A number of images of the old-school keypad popped up over the show but no one seemed to have much information about it. It’s labelled “Drum Sequencer” but often gets referred to as their “Trigger Sequencer”. Unfortunately, when I was there on the Saturday there was never any room on the Erica Synths stand to get to talk to anyone about it. Thankfully, some video (below) has emerged of it in action so I can bring you some details.
It’s a 16 track trigger drum sequencer, meaning that it triggers gates for drums and percussion rather than pitch for melodic sequencing. Each track has independent direction, timing and shuffle. Each track has its own trigger output (of course) but 12 of the tracks also have an accent output. It has an unexpected MIDI port built in along with the usual clock in/out. There is a single regular CV and Gate output and two LFO outputs which makes you realise there’s more to this than you thought.
Next to the keypad is a range of buttons that transform the function of the keys. The keypad can be the sequencer steps, but it can also “play” the triggers, act as a pattern changer, set shuffle amounts, copy/paste and be a bank of mutes. You can step record or tap record in real-time and there’s a tonne of banks to save stuff to. Part of the idea is that it’s a performance module, where you can switch patterns and edit easily on the fly – that really comes across, especially when you start using it to trigger other sequencers for bass and melody lines. It’s incredibly versatile.
I did get to punch the buttons and it totally feels like an old mechanical computer keyboard – but in a nice way. There’s a resistance there, an intentionality to it. Watching it in use the user looks a lot like an accountant entering numbers into a calculator. It’s huge in HP terms, but that’s just something we have to deal with if we want performance orientated controls. It could easily be a stand-alone desktop unit. If they stick in a handful of the Pico Drums it could be self-contained as well as triggering the rest of your world.
Erica Synths are hoping for a release by the end of the summer and say they are “on it”. They also mention that they are producing it in collaboration with a Fench company called “E-licktronic” – who are behind recent 808 and 909 clones. Hopefully, more information will appear on the Erica Synths website.
Also in the video below is their forthcoming Bass Drum module and check out their other new product, the Black Dual VCF here.