The Buchla Polyphonic Rhythm Generator is a high-end sequencer that is one of the most complex and powerful hardware step sequencers ever created.
The new sequencer is:
- polyphonic – it can sequence three lines, completely independently;
- polyrhthmic – it can be used to create complex rhythmic patterns, and includes a powerful Euclidean pattern generator; and
- polymetric – it can create sequences of different lengths, syncing them either by a shared pulse (creating cyclic interlocking patterns), by a shared down beat (creating complex time signatures) or they can run completely independently.
At the time, we were able to get an deep overview of the sequencer by Buchla engineer Charles Seeholzer, but not a demonstration of the sequencer in a musical context.
Now Buchla synthesist Todd Barton has filled that gap, with a series of videos, embedded below, that are an unofficial ‘video manual’ for the Polyphonic Rhythm Generator:
The first video in the series is in shaky-cam Bourne-o-vision, but it offers a brief audio introduction to the possibilities of the of the Buchla 252e.
In this rhythmic demo, 11 rings are programmed via the sequencers’ Euclidean generator. There are 3 independent clocks synchronized “on cycle”. An array of Pulses and CVs from a 281e are randomly selecting which 3 rings to play, resulting in the changing rhythmic patterns.
In the subsequent videos, Barton gives an overview of the Polyphonic Rhythm Generator and then digs into pulse editing, CV programming, clocks and more.
The 252e Buchla Polyphonic Rhythm Generator is available for US $2,499 from BEMI.