How best to build an aleatoric groovebox?

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Bill Tribble
Bill Tribble Member Posts: 8 Member
edited September 2022 in Building With Reaktor

I've got this idea for a randomising 'groovebox' thing for generating techno type stuff real fast.

Wishlist:

1. SNAPSHOTS. Gotta have some quick way to save every parameter and recall them

2. Randomise: Everything, or just one synth, or one sequencer pattern

3. Euclidean patterns, scales, microtuning would all be a bonus.

I'm returning to Reaktor 'cos I can't find a better tool for the job! What I want to create is something that will surprise me - and ideally have a really wide range of possible sounds (like e.g. a wavetable synth, a drum machine with loads of samples or a wide variation in synth drums). "Musical" randomisation would be a big plus too, so patches 'drift' rather than change abruptly. I don't want to make an ambient wind chimes generator though - something more melodic and danceable.

Do any particular sequencers or synths spring to mind? Or any ensembles where someone's made something similar?

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  • Paule
    Paule Member Posts: 1,327 Expert
    edited September 2022
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    pandoBaKi 2.2 with melodic bass

    It works for you if you authorize the Kick and Bass from the PLAY series by TRK-01.

    Otherwise there is a half transparent blue screen on the ensemble.


  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 847 Guru
    edited September 2022
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    What you have described seems very vague, do you have any more specific ideas about how it might work, or any examples of some actual device or virtual device that has similar functionality?

    I'm asking partly because the idea seems somewhat paradoxical. Randomizing groove - beats or bass/melody/chords, where the basic form of techno type stuff is repetitive motifs with very predictable structures punctuated by cliched rises and drops etc. Those things seem about as far apart as its possible to get :)

    The trickiest thing IMO is that the more repetitive a musical form gets, the better the loops need to be. It's easy to generate loops using random processes, but not easy to generate compelling ones. And techno needs compelling loops...

    I'm not saying it's impossible, or that it's a bad idea, just that it's gonna be difficult ;-)

    I had some success with random generation of loops recently with a Euro patch. The idea was to use a shift register to store randomly generated notes. there are four notes on the Shift register, so a four note repeating pattern where thos four notes are pllayed in sequence multiple times through a quantizer, but every 8 or 16 times round, a new random note is generated and shoved onto the shift register, and the oldest note there is removed. The result is that you get a random pattern that obviously ceases to be random via repetition, but then after 8 bars (or whatever), you get a new pattern, but the new pattern is related to the old one - it shares three notes, although they are now in different positions. So you get a sense of progression and development. Basically it sounds somewhat musical compared to other random based stuff I've tried.

    So then I tried feeding it with non random notes ripped from some Bach. And that sounded much better lol. Random is rarely the best way.

    Here are a couple of 'proof of concept' examples from that initial patch, so purely random... although not techno :)

    First one with just a single 'melody' and bass notes taken from last of the same set of 4 notes each time there is a change:


    This is the second version, this time there is a second line reading the same set of four notes, but running at a slightly different clock rate for a Minimalism style note phasing effect.


    Obviously not techno, but it's one possible way in to trying to get music from randomness. I think the thing here is that there are lots of quite good bits, but it's not all good - it never is with random - so... not sure how useful it would be for auto generating techno.

    Also worth reading up on the 'turing machine' not an actual turing machine as described by Alan Turing, but the Eurorack module that uses a similar process to generate random melodies. Can also put out random gate patterns. There might be some version of this amongst the Euroreakt blocks iirc.

    Maybe there is a way to create a techno quantizer? e.g. instead of just a note quantiser, one that has extra rules about what notes on the scale can go at certain points in the groove... maybe with lots of analysis you could make a system that generates more good patterns and fewer bad ones... what are the rules of making good techno-ish loops... same for beats - what are the rules?

  • Paule
    Paule Member Posts: 1,327 Expert
    edited September 2022
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    You can use sampled loops like Tim Exile use it in his FLOWs for the techno rhythm.

    Then place Colins Euro patch or some similar to the track or combine it with TRK-01 (full version).

  • Bill Tribble
    Bill Tribble Member Posts: 8 Member
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    Thanks both! @colB what I've got in mind would probably rely pretty heavily on Euclidean rhythms to get 'nice' patterns. Also I'm thinking of something where I can just flip the pattern quick a few times to find something I like then evolve it. Your comments on evolving patterns are great yep - hadn't seen the 'Turing Machine' Eurorack, very cool way to do it. I'd love to figure out how to do something similar...

    Also re. the drums what I've found is that most patterns will sound cool if your kick is a bit more predictable - again, Euclidean patterns help a lot here.

    Just found there's a Reaktor version of Turing machine but I can't figure out how to make it output shorter sequences! Any idea? ... https://www.native-instruments.com/de/reaktor-community/reaktor-user-library/entry/show/10173/

  • Bill Tribble
    Bill Tribble Member Posts: 8 Member
    edited September 2022
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    @Paule PandoBaki is wild! How can I limit the chaos a bit? Also how to get a sound out of the INIT snapshot?...

  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 847 Guru
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    With Euclidean rhythms, you get lots of really nice patterns, but you miss out on a lot of what is often there in techno-ish grooves. Particularly rolls, flams, ratchetting etc. Can add those in using probabilistic logic, but you'll maybe need to make that focus on certain parts of the groove. Some sort of system that 'knows' its in the 8th bar of a pattern, and knows the difference between beats 1&3 vs beats 2&4... and the beat vs the off beat... e.g. probably bad to roll the kick, but a ratchet on the snare or clap would be just fine. As long as you know where the clap and snare and clap are...

    I think if you have grooves where kick is sometimes in a wonky place, you could flam or ratchet that, similarly if the snare is where a kick would normally be, maybe leaving it alone... not sure. That would require some R & D :)

    Similar for note choices... something like in be-bop where you can use any note in the scale (and some that aren't) on off beats, and some beats(?), but you need to stick to chord tones elsewhere... to the listener, it sounds like you are using all the notes, but it also just sounds somehow 'right'. There are probably some rules like this that could work universally for randomized generic techno... lots of repeating notes as well too, octaves and other wide intervals... maybe using a generalised Euclidean approach for note patterns wouldn't be a bad idea.

  • Paule
    Paule Member Posts: 1,327 Expert
    edited September 2022
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    @Bill Tribble That's difficult. Once you open Pandora's Box the devil is out in the world.

    PandoBaKi is a short of pandoro (by Cal) Pandora's box + Bass + Kick

    Bass and Kick own a switch (a small speaker)

    Percussions here


    Click on EFFECTS and reach the mixing area for Bass and Perx, on Kick EFFECTS also

    init is the first snap first back in ens mode

    Scantron by Dieter Zobel (new in U/L) can give you the desired melodies


  • Bill Tribble
    Bill Tribble Member Posts: 8 Member
    edited October 2022
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    Awesome, thanks both. Will do some more experimentation.

    About algorithmic drum patterns - Had some fun recently shuffling audio around with Shaperbox VST in the looper rig. Mimics euclidean rhythms though it's just 3 over 4 type patterns. You can hear it on the kick and clap here - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IR1Y6x2_nkY&feature=youtu.be

  • Paule
    Paule Member Posts: 1,327 Expert
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    About algorithmic drum patterns

    pandoBaKi don't use drum pattern – all is free interpretings

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