I used to have this Boss SL-20 slicer pedal which I loved very dearly.
Still, years later, I check the local equivalent of Craig’s List daily (more like hourly) to see if there’s one for sale. I want it back badly. I sold it because I bought the Boss MD-500 which was supposed to have the exact same functionality as the SL-20 but with added user programmable patterns. It was ok, but not on par with the real thing. Ended up trading it for something else.
At the moment I have two different Boss multi-fx that include the famous slicer effect but they’re nowhere near the versatility of the original pedal. Only 20 patterns, and very very limited tweakability.
Today in the midst of watching The Boys on Amazon Prime I was reading some thread on Elektronauts (can’t remember which one) and came to the realization that you can use an external sound source as an oscillator in the AK/A4. I kept on watching The Boys (as it is a damn fine tv show) but the gears started turning in my brain. If I could use another synth as the sound source and only use the sequencer to let sound through periodically on the steps I want I could achieve the slicer effect with a piece of gear I already own.
I had to put The Boys on pause and come test it in actuality. I plugged my iPad and the Polysix app to my Analog Keys and put a chord on hold. Then I initialized a sound, chose In L and In R as the oscillators and programmed a pattern. As I pressed play, the Polysix chord played on every note I had programmed for it to play and I could use the envelopes, filters, noise and effects on it.
Heureka! This is better than the Boss SL-20 I thought to myself in ecstacy! A completely programmable slicer with all kinds of extras.
After a while of toying around I realized that I could copy the instrument to another track and program a different pattern and maybe pan the two tracks left and right to make them distinct from each other. Oh my god, I have four SL-20s in one and it’s been here on my table all along. I really don’t need that pedal for anything anymore. I can stop refreshing the second hand pedal page.
I guess this whole story is old hat for some of you but for me this was a moment of revelation. I rarely think of my three Elektrons as effect boxes even though they excel in that purpose too. I remember trying something similar when I still had the Octatrack but felt that it was too much hassle. With my AK I can just save my 4 channel monster slicer as a kit and load it anytime I feel like it. I can also take all four sliced tracks out individually and further effect them. The only thing missing comparing to the SL-20 are the harmonic patterns, but I can just route my individual outs to my Meris Hedra and that does the job.
I love my Analog Keys for many reasons but tonight there’s a whole new reason to love it.