Monthly archives: January, 2014

FAWM Blog day 1

Mrs PoD is running long distances stupidly early in the day, so I have had a good opportunity to start track 1. Apparently I have been visited in the night by the FAWM fairies, the song sprites, the muse, the track Tinkerbell, whatever and have an almost complete track down. It is “jazz punk” if such a thing exists….

(update – track now up!)

Randomization part 3

Apps that do Random Pattern Sequences … that I know of

Right, this article is the third of my randomization pieces and was originally intended to list apps that can give you non-dynamic pattern randomization, that is to say you press some random button and the app generates a random sequence for you, if you like it you can keep it, otherwise you just press the button again.
Before I get down to business there a couple of things I need to cover: First is an addendum to my last article, and the second is to discuss Random Arp Flow modes.

Thanks to Clif for pointing out to me that Animoog actually has a random patch generator too, Animoog is one of the first synths I bought and still one of the ones I use the most, and yet I never knew about this. In fact I believe that the prize for the best hidden random feature (which was previously held by Sunrizer) should go to Animoog.
Under the setup menu (obviously), presets submenu (where else?) you will find half way down on the right hand side the magic Random Preset button. I am not surprised they hid it here as it is the worst random preset creator I have ever used.
It literally randomizes everything, to such an extent that about one in three presses will give you no sound at all. Of the remaining sounds about 90% tend to come out like a Dr Who sound effect from the early 70s due to the choppiness of random timbres side by side along with complex paths, really fast and erratic orbits and an over application of FX, especially delay.

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Animoog is still my favorite synth ever and I want to have it’s little greenscreen babies, but this may be the first bad thing I have to say about it. Of course if you want a load of BBC Radio Workshop sounding noises, this could be the one for you!.

Random Flow Mode in Arpeggiators.
While searching through my apps for pattern generators I might have missed I realized I had forgotten one important source of Dynamic Randomization (from Article 1) and that is random play mode in arpeggiators.
A lot of the synths on ios allow for random mode in their built in Arpeggiators. Depending on the sophistication and programability of the Arpeggiator this may have some interesting results.
If you are simply playing arpeggios then a random order may well add a degree of interest to the result, however where you can program the arpeggiator (as with Cube/Addictive synth or StepPolyArp) you can create a small candidate number of notes and let the randomizer do it’s thing. So (for instance) you could create a pattern consisting of notes C and E each with one 1/16 and 1/8 notes, and maybe an empty (or silent) 1/16 note. Then play in random mode to create a random-ish bassline.

Random Pattern Generation
Anyway – looking at apps that allow you to create a random pattern at the click of a button:

Addictive Synth and Cube Synth – one of the best randomizers out there – technically an arpeggiator/mono sequencer with up-to 32 steps. Intelligent randomization that produces really good results, randomizes notes, accents, and ties and octave shifts.
For additional random craziness you can also play the resultant sequence using Arpeggiator with Random flow mode – meaning it will play the notes in the sequence in a random order.

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Sunrizer – has a random arpeggiator mode which you can use in conjunction with the programmable arpeggiator. While I have never got on with the Sunrizer Arpeggiator there are many folks who love it and so this combination may be a valuable one to some of you.

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TF7 has it’s chaos arprggiator, roll the dice – random arp, note that this is not the same as random flow mode in many of the arpeggiators, the “Random” pattern is generated at the time you press the dice and remains static until you click the dice again, so this is a “Generate a Pattern” function.
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Different Drummer allows to to randomize all sorts of settings, pretty much everything, including patterns (wavelength of notes/rests/ties/velocity) and instrument. I have a feeling this might have to be an article in itself.


TC -11, allows for up to 4 sequencers per patch and any of those can be randomized. If you are one of the two or three people in the world who can actually code TC-11 patches you could get some kind of craziness out of all that randomization! For the rest of us, you can open up a patch (with a built in sequence) that you like and then hit the random button and see how it goes.

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PPG WaveGenerator – has a sequencer that I am guessing a lot of people don’t know about. You can create sequences of up to 16 notes using a piano roll editor. This can be left to play as a sequencer or triggered as an arpeggiator. The play mode can be set to Random so that any note in the sequence plays, as you can effectively switch off notes by setting their velocity to 0 this gives some interesting options.

