Sequencing and looping are more popular than ever before, so it makes sense that music software developers are exploring opportunities to innovate with such products. zenAud.io is gearing up to release ALK, a colourful sequencing and looping platform for Mac computers with a focus on performance capabilities.
Generally, the formula comes down to loading a bunch of loops and arranging them on a grid by drawing, moving, copying, cutting and pasting them around. However, there are other capabilities for additional power and control over the music flow. ALK has MIDI looping taken care of, so using your favourite synth plug-ins alongside pre-recorded loops is possible. The MIDI feature set comes complete with quantizing and the so-called Magnetic Note Repeat to “smooth out” off-grid notes by gently nudging them towards the right place. Moreover, any audio or MIDI track can be assigned as a mixer or group in the track structure, allowing for flexible send/receive routings.
Automation is also an option, one you will be using a lot to make your arrangements dynamic and interesting. ALK has the standard automation curves you’ve seen in every DAW ever, but has an unorthodox approach to effects automation. Every knob, pad, or pedal gets placed on its own track and it can be assigned to control different parameters over the course of a set or song.
ALK looks like it could appeal to the Ableton Live crowd with its streamlined workflow and flexibility in dealing with loops. Improvisers and free-flow composers will probably love something like this, provided it works well enough and doesn’t make their computers crumble. The piece of software will be launched May 22 in VST and AU formats, sold for an introductory price of 59 EUR. That’s half the regular price of 119 EUR. ALK requires MacOS Sierra, which means those skipping updates won’t be able to run it at all. More information is available here.