Open Battle #5 - A Human Touch

To keep things rolling after Open Battle #4, here’s what I have come up with:

Most of us here rely more or less on sequencers for our rhythms, soundscapes and melodies.
Let’s turn those off for a change.

So here are the rules:

No sequencing, no quantization (midi or audio, pre or post)

Copying audio in your DAW or multitrack recorder can also be seen as a form of sequencing, so here is the rule on that one:

For drums & (non-melodic) percussion only:

A minimum of 4 bars (in any time signature) played live can be copied over in a timeline.

All other elements must also be played live with hands, feet, voice, whatever, but may not be copied over in your track. So no duplicates of your melodic or other live performances in your arrangement, you can live-play the same thing multiple times if you wish, off course.

Other than that, you can overdub and produce the hell out of your track all you want.
Have 72 goes at your synth solo, no problem, just use the one where it all went transcendental.
Have fun, let’s work on those finger drumming chops and see where this goes.

Sidenote 1:

As a general guide on not too overly melodic percussion: Let’s consider toms passable for the 4 bar - live played exception, but your glockenspiel needs to be played live all the way.

Sidenote 2:

This might seem an easy challenge to Lyra 8 soundscapers and the like, while all of that is certainly allowed, the fun of the challenge is to try something new and to replace your sequencers with your inner master clock.

Use whatever instruments you like, software or hardware, no limits on genre. That said, keep in mind that the challenge is within the wider context of electronic music (no point in telling a concert violinist to turn the sequencers off). One submission per entrant.

You can upload all the usual ways, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube or MP3 upload.

The deadline for submissions is Sunday the 14th of November 2021.

Good luck!


What about arpeggiators?

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Nope, let’s play some live arpeggio’s instead!



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So drums can be sequenced, or it has to be a sampled loop?

Synced FX allowed?

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To be clear, drums cannot be sequenced.

You can live play drums on your keyboard with single drum hit samples, finger drum on your MPC or other drum machine, use a real miked-up drum kit or whatever. After you recorded at least a four bar performance (un-quantized) you are allowed to copy and paste this performance in your DAW timeline or on your multitrack recorder. This is a copy-paste exception for drums / perc only.

On syncing FX, fine if you tap in a delay tempo.

But no FX sequencing. Instead, for instance: record your hardware synth (un-quantized) performance in midi, then bounce to audio while you twist the filters, the FX, etc. So everything becomes a performance, including the FX.

I hope that clears it up.


Sounds decent, I’m in.


Im in


I’ve got a few pints in me so I’m still digesting the rules, but needless to say, I’m in.

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So basically, if someone busts out some aphex style drums, we’re gonna need some video evidence?


Yes we will :joy:

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Actually wouldnt be that hard. Abelton set, 16 pad controller. Samplers on each pad playing randomly selected samples of drums you played in live. Set pads to choke each other, bash pads, add fx done.


It’s like Inception up in here. Get out of my head Leo!

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I missed “played live”. I wouldn’t use a DAW or multitrack, so I guess recording a 4 bar loop unquantized is ok ? With OT or DT, this would be sequenced (not quantized).

On my gear tap tempo also changes the tempo, fx are automatically synced to it.
So taping tempo would be ok or no synced fx/lfos in that case ?

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Try with no sync at all, see what happens ^^

What if tempo syncing can’t be disabled?
Anyway I guess we can set some fx manually, or all synced fx are forbiden?
Off sync delay only for instance? :grimacing:
No fx? :content:

Yes, only for drums / percussion that would be ok, as long as you play it live for at least 4 bars and don’t quantize the performance.

I’ll repeat that for all other elements in the track copy and paste is not allowed, they have to be played live throughout the track, so no duplicates of your performance in the arrangement.

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No worries about a synced delay, that’s fine. The point of the challenge however is to get away from machine sequencing and relying on your own timing and sensitivities, so I would say don’t lean too hard on synced delays.


Hell yeah - start exercising those fingers for some repetitive basslines!


So apart from the 4 bar drum loop, everything else is just one take tracks all playing at the same time? As in, say I have my loop, and then a live take of keys, one of bass, and one of keys 2. After recording them am I allowed to line up the starting points so that the tracks all start together, like in Audacity for instance? No chopping or stitching of the tracks, just lining them up so they all start on beat one together.