CatSynth Video: Polyend Tracker Wonky Beats

Some cool beats with the Polyend Tracker. Cookie the cat seems to enjoy it.

From Polyend’s YouTube channel, via matrixsynth.

“Polyend Tracker Wonky Beats, chilling with Cookie 🙂

by Isobutane”

The Polyend Tracker is a tabletop synthesizer and sequencer combo that reimagines the classic “trackers” from the 1990s. It has sampling, wavetable, granular and an FM radio built in.

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…