Isotonik Studios has launched Arcade Series Returns, a bundle of 4 Max for Live generative sequencers based on classic arcade games. The devices offer support for Push 1 and 2, LaunchPad and Maschine JAM.
When a single screenshot of the work in progress of one of the Arcade Series Returns sequencers got featured on Ask.Audio and spread like wildfire through the internet we thought we might be onto something big.
The only problem was the added exposure meant that the series developer Mark Towers decided he wanted to add more features! Taking inspiration from the arcade games of our youth the Arcade Series Returns consists of four MaxforLive generative sequencers for Ableton Live.
Across the range features include an inbuilt loop recorder that can work on an individual or global level, and the ability to export the output of the device directly into an Ableton Live MIDI clip. Ableton Certifed Trainer Mark explains how each of these work clearly in the walkthrough videos you’ll see below.
With integration to a range of MIDI Controllers these sequencers are designed to be played and have fun with! If you don’t have one of the controllers listed then don’t worry, each can be played with the click of a mouse as well!
Arkanoid is a rotating melodic sequencer where the main 8×7 grid represents a walled space in which up to 4 balls can bounce around in diagonal patterns.
To start a ball moving, first select one of the 4 sequencers using the numbered selected panel or with a control surface’s ‘scene launch buttons’, then trigger one of the bottom row buttons on a control surface or by using the mouse.
Once started, balls will follow a diagonal pattern which will result in them gradually going out of phase until returning to their starting point. To trigger additional sequencers select the next numbered engine and repeat the process.
Frogger is an 8-step gate sequencer inspired by the classic video game and electronic gate sequencers.
Via the mouse or control surface you set the pitch/octave for each step. When the sequence lands on the step the note is triggered.
All pitch values conform to the globally selected scale with individual octave control per step.
Ghosts is a random looping melodic sequencer inspired by the classic arcade game PacMan (but it hasn’t got the hero in it!).
The 8×8 grid represents a maze in which the ghosts will move around.
Whenever a ghost reaches a junction, they make a random decision of which way to go. When ghosts land on a yellow step, a note is triggered. When they land on a blue step a speed boost / reduction is triggered for a specified amount of steps. Landing on an orange step triggers and accentuated note.
Space Invaders is a rotating pulse generator designed specifically for triggering drum machines.
Independent patterns/rows of ‘Invaders’ are set up in the separate invader engines to the right. These patterns can be static or moving from left to right and have their own parameters which effect note generation.
Lazers are triggered by the ships at the bottom of the grid. Once turned on, each ship will fire a single lazer at a user specified rate (in the settings panel). When a laser hits an invader, a note is triggered. The lazer cycle is repeated until the ship is turned off. Clicking anywhere on the 8×8 grid starts/re-starts a lazer to fire from that location.
Arcade Series Returns is available for £25.99 GBP. Requires Ableton Live 9.7 and Max for Live 7.