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Hardware Sequencers

Gerry Havinga

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Hardware Sequencers
« on: June 04, 2018, 11:10:44 AM »
Well that's a good looking sequencer.  I'd really love to get the Polyend, but it's out of my price range.  You ever look at those?
Yes I have (never seen one though).

Perhaps we should ask the OP to start a new thread, as I can ramble about this subject forever.

My prioritized list at the moment is:
  • Sequentix Cirklon
  • Squarp Pyramid
  • Manikin Schrittmacher
  • Elektron Octatrack
The Cirklon tops the list, way above all the others. Colin (Sequentix) has really focused his design on "controlled", read low, latency. The Cirklon has 5 MIDI outs and can also function as a class compliant USB MIDI interface to a host computer.  All the others stick with two or one MIDI outs and tend to be more USB focused.

As my setup is currently MIDI based I want as many routing options as possible. The good ol' AKAI S5000 for example, has two MIDI ins and can run 32 MIDI tracks. It can drive many more tracks with triggered samples on the same MIDI channel on different note values. My most complicated composition (still running in Bitwig) already uses more than 16 Bitwig external tracks simultaneously using the "HW Instrument". Mind you several of those only play an occasional note, but often targeting a different synth or sample.

On top of that, the Cirklon is very feature complete and can do practically everything the others can (and in some cases more). It is lacking in things like Euclidean rhythm generation and does not have much ability in assisting with auto-generating very sophisticated chord progressions (that is why I ordered a Kordbot to help me learn  :)).

I believe at the moment the Cirklon will work best in my studio where I want instant on and all synths / samplers addressable instantaneously. This will also translate slowly next year to me setting up a live rig. Knowing myself and that I only have started to fanatically  ;) write music in the last 3 years, I will need a lot of capacity.
DSI Prophet Rev2 and Evolver desktop, Waldorf Blofeld, Roland System-1, Korg Microstation, Nord Rack 2, Akai S5000, Dato DUO, Elektron Digitone, Deepmind12D, Schrittmacher, Bitwig v1 and v2. Daw-less...

https://soundcloud.com/user-252754541
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QKocb4H6mNRVJ01qyqd

Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2018, 03:02:10 PM »
Done. Can remain in this sub forum, as it's both a general topic and not manufacturer specific.

Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2018, 04:01:55 PM »
I also dig Killpatrick Audioís Carbon And Social Enthropyís Engine.

That all being said I think something that a lot of people overlook is the Pioneer SP-16. That can have 16 midi tracks being sequenced although with only four note polyphony each...still..it seems very user friendly, has on board sampling capabilities, analog filters from the P6 and a number of on board sounds built in. The issue with a lot of stand-alone sequencers is you arent getting enough tracks and more often than not they have sequencing only. No on board sounds. Thatís nice but for me since where I live and where my studio is (in two separate buildings) itís nice to be able to write a sequence on a machine late at night with headphones and a small midi controller at the kitchen table or laying in bed then take that machine to the studio and send the sequence to all my hardware gear.
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Moog Sub 37, Oberheim SEM-Pro, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano,Kurzweil K2600XS, Roland FA-08, Baldwin Upright Piano, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Gibson Chet Atkins SST, Jackson King V, Ibanez Jem, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii

chysn

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Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2018, 04:17:11 PM »
I seems like the only downside of Cirklon is actually obtaining one!

It also seems a bit awkward to use CV. You have to buy the upgrade board, and then one of the breakout boxes. Of course, when you're done, there's a lot more CV than you get with the Squarp Pyramid, but it seems like it's more elegant to use one or more MIDI-to-CV modules in lieu of the Cirklon's analogue buss.

I'm considering sequencers at the moment, too. Specifically, I'm debating with going full-featured with the Squarp Hermod, or simple with Malekko's Varigate 4+. It's a real fork in the road, style-wise, and I'm not even remotely sure which way I'll go.

These are such highly-specialized pieces of equipment, but you need to be pretty committed to something before you have a chance to try it. My hardware sequencer of choice back in the 90s was the Alesis MMT-8, and it was like an extension of my body. I've owned no fewer than six MMT-8s in my life. It wasn't until I dove into modular that I finally gave it up.

