Orthogonal Flow Generative Music Sequencer Now Available

Flow harnesses the power of algorithms to create generative melodies, chords and beats in Ableton Live. This Max for Live device from Orthogonal can be used to design ‘state machines’ which spontaneously generate complex musical patterns.

Flow is a generative, non-linear MIDI sequencer for Ableton Live that allows you to compose music by defining simple steps and rules that determine how the music will change over time, and cause more complex behaviors and patterns to emerge.

You define the rules, and Flow executes them, producing infinitely long and varying musical patterns.

Orthogonal tell us that its generative, non-linear MIDI sequencer makes algorithmic music composition “easy”, a claim we initially met with some skepticism after coming across the phrase “parallel hierarchical probabilistic state machine” in the plugin’s marketing copy.

The mathematically uninitiated need not fear, though, as it turns out that Orthogonal were telling the truth after all. Once you get going with Flow, it’s fairly simple to set up complex and evolving patterns of notes, chords and even modulation signals. The plugin does this through the aforementioned concept of the state machine, which is essentially an algorithmic set of “trigger states” that contain notes or modulation values of your choosing, along with rules that determine how one state transitions to another.

Stick a note or a chord in each trigger state, add velocity ranges and then dial in probability values that determine how likely Flow is to move on to any of the other states in the machine (up to 8) after playing each one. Hit play, and Flow will spontaneously produce generative MIDI note patterns based on the rules you’ve specified. Dial in the modulation slider, and Flow will use those same rules to generate modulation signals that can be used to control external gear or modulate other plugins in Ableton.

The same principles will work for MIDI drum patterns, as well, or even breakbeats chopped up in a sampler plugin. Multiple state machines can be organized in a hierarchical manner, putting state machines within state machines for even more complexity. Four parallel independent sequencer parts can run simultaneously, and each is equipped with controls for reset rate, transposition and mix level.

For those after an alternative to punching in melodies with the mouse pointer or tinkling the MIDI ivories, Flow can offer a new way to come up with melodies, chord sequences, beats and modulation, creating patterns that are unique and unpredictable without sounding totally random.

Flow can be used in Ableton Live on Windows or macOS. Flow is available at a special launch price!  Flow is yours for €39 (excl. VAT) for a limited time only. Find out more on Orthogonal website.

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