The Torso Electronics T-1 MIDI sequencer is only about 30 centimeters long, but packed full of creative features. With 16 polyphonic tracks, Euclidian algorithmic pattern generation, flexible modulation and lots of live performance features, this unassuming little box looks very promising.
Torso Electronics T-1 MIDI sequencer
Hardware sequencers have made a huge comeback in the wake of small, portable synths. Many prefer them over laptops for creative live performances, for good reasons. Each sequencer has its own unique set of features (and limitations!), which can be extremely inspiring. From the ubiquitous Arturia Beatstep to the Twisted Electrons Crazy8, Polyend SEQ, Dadamachines Composer Pro and Cirklon to quirky DIY kits like the midiphy LoopA, stand-alone sequencers are totally happening right now, be it for MIDI, CV or both. And here comes Torso Electronics with yet another promising concept – let’s check it out!
Despite its rather tiny dimensions, the Torso Electronics T-1 offers 16 polyphonic MIDI tracks and an impressive set of features. The developers say that they wanted to overcome the limitations of a traditional sequencer, while maintaining a simple user interface with no menus. The T-1 has a heavy focus on creative pattern generation tools and modulation.
Pattern generation and hands-on control
At the heart of the T-1 is the Euclidian algorithm, which lets you generate a wide variety of rhythms. There’s also a melody generator. Each of the 16 tracks can have its own note division value. The 18 rotary knobs provide instant access to all sorts of melodic and rhythmic parameters, such as repeats, slices, voicing, velocity, sustain, dynamics, and timing, to name just a few. The 23 silicone buttons are RGB backlit and do double duty as a display, by changing their colours depending on what’s going on.
Parameters can be creatively randomized using what Torso calls “pseudo-randomization”. I’m not 100% sure what they mean by “pseudo”, but they say that it yields “endless musical variations”, so that’s cool. Also, the T-1 lets you lock the degree of randomization into loops, so you don’t end up with a pattern that’s gone completely bonkers all of a sudden.
The T-1 holds 16 projects, each of which contains 8 banks of 16 patterns. It connects to your other devices via MIDI In/Out/Thru on 3.5 mm jacks and a USB MIDI port, which also supplies power. The T-1 can also sync wirelessly via Ableton Link. I can’t tell right now if it’ll be possible to export and import projects, but I can’t imagine they haven’t thought of that.
Price and availability
Unfortunately, we don’t know yet when the Torso Electronics T-1 is coming, and how much it will cost. But you can subscribe to the mailing list at the developer’s website, to be notified when something happens.