Collaboration is one of the most powerful tools available to you in the studio: A melody you’d never have written alone may provide the perfect finishing touch, just as a rhythm you’d never have considered may take your track in an exciting new direction. And, for those of us prone to getting stuck in musical ruts, a new process or perspective alone could provide a much-needed kickstart.
But of course, your new studio-mate needn’t be a human. Whether you’re looking to shake things up, or just open to experimenting, these five generative sequencers each provide a digital injection of inspiration for your creative process. Allow them to assist with some ambient arpeggios and endlessly evolving melodies, or just drop them into a fresh project and bypass the dreaded blank slate with a ready-made bed of sound.
Best of all, provided you own REAKTOR, you can download all of these sequencers for free, directly from the User Library. Read on for our rundown, complete with audio examples and download links for each.
S Bateman‘s imaginatively titled BLOCKS patch uses four dedicated clock dividers to coax unpredictable melodic patterns from four individual oscillators. It may be simple, but with a dash of reverb and gentle pitch modulation baked right in, it sounds great. Plus, because it’s made from BLOCKS, it’s easy to tweak, reconfigure, or expand as you see fit.
Download Squirrel Fishing here.
More BLOCKS chaos, this time in the form of Aaron Hemeon‘s sci-fi soundscape machine The Swamp. As he advises, you can either load this one up and wait for it to do its thing, or you can start twisting knobs and see what happens. This one’s probably not going to form the backbone of your next track, but it will provide a great bed of acid-rain-soaked textures to get you started.
Download The Swamp here.
Fourteen years ago, hello programchild wrote of his ensemble that “this one is worth your checkout” – and we’re still inclined to agree. In 2019, Thriller is a certified dinosaur of an ensemble, but this “generative spektral synthesizer” is still capable of some of the trippiest sounds in the User Library. We recommend you download it immediately, load up an arpeggiator, and have a scroll through its now-vintage presets. Just watch your volume.
Download Thriller here.
Sort of the Rings
Another one from hello programchild, this unique sequencer triggers a synthesizer with a series of jumping white balls – load it up, hit play, and listen to them bounce around the X-Y pad. The sound-generating part of this ensemble is easy enough to wrap your head around, but when it comes to the finer points of sequencing, we can only recommend that you learn to love the chaos.
Download Sort of the Rings here.
It’s back to BLOCKS for the last sequencer on our list. Michael Hetrick‘s Flip Flop turns a standard Bento Box sequencer into something a little less predictable via a deceptively simple trick: A clock divider sends signals to the two inputs of his dedicated Flip Flop module – one controlling a simple on/off switch, and the second functioning more like a sample and hold. These control the sequencer’s respectively, generating and ever-changing pattern while still allowing you a good deal of control of the outcome.
Download Flip Flop here.