MIDI is back, baby. Or to say it another way: musicians still care about how to manipulate notes, rhythms, and timbral control. That means that, for all the powerful audio-warping tools you pack into a product, the compositional, musical power of software lives and dies on MIDI. But can you really do MIDI any better than it’s been done for the past couple of decades?
Temper would like to try. It’s not MIDI-only — it does audio, too, and has the requisite support for VSTs — but it is a little different from the sequencer perspective. And whereas innovative sequencers lately have been throwbacks to the tracker design, Temper emphasizes modularity and the ability to create shapes. As the developers put it, it’s:
…a MIDI+Audio sequencer with an emphasis on MIDI. Temper is distinguished by two basic design goals: To provide you with tools that operate on sequences as easily as individual events, and to decouple what gets processed by how it gets processed.
- Modular control over events, chaining of tools
- Interactive algorithmic compositional tools
- Take management, and the ability to edit multiple tracks at once
- “Unified MIDI controllers + VST automation” — ah, now you’re really getting my interest.
And you get all of this, with full ASIO support and multicore audio, for US$50. (And a full trial is available — with absolutely nothing crippled or time-limited. Now that’s a far cry from adding a dongle, huh? Show them the model works by giving the tool a try and paying up if you like it.)
I have to say, I think Windows wins out as the platform for cheap software and for unusual MIDI sequencers/hosts (not that you don’t have plenty of choices as a Mac user, but Windows has a particular wealth of option).
Now, the one thing Temper isn’t is non-linear; that is, the emphasis is on linear sequencing, not interactive live sequencing as in Ableton Live or even the live performance mode in FL Studio. (And Ableton, boy would I love some more of these kinds of tools in Live.) But I could even see a workflow where you assemble intricately-constructed rhythms in Temper and export to Live or FL Studio — or fashion a live set in Live and then polish off a sequenced version in Temper. Curious on your take.
I’ll have to give this tool a spin. Alternative MIDI sequencer round-up in the future? You bet.
Anyone using Temper yet? Any other hosts to consider alongside it? (Obviously, the trackers and quasi-trackers, EnergyXT, Renoise, the mighty FL Studio, and the like.)
Above: Powerful controls and shaping tools give you complex possibilities.