I liked that I could build little bits of music and piece them together. Each instance of a sequence could have different parts muted and unmuted. Nowadays, I work differently. Rather than muting and unmuting entire parts, I like to work by composing sequences of notes, and then using gates to "play" and "hide" different parts of the sequence. If you use different meters in your notes and gates, various patterns and melodies emerge. I'm looking for a way to explore this idea more deeply. I'm still okay with using a computer (and notation software) for more traditional stuff, but I again want something that's an extension of my body.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Gerry Havinga

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  • Really enjoying creating sounds and composing.
    • For the love of electronic music
Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2018, 10:42:18 PM »
Done. Can remain in this sub forum, as it's both a general topic and not manufacturer specific.
Thanks Paul
DSI Prophet Rev2 and Evolver desktop, Waldorf Blofeld, Roland System-1, Korg Microstation, Nord Rack 2, Akai S5000, Dato DUO, Elektron Digitone, Deepmind12D, Schrittmacher, Bitwig v1 and v2. Daw-less...

https://soundcloud.com/user-252754541
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QKocb4H6mNRVJ01qyqd

Gerry Havinga

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  • 268
  • Really enjoying creating sounds and composing.
    • For the love of electronic music
Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2018, 10:56:47 PM »
I also dig Killpatrick Audioís Carbon And Social Enthropyís Engine.

That all being said I think something that a lot of people overlook is the Pioneer SP-16. That can have 16 midi tracks being sequenced although with only four note polyphony each...still..it seems very user friendly, has on board sampling capabilities, analog filters from the P6 and a number of on board sounds built in. The issue with a lot of stand-alone sequencers is you arent getting enough tracks and more often than not they have sequencing only. No on board sounds. Thatís nice but for me since where I live and where my studio is (in two separate buildings) itís nice to be able to write a sequence on a machine late at night with headphones and a small midi controller at the kitchen table or laying in bed then take that machine to the studio and send the sequence to all my hardware gear.
I just re-discovered this flexibility through the Digitone. I did have, many years ago, a QY10, with its great VHS cassette format. But I never manage to dig it, mainly because of feeling limited by my own insecurity (in those days). At the moment in my studio I am very much in a mind frame of "each device one function only". That is why I am looking for a rack mounted main sequencer to replace the laptop (sorry Bitwig ;-) ). Having as much as I can rack mounted in easily transportable cases makes setting up a live rig easier (I hope).

I am now planning to use the Digitone for on my lap, on the couch, together with our cats, for mobile sound sketching and working out harmonies and chord sequences. I will need to figure out sooner or later how I want to transfer and/or integrate this with the Cirklon. I already started using a good old fashioned (paper) notebook to keep track of which chords / notes "belong" to each Digitone pattern. So this should be straightforward. Using the Digitone practically doubled my "composing" speed, quite amazing.
DSI Prophet Rev2 and Evolver desktop, Waldorf Blofeld, Roland System-1, Korg Microstation, Nord Rack 2, Akai S5000, Dato DUO, Elektron Digitone, Deepmind12D, Schrittmacher, Bitwig v1 and v2. Daw-less...

https://soundcloud.com/user-252754541
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QKocb4H6mNRVJ01qyqd

Gerry Havinga

  • ***
  • 268
  • Really enjoying creating sounds and composing.
    • For the love of electronic music
Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 11:13:45 PM »
I seems like the only downside of Cirklon is actually obtaining one!

It also seems a bit awkward to use CV. You have to buy the upgrade board, and then one of the breakout boxes. Of course, when you're done, there's a lot more CV than you get with the Squarp Pyramid, but it seems like it's more elegant to use one or more MIDI-to-CV modules in lieu of the Cirklon's analogue buss.

I'm considering sequencers at the moment, too. Specifically, I'm debating with going full-featured with the Squarp Hermod, or simple with Malekko's Varigate 4+. It's a real fork in the road, style-wise, and I'm not even remotely sure which way I'll go.

These are such highly-specialized pieces of equipment, but you need to be pretty committed to something before you have a chance to try it. My hardware sequencer of choice back in the 90s was the Alesis MMT-8, and it was like an extension of my body. I've owned no fewer than six MMT-8s in my life. It wasn't until I dove into modular that I finally gave it up.

