Dance music in a module
It isn’t a secret that a lot of classic dance music follows a fairly defined formula. Mungo Enterprises has taken this concept a step further and have actually created a sequencer module called the “Infinite Horizon” that promises to generate original dance music on the fly.
The unit generates patterns and sequences from a set of rules, giving it the ability to generate a constant flow of new and original tracks in real time.
“This neat little box was the culmination of my major in Computer Music at CNMA. I had demonstrated using SuperCollider that a non-deterministic sequencer was capable of creating contemporary dance music but being a full hardware artist I needed to get the system into a useable form.”
The orginal implementation of the Infinite Horizon was completely autonomous, generating complete tracks, but they realized that the tracks lacked the (often criticized as predictable) build up/down structure which is so much a part of classic dance tracks. Instead of implementing this in the hardware, they left this task up to the human that is performing.
“People can do the work, so that machines have time to think” (B(if)tek, 2000)
The sequencer itself outputs 5 distinct channels:
- Chord: This forms the base from which all the other sequencers derive their notes.
- Lead 1: The most complex of the channels, it is capable of generating different length patterns and variations on loops of the pattern.
- Lead 2: Based loosely on Roland’s (uintentionally) hugely influential TB-303 sequencer, ties and slides included. Especially effective combined with legato and/or portamento voicing.
- Bass 1: A simple channel, it was the basis for and shares all of its code with Lead1.
- Bass 2: Similar to Lead 2 but biased specifically for basslines.
The big red button arms all channels to generate new patterns at the end of the 8 bars, effectively creating a new track. The other controls are:
- Mute Deferred latching switch with LED indicator.
- Forward/Back Generates a new pattern or restores the previous one.
- Clock Shift Slides the clock by a 16th for that channel.
Here’s a sample of what the Infinite Horizon can do, along with some programmed drums:
Not a perfectly polished track, but it does generate some interesting stuff. Definitely good enough for inspiration. Version 2 is on the way, but unfortunately the technology is still not for sale.