Ok, so here’s an argument for song mode on Elektron instruments that I don’t hear all that often, and I think it deserves its own thread.
I’ve been deep into the combination of Syntakt and Digitakt lately, and every five minutes I curse the gods for not having granted us song mode on these devices.
A skilled musician is their own song mode, by use of hands and fingers. Watching an artist perform fluently on an Elektron device is as impressive as its educational and enjoyable.
It’s also always the same.
There’s versions of the same, in level of skill, speed and just the song itself. But it is the same. Opening and closing of filters. Amplitude tweaks. Reverb fading in and out. Ctrl + all on the pitch. Fill on - fill off. And so on.
A song mode on Elektron devices isn’t about automating these features, to make the less nimble able to store a compositional version of the above. It’s about exploring new depths of combinations with patterns and tracks, loops and one shots, progressions and structure, that has nothing to do with dexterity or muscle memory. It’s about triggering and stimulating other parts of our song writing brain, by providing tools that allow exploration to other places which you couldn’t before.
It’s about providing tools that go beyond what a pattern can do even at its most extreme, about what happens when you look at your batch of loops as something more coherent that move seamlessly between each other, about the larger motions that span across 16, 32, 128 or I don’t know how many bars. It’s not recorded automation or 128 steps instead of 64.
It’s never been so apparent to me as now, when I use all kinds of voodoo tricks to break the mould of the Elektron pattern structure by using the Digitakt and the Syntakt together, to build a more beat-oriented version of my sound, which is based to a large extent on the combination of free running loops, one shot events and drum patterns but most importantly their transition back and forth in relation to each other.
It’s all there, except for the part that lets me sit down and string it all together. In that aspect, the Elektron sequencer only works against me, not with me.
I totally respect and admire anyone who’s quick, able and skilled to work the Elektrons as a live-performance interpretation of song writing. And I enjoy their work. But it’s all starting to sound the same. And the lack of a song mode as considered as the rest of Elektron’s sequencer, is at least part of the reason.