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Now we know how an MPC would behave if it were engineered on planet Vulcan.

If you’re tired of conventional slicers and step sequencers, Sector turns audio into glitchy, stuttering, elaborate electronic patterns. Sound is fractured into a massive circle, resembling nothing if not some sort of archaic astronomical calendar, as arcing lines connect one slice to another and brightly-colored dots in the center illuminate to show more conventional steps as they advance.

Still too regular for you? Fret not. All of this is randomized for coin-flip pattern variations. Warp modes and modulation shapes, all controllable, add additional glitching and stuttering.

The basic model:

Sound is divided into slices, called sectors (2-32 of them).
There’s a matrix for probability – the Markov-chain matrix.
There’s a pattern sequencer (the more conventional part, though sounding anything but when used in combination).
Time warping performs stretching on the sound.

In other words, once your sound is sliced up, chance and conventional pattern sequencing triggers individual segments of audio, which are then warped.

It sounds complex, but the user interface brings all of this together in a surprisingly-understandable idiom, and really you’re likely to play around and see what works. IDM is back, folks.

There’s a very clear manual now to read up on what’s happening:

Author Jonatan Liljedahl is a composer and musician, classically trained in Sweden, performing experimental and more beat-ish music internationally. It’s nice to see his compositional imagination applied to software in this way – software is the latest adventurous medium for the composer.

And Jonatan tells us he’s hard at work doing new things – MIDI clock sync, in-app recording, and artist loops. (Also cool: he’s got a tip on recording iOS apps, Reflector, which does wireless mirroring and has recording built right in.)

This is already, I think, a must-buy. Going to have fun playing with it. Enjoy!

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Works with Audiobus.

Audio samples (made with AudioShare, another of Jonatan’s apps):