Machinedrum Trig Conditions? Generative Sequencing via MIDI Loopback [video]

A big advantage of the Machinedrum over its modern counterpart the Analog Rytm is that it is a competent MIDI sequencer. Basic in implementation but complex and flexible in use, there are a variety of ways to approach MIDI sequencing with the Machinedrum that take things to a very modular place, with the ability to produce and generate rhythms and melodies through both deterministic and probabilistic modulation networks and patterns. This video details an approach utilizing a MIDI machine modulated via LFOs through the use of a CTR-8P machine. By using the Map Editor to map particular MIDI notes to instruments in combination with careful adjustment of the range of generative MIDI output we can produce and manipulate a wide variety of patterns using very simple inputs. Implementation of a basic use-case is thoroughly covered, with many details, quirks, and possibilities of this approach discussed

essentially this is a variation of the ‘LFO trigger conditions’ technique I demonstrated for the Octatrack, but instead of slices, we have MIDI notes, and they either trigger an instrument, or are not mapped


Awesome just started playing around with the map editor. These techniques are very interesting. This video will give me alot of new ideas. Very nice!

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one thing to remember (and took me participating in a thread here to learn) about the way MD responds to MIDI notes is that the notes in the map editor apply to all 4 channels - which is sometimes helpful (particularly for MIDI loopback) but would certainly trip me up if I hadn’t known

also! this video shows a funny quirk of MD MIDI implementation - anyone notice what it is? :sweat_smile:

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Only one ? I didn’t noticed a particular one.

I hope I inspired you a bit !? :wink:

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And really good tutorial again!

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thanks! I remembered that you had posted once or twice about doing MIDI loopback with MD and recording random sequences, but it was actually your comment regarding setting up the map editor in this thread that was more of a direct inspiration - I actually didn’t go and look up MIDI Loopback for Machinedrum on this forum until after I already produced the video :blush:

I was thinking to forward all questions on this technique to you :rofl:


I found your lower range note MAP a good idea. Did I inspired you ? I don’t even remember that post ! :smile:

Dentist time ! :grimacing:

it wasn’t until your comment in that thread that I thought of the Map Editor as a way to filter/constrain/eliminate MIDI inputs - and then when I was putting together my Octatrack LFO conditions video these two ideas connected

abusing the LFO depth quirk to gain an extra increment on the probability was something I discovered purely by accident - my first test-case I implemented in the middle of the MIDI note range - then I realized I could easily have 2 MIDI machines that avoid producing overlapping MIDI notes by having one use the bottom half of the range, and the other use the top half, and then when I started setting that up I saw (and heard) that I wasn’t getting the expected output values, and there was some kind offset/skew to the generated values. Also, I haven’t yet analyzed the top of the range to see if it behaves the same as the bottom of the range. As far as I can tell the way the random LFO is implemented in the MD (and Octatrack) is that when the depth of the LFO is set to 1 it will flip between a value of 0 and -1, and this behavior implies the top of the range may not have this depth quirk or may exhibit a different flavor of it, but I’ll save that analysis for another day

I called my dentist yesterday to schedule, they put me on hold, and then hung up on me! jerks! haha


Don’t you think this stuff is much easier to do with OT midi tracks? CTR 8P needed for midi tracks lfo use, without plocks working is very boring / limiting compared to OT. Any thoughts?

Five dates planned. :grimacing:

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I simply like to see what is possible with Machinedrum by itself because it offers just enough features and capability to do some really interesting things, but not so much that I lose focus - when one is limited or forced to do things in certain ways it encourages a shift in perspective that is often valuable in and of itself - why use OT anyways when I could use Ableton? Why use Ableton when I could build a max/msp patch. Why build a max/msp patch when if I spent enough time I could code it all up directly in C and it would run faster… I’m starting to feel this is some strange variation of the goat skins copypasta :rofl:

certainly use whatever tool you think is best for the job you have and the way you want to execute it - always something one piece of gear does that another does not - after all to get more than 3 LFOs assigned to one track’s parameters OT needs MIDI loopback… MD does not have this problem! :joy:

the plocks thing is kind of interesting to me, considering the access to global slots - enabling/disabling plocks for individual instruments or groups of instruments brings some new twists. I did not try this but why not plock CCs on the MIDI trigs? Be interesting to be sending the same CCs but to different instruments depending on how the MIDI note gets transformed and which global slot is selected - that’d essentially be abstraction of destructive plocks - things could get pretty weird pretty fast with some CTR-AL action thrown in… LFOs still work also, and IIRC incoming MIDI will activate HOLD/TRIG for an instrument track’s LFO. So lots of ways to squeeze extra possibilities but they are not always the ones expected - which is often a good thing!


Thank you for making this vid. You have breathed new life in my MD

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thanks! I’m definitely going to have to spend more time in the future using these ideas in musical ways and exploring more of the extended possibilities, might just be fun experiments but could lead to some new tracks!

Nice. Hadn’t thought of doing it with MIDI loopback on solo MD but that’s just because I prefer to keep the MIDI in/out available, so I can keep the MD in my instrument chain easily (i.e. without resorting to a merge or additional gear).

FWIW I’ve gotten great results generating trig conditions and other useful randomness on the MD by sequencing it with the MnM. Interlocking the two silver Elektrons so they can take advantage of each others’ sequencing strengths is a revelation. :slight_smile:



sequencing it with MNM . . two elektrons . . .

but that’s way too easy!! :joy:

not everyone with MD may have access to, or even want to use it with external devices, and so I like to make this type of video to show what is possible with just MD! Also, I think it is much more fascinating to demonstrate these techniques this way due to simplicity/limitations :sunglasses:

I think even if you do plan to use an external sequencer (like me, eventually), it’s worth to implement this type of goofy kludge for yourself as an educational and potentially inspirational exercise. I’m still pretty new to my MD - when I sit down with it there is so much I can do with no other devices attached, and so I have pretty much used it exclusively stand-alone. If I set up MIDI and audio between it and an Octatrack it would get absurdly complex very quickly, and I want to learn MD much more deeply before I go down that rabbit hole!

bit tangential, but I tend to use relatively little randomness/probability - when I use these types of techniques for actual music making it tends to be more for generating deterministic patterns I probably wouldn’t have tapped out or manually sequenced


Saw this just now @defenestration (evil work)
Send me a photo from yourself please,so i can make an Altar and praise you forever for this!
This helped me a Lot!
A lifetime of sounds…will never forget this!
Cant wait to get home…
Wont sleep much today either.
(Previous post was found offensive…hope this can stay…)



haha! thanks a lot! was a challenging vid to put together, ended up going back and forth a lot on footage and editing as I discovered more quirks and peculiarities, but it seems to be communicating the ideas well enough for people to get a good value out of it :smiley:

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awesome work mate, much appreciated!

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very interesting

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Thanks very much for making the video and sharing this technique - very inspiring to me.

One question: Why use a separate track with a CTRL8 to modulate note1 on the midimachine? Why not just use the LFO on the midi-machine-track itself to randomly alter the midinotes?

I can see the advantages of course if you want to use the CTRL for other purposes, but if randomly altering the midinotes is the only thing you wanna do, what is the advantage of doing this via another track w/ CTRL8…

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Because it doesn’t work otherwise. Totally stupid but you can’t modulate MID machines directly with their lfo. Not finished product !

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