Beat Scholar promises to let you slice and re-slice with a built-in sampler and endless free subdivisions – without losing flow. Move over x0x and steps. Now it’s all about pizzas. Infinite pizzas.

The plug-in for Mac and Windows is out this week from Modalics.

It’s an intriguing concept – rather than start with a fixed grid and some limited division / substep / tuplets, you get the free ability to divide up grooves per beat however you like. That’s arguably a lot closer to how percussionists in a whole host of cultures think, broadly speaking. It’s also less trapped in the measure/bar system (or hardware machine grids, which were simultaneously born of simple matrices).

Sorry, my mind started to wander. Let’s get back to how they put it:

“Play 35 kicks on a ¼ note? psh… easy!”

Okay, then! Now we’ve got it. Or another way:

“Slice beat pizzas into up to 42 pieces and place any drum on any slice!”

Full tutorial:

Forget the video as music demo and take in a bit of what they’re saying about the way the tool actually works. You know what really excites me about this is, a drum machine that lets you screw up and do something really messy also lets you try all kinds of human possibilities. That’s something you get in real percussion, and can be lost not only in machines but even Western notation.

Sounds good to me. I’ll be brief here as I want to actually try this in some music making – and a hotfix just landed, too, so checking how this works in practice. But the basic outline here is great:

  • Built-in kits and a Sampler (ooh, I’m glad for that last bit)
  • Drag-and-drop sample UI for your own samples
  • Built-in envelope, pitch, filtering, and multi-effects (including dynamics, room and hall reverbs etc., drive, etc.)
  • Combine subdivisions any way you like
  • Put any drum on any beat – so you aren’t limited to machine tracks, in other words
  • Add bars, change measures, change beat values on the fly (again, not stuck in that limited grid)

“Play 35 kicks on a ¼ note?

It also comes from an experienced team, with past work for Waves Audio, Xfer Records, and Epic Win (Deadmau5), now starting their own company (co-founders Or Lubianiker and Eyal Amir). And my sense is that the best stuff in the industry is coming from independent developers and builders.

Then there’s the usual – blah blah, tons of presets, maybe you’ve never figured out how to find some free TR-727 samples… (here, look, let me help)

But yeah, actually, the ability to score parts like this and drag-and-drop samples – or use this to trigger outboard gear, for instance – I’m intrigued.

We all could use some different sounding grooves now and then.

I mean, yeah, as usual, Richard Devine is somehow still there first (hi, Rich!)…

But I’m sure we’ll get some interesting stuff going. Have at it. Maybe order some pizza now just to keep you going through the studio session.

VST3, AU, AAX, standalone, works with software, works with hardware; $79 intro and $99 thereafter with a free trial. Out now.