I liked that I could build little bits of music and piece them together. Each instance of a sequence could have different parts muted and unmuted. Nowadays, I work differently. Rather than muting and unmuting entire parts, I like to work by composing sequences of notes, and then using gates to "play" and "hide" different parts of the sequence. If you use different meters in your notes and gates, various patterns and melodies emerge. I'm looking for a way to explore this idea more deeply. I'm still okay with using a computer (and notation software) for more traditional stuff, but I again want something that's an extension of my body.
I very much like your phrasing, it totally reflects what I feel: "extension of my body" and I would even go one further: "extension of my mind". I don't have much musical playing ability, but semi-automation and tweaking a live performance with the occasional playing, really inspires me (Klaus Schulze was a big inspiration).

As soon as I decided on getting a hardware sequencer I asked to be put on Colin's waiting list. After all he is not asking for a real commitment till you are on top of the list. My only feelings of hurry are related to that I now have less time ahead to live my life than what lies in the past .....

My workflow emerged slowly over the last three years through using Bitwig. It is mainly linear at the moment, classic piano roll, but I am ready to start diverging from that. The design of the Digitone sequencer already teaches me different ways and pushes me slowly in a another direction which feels to me a lot more natural.

Although I have been playing with synthesizers for more than 35 years I only now start to have the courage to actually write music with them. It is great to hear about your experience Chysn, especially in the modular world.

What I have read so far (gone through the Cirklon and Schrittmacher manuals almost twice already) is that those sequencers can give that experience of being a extension of oneself.
DSI Prophet Rev2 and Evolver desktop, Waldorf Blofeld, Roland System-1, Korg Microstation, Nord Rack 2, Akai S5000, Dato DUO, Elektron Digitone, Deepmind12D, Schrittmacher, Bitwig v1 and v2. Daw-less...

https://soundcloud.com/user-252754541
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QKocb4H6mNRVJ01qyqd

Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2018, 09:16:46 AM »
Still my favorite Cirklon demo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNhzhiagiA0
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Moog Sub 37, Oberheim SEM-Pro, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano,Kurzweil K2600XS, Roland FA-08, Baldwin Upright Piano, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Gibson Chet Atkins SST, Jackson King V, Ibanez Jem, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii

Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2018, 09:39:40 AM »
I need to spend some time with my MMT-8 I think.

Being a drummer for nearly 30 years with so many songs stuck in my head, I'm at the point right now with electronic music that I can't really get anything done: just overwhelmed with new processes, technical limitations, workflow, that sometimes I wish I would've picked up guitar or bought an upright piano instead.

I just want to be able to sit down, not look at a screen, and write music.  Unfortunately none of the boutique sequencers on the market are available in the big box stores, so I can't take advantage of the 30-day return policy, so I'm hesitant to pull the trigger on anything.


chysn

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Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2018, 12:29:26 PM »
I need to spend some time with my MMT-8 I think.

It's a beautiful thing. Well-placed buttons, not much menu diving. The dream would be a modernized MMT-8. I still think that eight tracks is enough. But higher resolution, SD storage, multiple projects, a bigger screen, USB, MIDI effects, and CV, in the MMT-8 form factor and workflow, would be absolutely killer.

Meanwhile, with my earlier post, I think I sort of talked myself into what I want to do. I think I want to remain screenless and highly modular.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

dvb

Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2018, 05:55:13 PM »
I'm currently using Synthstrom Deluge. Originally got it to fill the sampler/drum machine hole in my rig but kept it because it's an amazing sequencer. 128 button jelly roll plus an intuitive interface without sacrificing capability. CV capable, unlimited tracks, decent synth engine(s) so you can write a scratch track "in bed" or on the beach (runs on USB/battery) then port that track to an external module with one button push.

Has limits of course like everything else but I'd recommend it to anyone who needs a sequencer as an all around tool & scratchpad vs just a pure MIDI logistics machine.
DSI Prophet Rev2 | Roland Juno 106, V-Synth XT | Elektron Monomachine, Rytm | Moog Grandmother | Synthstrom Deluge | Squarp Pyramid

Gerry Havinga

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  • Really enjoying creating sounds and composing.
    • For the love of electronic music
Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2018, 11:10:14 PM »
I'm currently using Synthstrom Deluge. Originally got it to fill the sampler/drum machine hole in my rig but kept it because it's an amazing sequencer. 128 button jelly roll plus an intuitive interface without sacrificing capability. CV capable, unlimited tracks, decent synth engine(s) so you can write a scratch track "in bed" or on the beach (runs on USB/battery) then port that track to an external module with one button push.

