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 …


Push-Button Remix? Pioneer Goes Hardware+Software with RMX-1000, remixbox DJ Tools

Pioneer, that best-known brand of DJ hardware, wants you to use hardware alongside software. And they’re uttering the word “remix” rather than “DJ.” And they have something that really doesn’t look like a CDJ, so much as a remote control for a spaceship carrying CDJs. It seems to be something of a trend. We saw earlier this week Native Instruments emphasize the word “remix” in their DJ product line, as in live-remixing music. And NI, along with offerings from almost every other DJ vendor and quite a few impressive homebrewed solutions, work with hardware/software combinations to build more elaborate live …


Listen: LA’s Brainfeeder Label Shares Free Sampler; More Gilles Peterson Winners in London

Brainfeeder at work. Photo (CC-BY-NC-SA) Theo Jemison Photography. Writing about music may indeed be like dancing about architecture, so why not give music a listen? If you’re not already familiar with the terrific Los Angeles label Brainfeeder, founded by Flying Lotus, now’s the time to discover its artists. If you are familiar with them, you barely need read this blurb before skipping ahead to a lovely compilation. Onboard: Thundercat, Martyn, Samiyam, Tokimonsta, The Gaslamp Killer, Jeremiah Jae, Taylor McFerrin, Teebs, Austin Peralta, Matthewdavid, Mono/Poly (the artist, not the synth, but we can love both), plus (exclusive) Lapalux. BRAINFEEDER SAMPLER [Download, …


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 …


MachFive 3, in Pictures: Hybrid Sonic Powers, Nerdy Programming Features, and Prettiest Sampler Yet?

MOTU’s MachFive sampler, while perhaps not getting the kind of attention rivals from NI and Steinberg have, has had in its history some compelling features. Those features were in a multi-window interface, though, that not all of us loved – while I can’t find the review, I know when I covered it for Keyboard, I praised powerful editing features like the slicer but lamented the UI. MachFive’s new UI looks radically different. The tabbed layout and modules and preset browsing all recall NI’s products, but there are new twists, too, like slick, readable waveform views, gorgeous EQ visualizations borrowed from …


NI Launches New Software Updates from Kontakt to Drums – and Puts Everything on a Hard Drive

Kontakt – is it the answer? Is it the reason that everything happens? Native Instruments today launches a new version of its flagship Kontakt sampler with new filters, effects and processing, improved sound quality, and sound design features. NI also refreshes Komplete – including, at last, a Komplete bundle that really does include kompletely everything. And we see new products covering drum samples and grooves and studio effects, too, as well as a major update to the sound design and processing capabilities of Guitar Rig. Sadly, that isn’t the Komplete Infinity package we saw lampooned last week, which promised “quite …


Designing Music, in an Art:21 Interview with Electronic Instrument Creator Todd Bailey

He’s built an open-source, retro-tinged 8-bit sampler, “Where’s the Party At?” (I’m been building the second generation now, so expect a review by early August.) He’s had electronic instrument designs on shelves at the retail chain Target and on the walls of the Whitney Art Museum in New York. He just completed a set of luxury chandeliers, when he wasn’t making waves in the circuit bending scene. Todd Bailey is the kind of Renaissance artist at the center of the new DIY scene. There was a time when engineers and artists were separate groups, and big laboratories worked how to …


Maschine 1.6 Sample Workstation, Now with Plug-ins, Makes a Standalone Workflow Solution

I’ve been following Maschine since prototype stages. The idea was at once obvious and welcome: build a software workstation, tightly integrated with pad hardware control, that fuses hardware sampler working methods with the on-screen flexibility of software. It’s software that focuses on working with sounds and patterns, outside the DAW-style metaphors. Of course, there’s one thing you might quickly miss about your DAW – certain software instruments or effects that are available as plug-ins. That makes 1.6 the version a lot of people have been waiting for. With plug-in hosting capabilities, it could now be your all-in-one production and performance …


Renoise 2.7 Adds Sample and Slice Savvy; Tips and Inside Info from the Developers

Who says we should have only one set of assumptions when it comes to how music software should work? Renoise remains a vision of an alternate reality where mod trackers – musical editors with vertical, pattern-based views instead of horizontal, linear piano roll views – are our present and future. And Renoise keeps getting better and more modern, demanding less of a sacrifice from those coming from other music production tools while strengthening the unique elements of its musical workflow. We get a first look at the new features here for Mac, Windows, and Linux users, as well as the …


Video: Live Beatmaking and Musicianship on Display; Details from the Artist, Logic Sampling

Let’s be frank. Computers really don’t demand any musicianship; they’re a blank slate with which you can do anything you like, and quantization is always close at hand. But bragging rights aside, whatever anyone else may think of the results, playing musical elements live can often be more satisfying. And it’s refreshing, at a time when software seems to be bending over backwards to offer bleeding-edge technology to compensate for your lack of time and tune, to see people getting more dextrous, not less. Ukrainian-born, Toronto-based artist Andrew Andriyashev, going under the name Triple A production, sends along a video …