Little Sound Dj and "lo-fi" synthesis

I came across some interesting resources while visiting Ouroboros Complex the other day, in particular references to lo-fi synthesizers for small devices, such as Nanoloop for the GameBoy. Unfortunately, there was no free demo that I could run on my VisualBoyAdvance emulator, but I did find another synthesizer/sequencer that did: Little Sound Dj. It is set up like an old-style tracker application:

One can assign notes within a phrase (or larger structures called songs and chains) to various instruments. The instruments can be pulse tones, noise, built-in drumkits (emulating several classic lo-fi drum machines like Roland TR and even a “drumulator”), and custom waves that you can hand edit:

Although it is cute and fun to play around and see what one can do with such a limited but nonetheless interesting pallette, I think it falls short for actual musical work because of the interface and lack of interoperability with my other software and hardware instruments. Much of the lo-fi synthesis can be easily accomplished with OSW (check out the lo-fi and swiss_cheese tutorials) or several freely-available VST isntruments – and Ableton Live! remains a much more usable system for quick real-time pattern editing. I will be looking into some other lo-fi synthesizer plug-ins or algorithms to use in OSW and post more in a future article…