Model: Cycles for textures instead of beats?

I know that the model:cycles is generally considered a groovebox or drum machine, but I’m curious if anyone is using it for more abstract/experimental sounds? A lot of my music is more minimalist and not so beat oriented. I already own a digitone, which I love, but I was curious about the cycles because of it’s supposed immediacy and was wondering if it would be useful for my needs?


absolutely :100: :+1:

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I think it really depends, not having a dedicated attack parameter can make some stuff more challenging, but if you are layering up a bunch of different machines and tweaking away you can certainly use it as a pretty abstract and crazy noise machine. The intro to my last track I made is a bunch of layered up machines and I found using control all gave this sort of vowel type sound. There is a lot to explore once you start layering things up, tons of potential for happy accidents. You might start wanting to have a sampler at hand to capture and take some of it ever further though.

just the beginning here is an example of the noise droney abstract side I have been exploring.


Mine arrives tomorrow and textures is one of my main intentions with it.

I figure with multiple chord machines, LFOs on inversions, and some metallic machines mixed in… It should bring something unique to the table for pads, atmospheres, and textures. Also planning to run it through the drive section of my Platform compressor pedal for additional character. And if that isn’t enough, well my OT has a load of FX and LFOs to take it into the stratosphere :slight_smile:


I was thinking that the lack of an attack would be limiting but it seems like you’re still able to create longer dronier notes. I’m interested in creating variations of colorful hollowed out wooden sounds and glockenspiel sounds. Basically percussive/abstract melodic textures that could be sequenced into polyrhythms Great track btw! I love the warbly lo-fi quality of your melodies. Are you using the chord machine for that?

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Yeah chord with lfo subtlety set to the sweep knob (wavetable) and also on another track using chord in unison mode with lfo on the color (which acts as unison spread).

in the Tone Machine I have found really great for wooden sounds, I sometimes find it harder to find where they fit in my music but they are definitely there and quite nice.

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Great thanks for the info! I think I’m going to pull the trigger on a cycles. It just looks like so much fun to create with, and I really thrive off of using gear that has certain restrictions.


One thing I didn’t find was ‘note length’ as such, which is usually available on other Elektrons. Is this option buried somewhere?
I guess u can live record in long notes?

In Grid Recording Mode, when you hold down a Trig, you will have 3 parameters on the screen : note, velocity and length. Use the blue knob to select which one you want.



And in regards to OP, yeah, it’s up to u. It’s totally capable to make things other than techno / dance / beats

Turning gate on and setting note length to infinite = instant drone. @pselodux did this at the start of his live stream:


very handy

(Also set condition to 1st and it won’t retrig)

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I’d say the same that applies to m:s applies to the m:c. Both can do beats or more ambient sounding stuff easily. Its just a matter of getting creative.

attak can be made by LFO and soounds can be mixed in & out in many ways

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Untested but you could also probably set volume to zero, turn tempo and multiplier to lowest, realtime record volume fades.

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Nice tunes and vids! Lovely lo-fi, idm, boc type of aesthetic. Very well done. Subscribed! I’ll be watching to see what you get out of the Cycles.


While it is setup nicely for beats and techno, I think the Cycles has a much wider range. In my early days, I’ve been putting together the usual 128 bpm stuff, but next on my list is to slow things way down and try to make some ambient-ish music. If nothing else, I want to explore what can be done with layering different machines, using the LFOs and p-locks for making textures and the like. I also want to see if I can do some pseudo-generative stuff. I’ve already gotten part way there applying an LFO to shape on the chord machine. Even with all trigs set to the same note, the variation in timbre is enough to make it seem generative. There’s a lot in this little box.

Really nice!

Of course it can make weird noises but with just one lfo and lack of a proper attack and slide trigs limits it for long evolving drone like ambient sounds.

I wish you could send unused LFOs to other tracks. Could become a 2 voice 3x lfo drone machine with individual outs ( already posted in feature requests)

Finding this limitations kind of pissed me off at first but I have to say it is a fun and inspiring machine, specially for the price.

you can layer 6 tracks on top of each other with 6 different lfos, I wouldn’t say that that’s limited at all.
of course, it depends on the genre that you’re trying to create, but if you want to make ambient without beats then I think that you should think about this in a way of layering 6 tracks and then your variety will skyrocket.

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