Has limits of course like everything else but I'd recommend it to anyone who needs a sequencer as an all around tool & scratchpad vs just a pure MIDI logistics machine.
Yes indeed the Deluge does sound amazing. It was at one time on my list of candidates. The Deluge also only has 1 MIDI input/output and relies on USB for greater connectivity. Indeed I am looking at a pure MIDI logistics machine (well said!).

The thing I am very impressed with is that the Cirklon is capable of dealing with USB latency issues, from the manual (version 1.1 page 7-5):
Quote
In a situation where Cirklon is sequencing both hardware instruments connected via the hardware MIDI, CVIO or drum trigger ports, and virtual instruments running on a PC or Mac connected via the USB MIDI port, the inevitable audio latency of the virtual instruments will cause their audio output to be delayed relative to the proper instruments.

To compensate for this, the Latency matching delay setting allows you to delay output to the hardware MIDI ports, CVIO and drum trigger outputs, in increments of 0.25ms, up to a limit of 64ms.
In my particular case, wanting to completely "drop" usage of the computer in my setup, USB is not that important. Happily if I ever change my mind and want to use a computer sound source (Raspberry Pi + Pure Data for example) I can still go the MIDI over USB route with the Cirklon.

Anyway I don't have the Cirklon yet and I am currently experimenting with and learning the Digitone. Which has surprised me a lot as a portable composing platform. Always nice to learn new things and adjust my view of the world.
DSI Prophet Rev2 and Evolver desktop, Waldorf Blofeld, Roland System-1, Korg Microstation, Nord Rack 2, Akai S5000, Dato DUO, Elektron Digitone, Deepmind12D, Schrittmacher, Bitwig v1 and v2. Daw-less...

https://soundcloud.com/user-252754541
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QKocb4H6mNRVJ01qyqd

Gerry Havinga

  • ***
  • 268
  • Really enjoying creating sounds and composing.
    • For the love of electronic music
Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2018, 11:19:12 PM »
I need to spend some time with my MMT-8 I think.

It's a beautiful thing. Well-placed buttons, not much menu diving. The dream would be a modernized MMT-8. I still think that eight tracks is enough. But higher resolution, SD storage, multiple projects, a bigger screen, USB, MIDI effects, and CV, in the MMT-8 form factor and workflow, would be absolutely killer.

Meanwhile, with my earlier post, I think I sort of talked myself into what I want to do. I think I want to remain screenless and highly modular.
I have never played with the older sequencing gear (except the QY10), but I am attracted by the easy of use and straightforward simplicity. On the other hand I would find 8 tracks very limiting and for some reason I do get drawn to complex (not menu diving!) setups, in hardware. I know this is a weird contradiction.... Not sure why that is, perhaps I get bored easily or don't want to get stuck in a routine for too long.

Last Sunday I did see a Squarp Hermod in action. Really versatile module! But I am no way ready yet to go that route (modular).
DSI Prophet Rev2 and Evolver desktop, Waldorf Blofeld, Roland System-1, Korg Microstation, Nord Rack 2, Akai S5000, Dato DUO, Elektron Digitone, Deepmind12D, Schrittmacher, Bitwig v1 and v2. Daw-less...

https://soundcloud.com/user-252754541
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QKocb4H6mNRVJ01qyqd

chysn

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Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2018, 01:49:59 AM »
The thing I am very impressed with is that the Cirklon is capable of dealing with USB latency issues, from the manual (version 1.1 page 7-5):
Quote
...To compensate for this, the Latency matching delay setting allows you to delay output to the hardware MIDI ports, CVIO and drum trigger outputs, in increments of 0.25ms, up to a limit of 64ms.

You know, the MMT-8 does this (per track, since there's only one MIDI out). Just saying.  :D

Last Sunday I did see a Squarp Hermod in action. Really versatile module! But I am no way ready yet to go that route (modular).

