It’s a sequencer. It’s a generative music maker. It’s microtonal. It’s packed with synth engines and effects. But if other tools get you stuck in presets, this world-builder for Reaktor makes each preset and parameter a gateway to something creative and unexpected.

Meet COLLIDZ° by Blinksonic, aka Sylvain Stoppani.

This will make sense to I think about 4% of the readership, but – it’s also the nearest to Kai’s Power Tools for music as I think I’ve seen. (Okay, one of these days I’ll do an all things Kai Krause and Eric Wenger retrospective – you’ve got my word.)

You need Reaktor to run COLLIDZ°, but wow are the two a special combo – a chance to make music without ever touching a linear timeline or conventional DAW UI. You can certainly just set it to spin out some endless musical materials for you, unsupervised – in case you desire some software that plays for you at the end of a long day. (And yes, to anyone still wowed by machine learning and AI – this sort of conventional simple rules-based structures still tend to produce the best results, without any of that complex training.)

But if you do delve deeper, there is an insane amount of stuff crammed into the package. It reads like a wish list of goodies:

  • Stroke FM percussion synth
  • Friction string synth
  • Ground 2-oscillator subtractive synth
  • Shock virtual analog drum synth (a mix of stuff forming 12 separate modules)
  • Tuning modules: scales, modes, chords, and other ways of setting truning and microtuning based on different pitch references
  • 12-track grid sequencer
  • 4 effects: resonate/shift, micro delay/freeze, reverb, and a radio and tape machine emulator
  • Skate MIDI transposer and automation recorder
  • Two LFOs routed to 5 effect parameters
  • Intake is an audio input router and looper
  • Sensor is an audio-to-gate converter with peak detector

Once you look at it that way, it’s way easier to understand. It’s a bit like a software equivalent – fully maxed out – of grooveboxes from Elektron and the like. But with unique sound systems, tuning systems, and those LFOs modulating effects, you quickly generate unique sounds.

And as the creator indicates, it also nods to the lineage of lots of nice Tenori-On and monome creations.

The trick is all this ability to suck in audio or make everything sound harmonic and nice using clever real-time pitch mapping – and it’s refreshing to see tuning systems other than just 12-TET if you’re going to be doing all that quantizing. It’s rules-based, polyrhythmic, polyphonic musical exploration with a ton of effects and modulation and rich, modern sound base. And it’s also a reminder of just how vital the Reaktor sound engine is – enough so that part of me wishes NI would just spin off a Reaktor Foundation and open the thing up, a la Mozilla and Ubuntu, etc. (But, hey, it’s still working so – no complaints.)

Full product details – 129EUR sounds steep for this kind of experimental instrument, but there’s so much in here that you’d have a hard time buying up third-party Reaktor-based instruments and even coming close. Right now there’s also an intro price of 99EUR. I mean, it’s definitely not for everybody – far from it – but if it’s for you, that’s a nice staycation holiday.

It’s actually a little easier to follow the manual than the marketing materials, so dig in here:

The video comes from the very-talented Renoizer: