequencing control is a boon to playing, even alongside a computer. So then there’s the question of which sequencer. The reason Arturia’s BeatStep Pro got so interesting this year is that it’s a right-down-the-middle option: not too expensive, not too complicated, and not too weird, but very capable of […]

Watch how Arturia’s BeatStep Pro sequences all your gear – mega meta roundup

Do call it a comeback. The hardware sequencer, once a forgotten relic of the computer age, has returned with a vengeance. And the reason is simple: we need it. Sure, we might play with a computer, but we’ve fallen for other synthesizers and drum machines – a lot of it quite cheap, too. We want […]

Auxy Is The Best Piano Roll Editor for iPad Yet – And Not Much Else – By Design [Free]

It’s been asked over and over again: can a simpler software tool attract more people to music making? But the next question is, invariably – what’s the right stuff to leave out? Auxy, released today, is an extreme exercise in app minimalism. It radically reduces what’s in the UI by focusing on making and cueing […]

If You Use Kontakt, Get Cool Bleep and Bass Instruments for Free

Bleeping amazing. There’s some great stuff you can get for free for Native Instruments’ Kontakt sampler. This week, two new instruments are available. First up, a device that makes chip music bleep sounds, and includes sophisticated sound controls and step-sequencing LFOs. The creator, Zombie Queen, describes it thusly: I’m assembling new bleeping device in Kontakt, […]

In Translucent Glass Grids, Nature’s Patterns, Revealed

Up close, nature’s patterns represent nothing so much as elegant geometry, or even, perhaps, pixels. Rendered as an translucent array, organic patterns become a dance of digital pixels in a work in North Carolina. The creators describe it nicely, so it’s best to reflect on their description – and recall that nature can be an […]

In Translucent Glass Grids, Nature's Patterns, Revealed

Up close, nature’s patterns represent nothing so much as elegant geometry, or even, perhaps, pixels. Rendered as an translucent array, organic patterns become a dance of digital pixels in a work in North Carolina. The creators describe it nicely, so it’s best to reflect on their description – and recall that nature can be an […]

Renoise 2.8 Gets More Usable, 64-bit; Trackers 4ever

Who says every music production tool has to be either a traditional DAW or Ableton Live? Not Renoise, for one. I’m running out of things to call it. Modernized tracker? Tracker on steroids? Music production tool from an alternate history in which conventional DAWs were ignored and everybody just kept on using trackers? How about […]

Nanoloop Comes to Android, with its Lovely, Minimal Music Idea-Making Interface

I think the first time I really understood handheld music making was when I first tried Nanoloop on Game Boy. While the more-popular LSDJ tracker is powerful, Nanoloop’s interface was unlike anything I’d seen before: aggressively minimal, it embodies in its interface design the feeling of a blank sheet of paper. Adding an idea feels […]

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 […]

New MicroTonic 3 Drum Machine-Synth; Bitspeek Effect

Swedish developer Magnus Lidström is something of a virtuoso of music software, having worked with Propellerhead (Malström, etc.) and releasing his own unique µTonic (MicroTonic) and Synplant instruments. It’s been a bit since we’ve gotten new work from him – little matter, as I find his instruments tend to stand the test of time – […]