Chromatic is a playable loop factory built for artists, by artists that will let you throw together ideas while feeling moody and professional.
“What if inspiration was always in reach?” asks the slick promo video as we watch beautiful people play a few loops and find their creativity unleashed in ways they couldn’t have imagined. This is Chromatic, an adventure playground of finely crafted and curated loops that really don’t need much encouragement to form themselves into cool tracks. I feel like we’ve seen this before with Output Arcade – oh, it’s a subscription service with new content every month – very much like Arcade then.
Chromatic has come together through contributions from creators and up-and-coming artists and producers. They create playable sets of loops that are spun across a couple of octaves of a virtual keyboard that uses the white notes for loops and the black notes for effects….. like Arcade. The sets are categorised by “Mood” rather than say genre or musical style although the moods are things like Percussive Motion, Drum Rool and Bass Pressure – so, styles then rather than happy, sad, melancholy etc.
The website is a little bit scant on the details but it sure does look slick in a fun and iPad app kind of way. The Chromatic plugin is free to download but the vast majority of the content requires a subscription. If you dig around and flip the handy “Free” button then you’ll find that each mood has a free set to play with that can be downloaded within the app. The content, or at least the free stuff that I could audition, is mostly good, they gel together nicely and give you that slightly unsettling instant track vibe. Each set has details of the artist who supplied it and a link to their profile on LANDR.
Along with the effects on the black keys like stutter, speed changes, reverse and tape-stop you also have a row of real-time effects along the top. You can engage a filter, pull in some Lo-Fi, Reverb and Delay.
It’s all good quality stuff, beautifully packaged with one of those subscription services that people either love or hate. While we’ve seen it all before with Output Arcade and similar loop-based systems, I do like the artist angle. Subscription starts from $9.99 a month and they promise new content every day. It has potential for people who like that bit of instant loop inspiration and while the free sets are a little underwhelming you can at least try it before you sign up. You can also get it as part of the All Access Pass.