I can't say I've completely ruled it out, but it's a lot of space. Another thing I'm considering is Ornament and Crime, which isn't really a sequencer. It's an open-source module with a Cortex M4 and Teensy, with enough CV ins and precision outs to write whatever sequencer I want.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 01:59:13 AM by chysn »
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Gerry Havinga

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  • 268
  • Really enjoying creating sounds and composing.
    • For the love of electronic music
Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2018, 06:12:06 AM »
You know, the MMT-8 does this (per track, since there's only one MIDI out). Just saying.  :D
Ah I had no idea, just liked the attention to detail. Puts things in perspective  ;)

I can't say I've completely ruled it out, but it's a lot of space. Another thing I'm considering is Ornament and Crime, which isn't really a sequencer. It's an open-source module with a Cortex M4 and Teensy, with enough CV ins and precision outs to write whatever sequencer I want.
Wow I have a bunch of Teensies sitting in a drawer here, waiting to be included in my own step sequencer design (long term project together with my stepson). Not modular though, but who knows in the future. I am really amazed about peoples inventiveness and creativity in the world of modular.

At the moment my main focus of my creativity is in sound design and creating more harmonically complex songs (tracks). Learning a lot about (Western) music theory. But in the next few years I do want to get into writing my own software, possibly on a modular.
DSI Prophet Rev2 and Evolver desktop, Waldorf Blofeld, Roland System-1, Korg Microstation, Nord Rack 2, Akai S5000, Dato DUO, Elektron Digitone, Deepmind12D, Schrittmacher, Bitwig v1 and v2. Daw-less...

https://soundcloud.com/user-252754541
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QKocb4H6mNRVJ01qyqd

chysn

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Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2018, 07:06:33 AM »
Wow I have a bunch of Teensies sitting in a drawer here, waiting to be included in my own step sequencer design (long term project together with my stepson). Not modular though, but who knows in the future.

Ha ha, that's cool.

I just ordered an Ornament and Crime this morning. Out of the box, its firmware doesn't do what I want in the least, but it's got the hardware that I need in a nice package, and a decent underlying OS. So while it makes its way from Arizona, I'll be looking at code.

Basically, I don't want to enter notes on a screen, I want to enter them via voltage control from Tetrapad in real time. And not in patterns of 16 steps, but in phrases of many modulation steps and notes. So I've got my summer pretty much laid out for me now!
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 07:08:37 AM by chysn »
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Gerry Havinga

  • ***
  • 268
  • Really enjoying creating sounds and composing.
    • For the love of electronic music
Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2018, 07:34:15 AM »
Wow I have a bunch of Teensies sitting in a drawer here, waiting to be included in my own step sequencer design (long term project together with my stepson). Not modular though, but who knows in the future.

Ha ha, that's cool.

I just ordered an Ornament and Crime this morning. Out of the box, its firmware doesn't do what I want in the least, but it's got the hardware that I need in a nice package, and a decent underlying OS. So while it makes its way from Arizona, I'll be looking at code.

Basically, I don't want to enter notes on a screen, I want to enter them via voltage control from Tetrapad in real time. And not in patterns of 16 steps, but in phrases of many modulation steps and notes. So I've got my summer pretty much laid out for me now!
Wow that is even cooler, I hope summer for you doesn't get too hot  ;) Working out more interesting note combinations  and progressions with some kind of good sounding randomization could be very interesting and rewarding.

I just noticed this video: https://youtu.be/oVME_l4IwII about Why Modern Music Is Awful.

I found it an interesting watch (we knew it already of course). But it motivates me to work on creating more harmonically complex tracks with more deeper levels of composing (chord progressions, transpositions, etc.). To create something that keeps feeling good and is not boring or in the wrong way repetitive.
DSI Prophet Rev2 and Evolver desktop, Waldorf Blofeld, Roland System-1, Korg Microstation, Nord Rack 2, Akai S5000, Dato DUO, Elektron Digitone, Deepmind12D, Schrittmacher, Bitwig v1 and v2. Daw-less...

https://soundcloud.com/user-252754541
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QKocb4H6mNRVJ01qyqd

chysn

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  • 1082
Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2018, 08:08:27 AM »
I just noticed this video: https://youtu.be/oVME_l4IwII about Why Modern Music Is Awful.