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Drumjam – Has two randomization buttons – one randomizes the drums on the drum grid, the other randomizes the parts for the drums on the grid. Down in the solo/fingerplay area there is a third randomizer, as of today, the Bedlam designer – which allows user to add random elements into the triggered sounds. There is also a chance slider so you can randomly add breaks/rests to the played drums.

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Yamaha Drum and Arp pads – random Arp flow

Figure – no random patterns but now opens with a random key and sound settings, which is a really cool place to start, and really that’s what randomization is all about, creating a cool place to start…

DM1 – strangely allows randomization of parameters (pan/vol etc) but not steps, so you create your pattern, and then ‘poke at the random’ until it sounds interesting.

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Praxis Beats – the worst pattern randomizer ever. When you click Random Praxis Beats fills in almost every step with a hit split into 1-16 sub-hits. The effect is quite awful, something akin to a cement mixer full of rocks running over a maraca players convention. I have no idea why they bothered to add the feature at all because (aside from being really really quiet*) Praxis Beats is not too bad an app…. once you load in your own samples and get rid of all of theirs….  and assuming you want more than 9 subdivisions per beat (which is the maximum Molten will go to).

*I mean really quiet, you will need to turn your volume up to hear anything at all!

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WeJaam allows for “Static” randomization as well as dynamic randomization – click the bar to add some random hits, they will play till you click again (either to generate new random hits or to “confirm” the ones you had and make them permanent. – randomization of basslines and drum lines within very strict parameters, pretty much always produces something good, or worth listening to anyway. I have mentioned before in my blog, the disgusting interface tends to scare people away, and there is not much on the right hand side of the screen worth bothering about, but the drum and bass section on the left hand side are really very good as a quick and effective groove generator.


Bassline – allows for random pitch and or gate and or glide. Personally I like to set random pitch and glide and then set the pitches myself. If I am really stuck for ideas I frequently turn to Bassline for inspiration.

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Technobox2 – random pattern on both synths for 303 emulation random frenzy! Only ACP support though..

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Rhythm Studio: Often overlooked these days (by me!) Rhythm Studio also has the ability to make random patterns as per the song’s key and scale, which is very cool. (thanks to Matheus Pereira Martins for pointing that out to me…)


Thesys – you can randomize any of the note/velocity/gate length/performance bars, and with the ability to select any sequence length on any of these the options for mad results are great. If only Sugarbytes would sort out the UI, Thesys is probably the most feature rich of the sequencers (albeit for a single part) on iOS. Despite the Double tap zoom Thesys’ UI is only just this side of unusable. While I am writing this Thesys has just been updated with more excellent features to benefit people with amazing eyesight and tiny little fingers.


Little Midi Machine – still the best value sequencer out there, providing seriously usable sequencing for FREE, everyone should have a copy, and probably does. Allows you to reset all sequences to Random – the result may be chaos or something you can work with, that is the joy of randomizers, but there are no algorithms helping to make something tuneful so the result will often sound like that blip-bloop-blop sound that, in 80’s movies, signified computer processing.

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Midisequencer – you can press Rnd to randomise the screen you are on (note/vel/Ch/cc1/cc2) allowing for some good experimentation, although if you randomize the notes you are going to get more 80’s computer sounds. Bip Bop Boop.

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Steppolyarp – Under the settings cog – Random Poly or Mono buttons allow you to randomize just the notes in the pattern. Because of the arpeggiated scale (and possibly some internal limiting algorithms) the results are not too out there and may well be usable.

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As we are discussing random settings to inspire creativity, and as it is FAWM and RPM this month, you might want to check out the random features of some of the chord generating apps too:

Prochords has a database of poplar chord progressions from the world of pop music, so if you select a chord it will suggest the “Most Likely” next chord, but if you want to shake things up a bit you can click the random chord button to add something completely different.

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PolyChordPad – Random tab allows you to generate one to sixteen random chords in a key. Great for noodling about with and almost always renders good results.

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My album is out now on itunes (and bandcamp for non ios types)

Groupies please queue up by the door in order of hotness. Thanks

Many thanks to Clif at for his help and work..