Thinking Outside the Grid: The Polyrandom Max for Live Device
One of my favorite categories in the maxforlive.com database is the “sequencers” group, which features the idiosyncratic designs of people like me: people chasing after the perfect step sequencer or percussion grid editor. Trying out other people’s idea of The Right Stuff is helpful as I constantly reinvent my idea of the perfect device, and this week’s highlighted device got me thinking about rhythm in completely new ways.
The device is Polyrandom, and it is a percussion grid editor might seem simple on the surface, but has a few nifty tricks up its sleeve. It provides eight lanes of percussion control, but each lane has two important parameters: the number of steps per measure, and the number of steps used by the editor. By decoupling these two functions, it becomes easy to create polyrhythmic percussion tracks that feature ever-changing interactions between instruments.
So that is the explanation for the ‘poly’ part of the device’s name. The ‘random’ part of the name comes from a little button at the head of the lane labeled ‘rnd’. A click on that button will randomize both parameters, then will randomly select steps within the lane. So in eight clicks (one for each lane), you can instantly create a complete polyrhythmic percussion bed, and a few more clicks will change it all up again.
This is a very fast-but-fun way of working, and its output is a natural fit in front of a standard Live drum rack. You have on/off toggles for each channel as well, so you can bring parts in and out of live performance with relative ease. Polyrandom - available for 10 euros from encoderaudio.com - is a fun new addition to both my live and recording rigs for its sheer fun factor.
See it in action!