ALM Motto Akemie [WiN]

Motto Akemie is a 6 Voice FM drum synth and step sequencer VST plugin
  • Publisher: ALM Co.
  • Product: Motto Akemie
  • Release: MOCHA
  • Version: 1.1
  • Format: VST3

For producers, composers, and beat scientists seeking to forge utterly unique and playful percussive voices, Motto’s Akemie is an absolute must-have synth. This versatile 6-voice FM drum machine takes the wonky, characterful tones of Motto’s acclaimed Akemie’s Taiko Eurorack module and packages them into an interactive DAW instrument overflowing with sonic possibility.

At its core, each of Akemie’s voices is built around a dual-operator FM synthesis engine inspired by classic 80s digital drum tones, but imbued with far deeper modulation capabilities. The individual voice parameters provide incredibly flexible sound sculpting – making it easy to conjure everything from pure sinusoidal pings to detuned gong batches to bursts of lush noise convolution. The real magic, however, emerges when combining multiple sequenced voices.

And sequenced is definitely the operative word with Akemie. The integrated multi-track step sequencer is one of the deepest and most inspiring I’ve ever used for rhythmic pattern creation. You get individual sequencers for each of the 6 voices, with full per-step modulation of every single parameter. This makes it incredibly intuitive to generate complex, evolving polyrhythmic phrases that continually morph in pitch, timbre, envelope, and more.

There are great randomization features for quickly generating variations, along with 16 banks to store/recall patterns in an instant. The sequencers even support Pamela-style scaling/playback speed adjustments for conjuring hypnotic melodic sequences from the FM tones. Couple that with full MIDI control/chromaticity for instrumentally playable voices, and the expressive potential feels limitless.

While Akemie could certainly serve as a full-fledged drum machine for glitch, experimental, or deconstructed beats, it feels best utilized as an additive sonic layer. The ability to morph between distinct tones and sequences, with each voice exuding its own quirky personality, makes for an incredible toolkit for crafting hyper-organic percussive textures and transitional rhythmic washes.

My favorite use is deploying Akemie as an “anti-sampler” of sorts – feeding in melodic phrases or arbitrary audio clips and radically transforming them into sequences of abstract, unearthly rhythmic impacts. It’s a truly unique instrument for reshaping the elemental particles of sound itself.

The only potential downside is that, like many FM engines, there’s certainly a learning curve in navigating Akemie’s deceptively deep modulation matrices and parameter flowchains. But the preset library provides a great starting point spanning tones from conventional to utterly alien. And the rewards of putting in the effort to truly master this synth are second to none in the world of freeform rhythmic sound design.

If you’re lacking inspiration from staid, looped drum samples, I can’t recommend Akemie enough. It’s a real-time rhythmic audio foundry for sparking new ideas and conjuring sounds that simply can’t be achieved through any other means. Just strap in and let the FM polyrhythms flow.

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