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PolyPhase

Marcos Kohler, developer of Harmonix and Collider, has released PolyPhase! This is a generative MIDI sequencer, but this isn't just a "push play" generative sequencer. At any point in the process you're able to halt the note generation to add in your own, with 4 tracks to work with, and tools to help you build up layers. It can then drive other apps via Audiobus/IAA.

The iTunes description does not do this justice. Check out the demo jam below!

Thanks to reader Artur for alerting me to this release!

PolyPhase iTunes Description:

PolyPhase is a generative sequencer!

Melodies on a Master Track are created on the fly & copied, with phase offsets, to Slave Tracks. This structure, along with the interplay of various probabilities, leads to unique melodies and rhythms.

You can disable the generation of notes & draw your own Sequences, or select some of the randomization functions

Sequence external hardware, other iOS synths, or use the included Wavetable Synthesizer!

- 4 independent Sequencers with their own rate, direction, transposition & other properties
- Disable the generation of notes to draw your own, or use some of the intelligent functions provided
- Random Euclid & Drum Sequences
- The Wavetable Synth + FX lets you use PolyPhase even if you don't own any external Instruments
- Filter notes to a Global Key / Scale and selectable Chord Masks
- Save / Load Presets
- Snapshots for install recall of your Sequences
- Intelligently Randomize and Morph your Sequences & Synth sounds
- Accepts external MIDI clock & can provide clock to other devices
- Audiobus (Audio / State) & Inter-App Audio support

Back in December reader ajp used an early beta version of PolyPhase for this demo jam. Here he's sequencing iGrand, iSEM, Quanta, SpaceCraft, Laplace and Mersenne!

Reader Comments 8

Dear Sir!

Very nice work, thank you for sharing. Good sence for melody, atmosphere, ambient and rhythm.
February 19, 2019  | person_outline Sound Showel
Very very rare I sit through a piece from start to finish. Very competent work and hypnotic.

I am also fascinated with that method of working via AUM and switching between lots of apps.

AUM recorded the whole performance right?
February 19, 2019  | person grammatonfeather
That was a nice performance, though I found it a bit nerve-wracking, due to how little I trust computers (including iOS) to do things correctly at the moments I command them... bugs, timing, etc...
February 19, 2019  | person dysamoria
Thanks all! I'm only barely using PolyPhase "right"; for most of the track I'm running it as a straightforward sequencer. Only at the end, as the track is breaking down, do I turn on the generative bits. This is part of the app's strength: you can start with a melodic curve that you draw in (it's a bit hard to really set individual notes to specific values) and then have it generate off of that; lock that generated bit in; have other tracks generate off of the master; etc.

Also, this was the first beta of PolyPhase, it has evolved significantly and has lots of features not present here.

On February 19, 2019 - @grammatonfeather said:
Very very rare I sit through a piece from start to finish. Very competent work and hypnotic.

I am also fascinated with that method of working via AUM and switching between lots of apps.

AUM recorded the whole performance right?

Yes, this was recorded in AUM. I'm really only interested in playing tracks live. It's sort of an extension of Eno's notion of "The Recording Studio As A Compositional Tool". Now the recording studio fits in our hands and with sequencers and gestural controls it's not just a "compositional tool" but a "performance instrument".

I record stems for each track and then do the final mix down after. While there might be a touch of EQ or static level adjustment to make sure everything can be heard clearly, there's no post automation or additional effects; what you hear is what came out of the iPad.

On February 19, 2019 - @dysamoria said:
That was a nice performance, though I found it a bit nerve-wracking, due to how little I trust computers (including iOS) to do things correctly at the moments I command them... bugs, timing, etc...

The biggest bugbear in iOS are gitches (audio or timing) that can happen when the processor is under load, or when switching between apps. This is most apparent when you're switching using the iOS app switcher, using Audiobus for switching is definitely preferable.
Also the memory limit Apple imposes on AUv3 is annoying; time based apps with elaborate graphics that can create large buffers can, occasionally, hit the limit and be terminated by iOS.
Still, I've never really had anything crash catastrophically; it generally either works or it doesn't!
February 19, 2019  | favorite_border ajp
Beautiful composition. Can I somehow download it?
February 20, 2019  | person_outline Peter
A very gentle composition, but I fear that the brute power of Fugue has not been demonstrated here nor that of this new app with some dark bass lines, razor sharp leads, or mysterious FX. The stuff that Fugue and the synths that can create have kept me in a sort of a daydream since its release. Nice to see Polyphase joining the ranks or at least attempting to compete with Fugue. But it is a very high bar indeed. Man, the bass lines that I have created with Fugue have blown at least me and my SoundCloud followers away. I cant thank the man enough, but I applaud Herr Kohler for his effort here and I have bought it. Now to use it gainfully. Schon Weiter!
February 20, 2019  | person_outline Metalizer
On February 20, 2019 - @Peter said:
Beautiful composition. Can I somehow download it?

Thank you! I don't have this posted anywhere else... yet.

At some point I may compile tracks and release them. But the idea I have is to take these performance stems and remix / add to / subtract from to make more polished pieces of music. The issue, as ever, is free time....
February 20, 2019  | favorite_border ajp
On February 19, 2019 - @ajp said:

The biggest bugbear in iOS are gitches (audio or timing) that can happen when the processor is under load, or when switching between apps. This is most apparent when you're switching using the iOS app switcher, using Audiobus for switching is definitely preferable.
Also the memory limit Apple imposes on AUv3 is annoying; time based apps with elaborate graphics that can create large buffers can, occasionally, hit the limit and be terminated by iOS.
Still, I've never really had anything crash catastrophically; it generally either works or it doesn't!

Thanks for the insight. I think I'd like to compose in this way... Live. Your performance has inspired me to try something new.
February 20, 2019  | person grammatonfeather
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