COLORFLEX, developed in Reaktor 5, offers a fascinating take on matrix sequencing. It’s just a sequencer, not something that makes noise itself – it sends notes, Control Change, and IC send – but what a sequencer it is. Color zones act as different “tracks” of material, allowing complex patterns to be layered atop a single grid. Multiple layers also work with available functions like copy/paste, randomize, and shuffle, allowing you to creatively spawn patterns from other patterns. There are also analog-style master controls for swing, random step, and variation.
Because it’s a sequencer, Colorflex becomes useful when combined with other tools for making sound and controlling performances. Coupled with its own sampler, synth, mixer, effects, and sampler library, it can make various sounds. It’s also pre-configured with templates for Native Instruments’ Kore 2 and Maschine. (They’re optional, but if you’re a fan of either tool, you get plug-and-play functionality and live playability. And there’s already discussion of how this could be controlled from the monome, too.)
I think part of the fun of this will be using it to sequence your own sound sources (which, via MIDI, could be anything), but it does come with an interesting-sounding sample bank. There are samples by Antonio Blanca, D’arcangelo, Richard Devine, Josh Hinden, GlitchMachines.com, Sonictwist, Timonkey, and Tipper.
The whole package is yours for US$29.00 (though you need Reaktor 5 first – call it a niche, boutique tool).
Sorry, Native Instruments, but I think the folks at Twisted Tools may have done something more interesting with your platforms than you have. (Then again, that’s a good thing – and a mark of a cool sound platform.) Okay – yes, as readers note, there have been fantastic, creative tools like Spiral, Spark, Animated Circuits, and The Finger released through NI, all of which have seen some coverage on CDM. But it’s terrific to see an independent developer doing this, and the fact that Colorflex puts together Kore, Reaktor, and Maschine is relatively new. I think NI can take a little gentle trash talk – especially as everyone is a bit anxious to see what the successor to Reaktor 5 will be.
It’s already got me thinking about new ways of building sequencers, especially as I initially misunderstood a couple of the ways it was working. (My mistake translates to … new ideas.)