In a sea of complex Max for Live creations, is again a minimalist breath of fresh air. Playhead is an ultra-simple granular effect; Tuplet just makes tuplets. Quantized Switches flips the switch for any parameter based on Live’s current quantization level.

ayrtbh (Changcun) lets us know about these creations – Playhead and Tuplet in early May, and Quantized Switches this past week. These Max for Live productions are truly models of efficiency – doing just one thing, but doing it well. And knowing Shanghai-based makers Gooooose and ayrtbh, the duo who make up, I’ll bet you these were created in real-world musical usage. Their patches are inspiring both for artists and I think patchers wanting to take a similarly inventive approach to focusing on ideas.

playhead I think will be an instant favorite. It’s about the simplest granular effect imaginable: one buffer, the titular playhead position … and nothing else. But far from being limited, just modulating that position at different speeds is instantly satisfying. And for live use, it also acknowledges an unspoken secret: for all the granular tools we have with loads of effects, much of the time, there’s really just one setting that actually sounds good. (Ahem.) Check the videos; this is fab. (And you can use their memory knob for modulation, too.)

quantized switches expands on Live’s classic global quantization setting – a v1 feature – and extends it to parameter control, flipping switches for any parameter on both the global quantization setting and subdivisions. For all the creative possibilities of avoiding Live’s grid, here’s a beautiful way to use it as a compositional tool and experiment.

tuplets just does tuplets – equal divisions of any whole note, which can work for a wide variety of musical idioms. Where this gets interesting is, you can add multiple instances and again use memory knob for modulation.

Easy, must-buy additions here. Sold.

Theme in the screenshot at top (and thanks for making your devices properly color aware, guys!):