Ableton & Coldcut have introduced MidiVolve – a Max For Live arpeggiator, riff generator and sequencer.
Designed by Coldcut (Matt Black and Jonathan More), MidiVolve is inspired by Steve Reich’s seminal work, Music for 18 Musicians, and lets you create patterns that automatically ‘evolve’. It also comes with a collection of hybrid electronic/acoustic Instrument and Effects Racks, with sounds of Coldcut.
In Black’s own words: “It’s a next gen warp drive sequencer for creating and mutating musical ideas.”
Entering A Sequence
Notes are entered into MidiVolve’s sequencer window from Push or a MIDI keyboard, or by simply playing back a MIDI clip on the same track.
In Arp mode, they generate an arpeggio; in Riff mode, they’re used as the basis for an auto-generated freeform melodic pattern.
With a sequence in place, clicking the Evolve button instantly mutates the note Pitch, Velocity, Duration, Density and horizontal position (Swap), plus two freely assignable Map parameters, to create a new sequence; and activating Auto mode re-evolves the current or initial sequence on playback every 1-32 cycles.
The probability, range, direction and amount of change applied with each evolution are adjustable for each parameter – so you can opt for subtle, organic shifts by evolving just one or two parameters, radical transformation of all of them, or anything in between.
You can also make manual edits to all seven parameters at any stage directly in the sequencer, too, and evolve each parameter individually as well as collectively.
A number of global operations are also on hand for further shaping of the sequence. Note pitches can be conformed to a user-defined scale or mode and limited in range, while sequence length (1-64 steps), playback direction, speed and swing are manipulable, and rhythmic irregularities and fills can be introduced using Euclidian clock operations.
Transferring your evolved patterns to Live’s Session View is as easy as hitting the Export button, which prints it to the next free clip slot.
Pricing and Availability
MidiVolve is available now for US $49.
6 thoughts on “Coldcut Intros MidiVolve ‘Warp Drive Sequencer’ Inspired By Steve Reich”
Sounds like a really good idea. The posted Soundcloud demos seem to warn against this form of creative exploration though… ?-) I guess it’s just about stripping things back to the bone, when it comes to the mixdown!
“demos seem to warn against this form of creative exploration though…”
Sounds like some typical Ninja Tune songs to me.
While I’m excited about the possibilities of having this functionality built into Live and integrated with Push, it reminds me uncomfortably of the Evolve function in Five12’s Numerology. I mean… It’s almost exactly the same.
Fantastic! This will surely be a great tool for many people making music in Live with professional intent who want creative stimulation and want to explore variations without editing MIDI step by step. A better investment than another loop library, at the least. Similar things can be done with Numerology, but perhaps not as easily.
This couldn’t possibly sound less like Steve Reich
Sounds good but he looks like Grayson Perry