Created for his own personal use and refined over the years, 510k creatives director Alexkid decided to share online a series of Ableton Live sequencer plug-ins. The tools promise to generate interesting loops and combinations in a surprising way, and the first reactions from the electronic music universe have been overwhelming and, according to the producer, quite unexpected.
In fact, artists from all corners of electronic music, including some minimal giant, enjoyed it. Also, to date, artists that usually perform LIVE or that spend time in their fully-equipped studio are playing with these smart toys, confirming their versatility as well as pragmatism.
We reached out to Alexkid in order to understand the reason behind this move, as well as some behind the scenes.
Hi Alex, can you give us a bit of background on this plug-ins you put now available for producers?
Hi guys! These are plug-ins created for Ableton Live for the MaxForLive add-on which is a platform that allows you to create your own audio or midi devices. I’ve been tinkering with Max MSP for the past ten years, creating my own generative step sequencers for Live trying to find a way to create elements in my music that would give me a start point, or even sometimes pull me out of a writer’s block. After many years producing electronic music (26), it is very difficult to me to get out of certain habits when writing music, so I basically created these tools to help me, and year after year have been adding -or taking off- features. Eventually I was satisfied with their functionality and people started asking me about them, so I thought of creating an online shop and make them available for a few euros each. There are different models of sequencers with different purposes, and I’ve always tried to only have the essential features in the main user interface. I believe that limitations also generate creativity when more features and options just create confusion, hence the different iterations in the sequencers.
Can you describe more in details each of the sequencer, and its function?
The “Cute Little Sequencer” is fine tuned to get more immediate results to generate bass lines at the push of a button whilst remaining in a defined Scale and Key. The “Probabilistic sequencer” is fine tuned for evolving sequences, and is a sequencer where you can write two melodic lines, and a probability feature allows you to alternate from one to the other. The “Coin Locker Babies” is a Polyrhythmic / Euclidean rhythms with strange time signatures thus allowing unexpected rhythms, yet remaining musical as it also features forced scales. All of them can have different lengths on the sequence of each parameter, which -by shifting and correspondence- allows you to create easily long sequences even if you only have a few steps to program. I also designed a sequencer to generate evolving hihat lines, also fine tuned in order to have a chance of success. This was quite tricky because I had to really consider what I personally wanted when writing hi-hats, what could be random, how often… etc.
It is clear that the project evolved, like the sequencer, in an unexpected way. Which was the original goal?
I am a bit of a nerd to be honest, but I’m also quite lazy and impatient and I want immediate results in order not to “loose the vibe” when creating a track. I designed these to be able to be creative quickly and also put me a bit out of my habits and comfort zone by generating sequences or bass lines I would probably never think of.
Are you happy about the outcome?
Definitely! They’ve been out for a bit over a month now and I’ve been getting really good support from a wide range of artists. I would like to stress on the fact that this tools main purpose is to inspire and unleash the pressure of starting with a blank page. Thanks to the random sequences generated you can create endless patterns that can work as starting point or can bring a perspective. Other times, they can generate a complicated, but yet intriguing sequence that could be very difficult to write otherwise. All in all, the main motive behind the creation of these tools was to encourage the producer’s creativity and boost the originality. I’m currently working on a live set combining hardware and software where the plug-ins have an important role.
Put yourself the hands on these little sequencer – shop here: https://510k.myshopify.com