The latest Oscillator Sink video takes a look at the Conductive Labs NDLR polyphonic arpeggiator and using it to create generative music.
The NDLR is a four-track sequencer/arpeggiator. It has two sequenced arpeggiator channels, and chord player and drone channels. It lets you control up to 8 synths at once, and you can use a variety of modulation and control options to take chords and translate them into dynamic sequences.
‘Generative Music’ is a term, popularized by Brian Eno, to describe music generated by systems or processes that composers create. The composer creates the system or process, and it then generates the notes or sound.
See the Conductive Labs site for more info.
“The NDLR can be a tricky device to classify. It is not a traditional sequencer, but it certainly does sequence. To call it an arpeggiator would be to undersell it significantly, but arpeggios are very much an intrinsic part of its DNA. It is obviously far away from a traditional midi controller but it offers hands on control over midi instruments.
So I think that maybe it’s better to think about the NDLR in terms of how it influences your relationship with your instruments. When you use a keyboard controller, you are playing the role of performer. When using a sequencer your job is more that of composer, with the sequencer then in charge of the actual performance.
With the NDLR you are more acting like a band leader during a jam. You set up a musical environment with rules, and as the performance happens, you direct the flow of the music with broad strokes; the details are left up to the performers jamming away inside the NDLR.
This blurring of the line between composer and performer really speaks to my interest in generative music so in this video, starting with a blank slate, I look at how you can use the NDLR to create generative music, taking an in-depth look at some features that I think are really cool when working in that kind of environment.”