Unquantized sequencing is typically driven by a performance, and the rhythmic feel is a product of the performer’s idiosyncrasies. The Unquantized Sequencing Spindle supports the complexity of unquantized rhythm, but is driven by continuous dials for a performance-less approach, more akin to careful sculpting of a beat and its feel and freely able to achieve creative results.
The “spindle” follows a tape-loop approach, specifying a loop length and then populating it. To get started, turn the large red knob to set the length, observing the timing of the resetting of the 7-segment display. You can manually enter a loop length (in samples), but the real virtue of the approach is to operate by feel and observation. The jacks on the right are trigger outputs, destined for drum modules, envelopes, etc. The two neighboring dials specify when trigger pulses will be sent to the output. By default, they are all firing at the loop start, but you can push the red, “length+1”, button above the display to set them all just out of range and clear the pattern. Again, you can create rhythms by entering values (in samples) for each dial, but rather, making minor adjustments by ear will provide the most interesting results. While each jack can only send two triggers per loop, multiple jacks can be sent to the same destination for greater quantities.
Multiple units can also be used in cooperation, syncing them from one device’s “start trig-out” to another’s “sync (restart)” input. On a side note, the “end trig-out” sends a pulse on the last sample of the loop, and can be especially useful for stopping synced loops on other devices.
Various patterns are associated with the memory slider (left) and motorized dials snap into their previous positions as the slider is moved. Patterns can be changed with triggers to the leftmost jacks (1 per pattern) or the above poly jack (a trigger on a voice # will initiate a memory slider move to that pattern). Pattern changes don’t reset the loop position, so complex switching can create new pattern variations.
For interesting fills, rolls, and ratcheting, the loop length can be changed on the fly and a gliding transition time can be set with the “trans” slider (lower center). Above that, a switch can be flipped between a “rec” mode where pressing the red buttons further above will remember various loop length settings, and a “mem” mode where they are recalled. The nearby poly jack allows triggers to select loop lengths – try a Poly Distributor to use this (a trig on a particular voice #/channel selects the corresponding loop length). Loop length can also be modulated with LFOs via the mono jack just to the right.
Individual trigger outputs can be muted via buttons at each jack and also a mute CV jack (top center) where the voltage specifies how many of the tracks are muted. At zero volts, all are muted. At one volt, the lowest is unmuted, then at two volts the lower two are unmuted, and so on, up to 5 volts where all are unmuted.
As you explore, you’ll find more useful features, a wealth of interesting possibilities and behaviors that can be coaxed out of it, and results that are quite unlike those of traditional sequencing approaches. Use unquantized sequencing for unique feels, complex patterns, serendipitous experimentation, and inimitable rhythms.
The Unquantized Sequencing Spindle is that approach to rhythm that you didn’t know you needed.