Quick patch: Bin Seq for rhythm modification
Bin Seq is a trigger and gate sequencer. It’s extremely simple and straightforward to use, too: there are 8 steps, and each step has a switch. Each switch can be set to off, trigger or gate. It’s really great as a simple, performative sequencer.
However, it doesn’t end there: today we’ll be exploring how we can use BS as an extra performative layer on top of another sequencer. Let’s go!
Bin Seq has two inputs: Beat and Measure. Beat is its clock input, and every time it receives a trigger here it advances to the next step. Measure is the reset input. Pretty straightforward, right? Well, things get interesting when we put something that’s not a straight clock into the Beat input -- like another trigger sequence. This gets really fun because each switch on BS lets us modify that incoming trigger, either muting it, passing it through as a trigger, or tying it to the next step. But what if our incoming has less than 8 steps? Or more?
Irregular triggers + regular resets = repeatable funkiness
This is one of my favorite general patching techniques of all time. I’ve definitely talked about it on the blog before, but it’s worth repeating here because it’s so. much. fun. If you feed a sequencer irregular triggers (like we’re doing here), but a consistent reset, you can create some interesting variation while keeping the core sound of your sequence in check. This can be applied to all sorts of patches: for instance, you could run your clock signal through something like Integra Funkitus and have it skip some of its advances, giving you variation each time your sequence plays, but always starting in the same place.
You can generate a reset signal in a variety of ways: if your sequencer sends a reset out each time it repeats, simply patch that to the BS. If you don’t have a signal like that, you can use a clock divider, dividing by /8 or /16 (or however long you want your main sequence to be), and patching that to BS’s Measure in.
If you have a long sequence, BS will create a whole bunch of variation with the flip of a single switch, making it a sort of macro control for changing up your rhythms.
So, let’s give this a shot. Here, we have our main sequencer, the Intellijel Metropolis, with the trigger output running into BS’s Beat input. We’re running our whole system with Horologic Solum, so we can patch a /16 clock into the BS Measure input to keep it in check. Playing with the switch positions changes our sequence on the fly, and we can easily revert back to the original by setting all the switches to the trigger position, or mute our voice entirely by setting all switches to off.
I started using this technique a lot when I was playing with some long-form jams on my system. I tend to pre-make sequences and use them as I play, and while you can get reasonably far doing that sort of thing, being able to modify sequences easily and non-destructively in real time was a big change for what I could get out of a patch.
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