- Publisher: Ableton & Coldcut
- Product: Midivolve
- Version: 1.5
- Format: Max for Live
- Requirements: Live 11 Standard (version 11.1 or higher)
This Max For Live arpeggiator, riff generator and sequencer turns even the simplest of MIDI patterns into an evolving musical continuum, and comes with a collection of hybrid electronic/acoustic Instrument and Effects Racks capturing the classic and contemporary sounds of electronic music legends Coldcut.
Designed by Coldcut (aka Matt Black and Jonathan More) and inspired by Steve Reich’s seminal ‘Music for 18 Musicians’, MidiVolve is a Max For Live arpeggiator, riff generator and pattern sequencer that automatically ‘evolves’ live or imported MIDI patterns into new riffs, melodies and grooves.
Evolve and mutate
Notes are entered into MidiVolve’s sequencer window from Push or a MIDI keyboard, or by simply playing back a MIDI clip on the same track. In Arp mode, they generate an arpeggio; in Riff mode, they’re used as the basis for an auto-generated freeform melodic pattern. With a sequence in place, clicking the Evolve button instantly mutates the note Pitch, Velocity, Duration, Density and horizontal position (Swap), plus two freely assignable Map parameters, to create a new sequence; and activating Auto mode re-evolves the current or initial sequence on playback every 1-32 cycles. The probability, range, direction and amount of change applied with each evolution are adjustable for each parameter – so you can opt for subtle, organic shifts by evolving just one or two parameters, radical transformation of all of them, or anything in between. Of course, you can make your own manual edits to all seven parameters at any stage directly in the sequencer, too, and evolve each parameter individually as well as collectively.
A number of global operations are also on hand for further shaping of the sequence. Note pitches can be conformed to a user-defined scale or mode and limited in range, while sequence length (1-64 steps), playback direction, speed and swing are manipulable, and rhythmic irregularities and fills can be introduced using Euclidian clock operations.
It’s the highly customisable evolution of sequences – at a click or automatically over time – that makes MidiVolve such a powerful, creative system for conjuring original lines out of existing clips or minimal live input. And transferring your evolved pattern to Live’s Session View is as easy as hitting the Export button, which prints it immediately to the next free clip slot.
Sounds to inspire
Also included are 11 unique Instruments (with 60 presets) and 8 Audio Effects Racks built specifically for triggering with MidiVolve. Developed in collaboration with Johannesburg musician, samplist and Ableton Certified Trainer, Emile Hoogenhout (aka Behr), they use a variety of African instrumentation and a diversity of samples from Coldcut’s personal archive as the starting point for a suite of sonic tools that bring the essence of the Coldcut sound to your Live library. “Mixing analog and digital, human and machine, old and new is what Coldcut are about,” affirms Black.
With no music theory knowledge required and an intuitive interface that lets you get as deeply involved in the auto-evolutionary process as you want to, MidiVolve is aimed at every producer, from the fast-moving beat maker looking to quickly conjure up new basslines and riffs, to the high-concept electronic artist seeking a generative compositional system for multimedia installations and studio projects. In Black’s own words: “It’s a next gen warp drive sequencer for creating and mutating musical ideas.”