I found it an interesting watch (we knew it already of course). But it motivates me to work on creating more harmonically complex tracks with more deeper levels of composing (chord progressions, transpositions, etc.). To create something that keeps feeling good and is not boring or in the wrong way repetitive.

When I started watching this, I expected invective not about current popular music, but modern classical (or art) music, so I was prepared to rise up in defense. But as for modern popular music, I might grant the video's case (loudness wars, timbral variety, etc.), but with plenty of exceptions.

When I listen to process pieces like Piano Phase, YouTube commenters get passionate about how awful "modernist" music is, while I sit there in amazement at how novel rhythms evolve within this specific series of note classes. Certainly Piano Phase can be done with a sequencer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIeYg61ThWg&t=578s), but the musicianship required to perform it as a human (duet, but especially solo) is inspiring. And but also, forget the fact that calling 50-year-old classical music "modernist" says a lot about how stagnant that scene might still be.

There's certainly great music being written today. I don't think I need to go any further than Phillip Glass's Piano Concerto #3 (2017). It's not on YouTube, nor any other streaming service that I could find, so you'll probably have to buy it. But it's just beautiful, and worth purchasing. The third movement might be one of my favorite pieces of music, period.

Sequencers provide valid tools for serious composition, I think. Repetition is a thing that the brain likes, but only when the thing being repeated has enough going on. Thus, I find the eight-step sequencer inadequate, except as a tool for switching things. A common modular technique is "sequencing the sequencer," and you can get anything between nice complexity and incomprehensible chaos. I don't know if these kinds of techniques can be done within a single Cirklon, but it's a good way to break the perception of rigidity that modern ("popular") music may have picked up.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2018, 11:20:18 AM »
I just noticed this video: https://youtu.be/oVME_l4IwII about Why Modern Music Is Awful.

I found it an interesting watch (we knew it already of course). But it motivates me to work on creating more harmonically complex tracks with more deeper levels of composing (chord progressions, transpositions, etc.). To create something that keeps feeling good and is not boring or in the wrong way repetitive.

When I started watching this, I expected invective not about current popular music, but modern classical (or art) music, so I was prepared to rise up in defense. But as for modern popular music, I might grant the video's case (loudness wars, timbral variety, etc.), but with plenty of exceptions.

When I listen to process pieces like Piano Phase, YouTube commenters get passionate about how awful "modernist" music is, while I sit there in amazement at how novel rhythms evolve within this specific series of note classes. Certainly Piano Phase can be done with a sequencer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIeYg61ThWg&t=578s), but the musicianship required to perform it as a human (duet, but especially solo) is inspiring. And but also, forget the fact that calling 50-year-old classical music "modernist" says a lot about how stagnant that scene might still be.

There's certainly great music being written today. I don't think I need to go any further than Phillip Glass's Piano Concerto #3 (2017). It's not on YouTube, nor any other streaming service that I could find, so you'll probably have to buy it. But it's just beautiful, and worth purchasing. The third movement might be one of my favorite pieces of music, period.

Sequencers provide valid tools for serious composition, I think. Repetition is a thing that the brain likes, but only when the thing being repeated has enough going on. Thus, I find the eight-step sequencer inadequate, except as a tool for switching things. A common modular technique is "sequencing the sequencer," and you can get anything between nice complexity and incomprehensible chaos. I don't know if these kinds of techniques can be done within a single Cirklon, but it's a good way to break the perception of rigidity that modern ("popular") music may have picked up.

I often sequence the sequencer myself. I do a sequence on the Tempest and use the synth voice as a root note. I Midi that root note out to the Moog Sub 37 which is set in sequencer mode do the Tempest is transposing the sequence on the Moog which frees my hands up to play something else.
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Re: Hardware Sequencers
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2018, 07:13:11 PM »
A common modular technique is "sequencing the sequencer," and you can get anything between nice complexity and incomprehensible chaos.

That's one of the things that has saved my Rhythm Wolf from the 2nd hand pages. I run a gate out from a BSP to it's clock in to advance it.  Usually a bass drum or tock sequence.  I've tried writing sequences on it like that but it's much more successful if I write a pattern that will stand alone if played with a regular clock.