Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Citizen
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Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by Citizen » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:27 pm

After tinkering with follow actions, and making a variety of racks using Live's MIDI effects, I've become pretty interested in generative, randomising approaches to music.

Can anyone recommend any tools/techniques for generating useful rhythmic variations?

I've tinker with combining a whole bunch of clips with different starting points and follow actions with the 'Random' tool - but this rarely results in useable results. I'm open to anything - be it a Live-specific tool, or a 3rd party plug in.

Thanks in advance!

simmerdown
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by simmerdown » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:38 pm

my definition of useful is very broad, lol... but moderation is the key, if you go too far afield obviously the thing becomes a mess, listener need a bit they can latch onto, so even if you take an extreme variation you can come back to it, a sort of resolution

but i love d-blue Glitch plugin....not 100% clear what you are after, do you have an example

antarktika
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by antarktika » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:58 pm

These are free, but as with most semi-random beat-slicers, you'll want to record the output, as it can be either crap or gold:
http://mdsp.smartelectronix.com/livecut/
http://bram.smartelectronix.com/plugins.php?id=6
http://www.shuriken.se/?page_id=83

oddstep
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by oddstep » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:23 pm

Angstrom did this amazing post on using live as a generative system several millenia ago. Search the forum for it. To summarise, the velocity device has a really good random number generator that can be used to great effect with velocity ranges in midi racks. Scale is handy for constraining randomly generated note sequences. Having the velocity device select one from a range of arps all at different rates is really good. Have a look for the post... Its fookin genius! Since then the random device has grown a round robin or alt mode... This is handy for stepping through pitch range options on a (drum)rack.. frinstance.. each drum rack cell could contain an initial pitch to fix the root note, an arp to generate timing information, a random device in round robin mode stepping through an octave and finally a scale device which is being used to reorganise the random device output into a melody. Because racks are modular you could then get really recursive and nest processes within processes.

Tone Deft
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by Tone Deft » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:28 pm

oddstep wrote:Angstrom did this amazing post on using live as a generative system several millenia ago. Search the forum for it. To summarise, the velocity device has a really good random number generator that can be used to great effect with velocity ranges in midi racks. Scale is handy for constraining randomly generated note sequences. Having the velocity device select one from a range of arps all at different rates is really good. Have a look for the post... Its fookin genius! Since then the random device has grown a round robin or alt mode... This is handy for stepping through pitch range options on a (drum)rack.. frinstance.. each drum rack cell could contain an initial pitch to fix the root note, an arp to generate timing information, a random device in round robin mode stepping through an octave and finally a scale device which is being used to reorganise the random device output into a melody. Because racks are modular you could then get really recursive and nest processes within processes.
yup, those were good siht. he took his sets down a long time ago, they ate up much bandwidth from downloads.

I start with the vinyl noise generator and make use of EQs, resonators, delays etc. no need to hit start on the project, it just starts making noise when you open the set.
"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

Live 10.1, Win10, Edirol UA101. USB: APC40, Remote SL, SPD-SX, mics for guitars and vocals. MIDI via sound card: JX305, Nova
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UCAudio
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by UCAudio » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:33 pm

What about vary subtle variation of midi note position (randomization) to give your drums and midi notes a more natural feel? I know you can do this with custom grooves but what about when you don't use custom grooves? I kow the midi random device doesn't have an option to randomize position. Maybe there's something for max for live.

Citizen
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by Citizen » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:00 am

UCAudio wrote:What about vary subtle variation of midi note position (randomization) to give your drums and midi notes a more natural feel? I know you can do this with custom grooves but what about when you don't use custom grooves? I kow the midi random device doesn't have an option to randomize position. Maybe there's something for max for live.
Yeah, I was thinking the very same thing - surely it would not be hard for their to be a 'Quantise' or 'Position' MIDI Effect in Live.

Sure, you can achieve similar things with the Groove pools, but being able to hear the effect in real time - and to be able to combine such a tool with Live's other MIDI effects could yield some really interesting results.

Something else that would be of real use would be some sort of 'Pattern' generator - similar to what an Arp does, but with output that has uneven spacing of the MIDI notes. Surely both of these sort of devices would be quite easy for the team at Ableton to implement.

Thanks for the tips on the other tools guys, I'll definitely be looking into those options. Pity those sets by Angstrom were taken down - I don't suppose someone might be able to re-upload that content?

Vios
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by Vios » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:20 am

Beat Repeat is another option. Use the variation setting. The last part of this tutorial shows it pretty well:

Beat Repeat – Using Beat Repeat to Play with Simple Drum Loops

Or build an automatic glitching machine!

Automatic Glitching Machine – Create Complex Glitches Quickly (1 hour!)

Citizen
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by Citizen » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:42 am

Thanks Vios - I'll definitely be checking out that clip from Tom Cosm. Great stuff.

oddstep
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by oddstep » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:00 am

I didn't want to say max, but yeah- max for live is completely right for this.

garyboozy
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by garyboozy » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:55 am

one way is to use the velocity device set to random, and set your drum hits' amplitude envelopes (in operator, sampler etc) to respond to env<vel.

Citizen
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by Citizen » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:02 pm

oddstep wrote:I didn't want to say max, but yeah- max for live is completely right for this.
How steep is the learning curve for Max? I've only just got to the point where I know Live inside-out. (well, mostly!)

With Max coming with Suite 9 - I take it that there are a bunch of devices that already exist in Max - can you take advantage of Max without being a computer scientist from NASA?

Bagatell
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by Bagatell » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:33 pm

Citizen wrote: can you take advantage of Max without being a computer scientist from NASA?
You certainly can. Maxforlive.com has enough stuff to keep you busy for years without ever editing any code at all.

Citizen
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by Citizen » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:41 pm

Bagatell wrote:You certainly can. Maxforlive.com has enough stuff to keep you busy for years without ever editing any code at all.
WIN! And I take it that most tools are relatively simple to learn and integrate into your Ableton workflows?

I don't want to become a programmer myself - but even just using Live's MIDI effect in conjunction with Follow Actions and Dummy Clips has really piqued my interest in generative music and randomising tools. I actually foresee me getting quite a bit of use of Max4Live.

pepezabala
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Re: Ways to create random, but useful rhythmic variations?

Post by pepezabala » Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:31 pm

you can do generate interesting rhythms by combining patterns of different looplength. Let a 4/4 BD-pattern play along to a 7/8 hihat-pattern, a 5/4 bongo-pattern and a 13/8 shaker-pattern.

then there was some posts about the euclidean rhythms not long ago, interesting stuff!

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