The Torso Electronics T-1 MIDI sequencer is now on Kickstarter and hit 100% funding within minutes of going live. The approach of this little box has captured our imagination.
We first saw the Torso T-1 just before Christmas and it looked like a fascinating project. It looked good and sounded very interesting but without a price or release date, it was difficult to know exactly what it was offering. Well, now we know. The price is about £418 (the cheaper Early Birds have all gone) and should ship in December. At the time of writing, they’ve taken twice their goal of £19,000 with 106 backers. That’s very impressive and clearly this hardware sequencer is in demand.
So what is it all about? The T-1 is a hardware sequencer that bases its pattern and melody generation on musically relevant algorithms. So it’s less about programming steps and more about guiding and tweaking patterns generated by the machine.
With the twist of a knob you can create Euclidean rhythms and arpeggiating structures and control parameters on multiple tracks simultaneously. You can push melodies about, lock in scales and add modulation to every parameter on every track. There are 16 tracks covering the 16 MIDI channels that come out the back on the single MIDI output.
These sorts of ideas are often found in Eurorack modules where musical frameworks are often built around the accidental discovery of melody through pattern generation and algorithmic firing of CV and pulses. To see them in a hardware unit opens these ideas up to a wider base of users. It helps you move past the blank page syndrome of the DAW or regular step sequencers and gets you making and sculpting music in a very fluid workflow.
It’s not all just automatic generation though, the patterns are based upon and taken from the notes you enter so it’s more of a collaboration than an automatic music-making machine.
It’s a beautiful box, packed full of potential and has got to be a great companion to jamming, exploring and enjoying your hardware synths and boxes of noise. Shame there’s no CV in there at all.