My first full one hour improvised techno set


I finally made my first full hour improvised techno set, using the dark trinity and some other synths. It’s improvised in the sense that when I started I had no idea how the set would progress, and I had no stored patterns.

If anyone would care to comment or criticize I would be really, really grateful. Thank you so much!

Now listening… Will give you some feedback after having listened to the whole set! :wink:

just listening now it sounds great so far. it can be tough not having any patterns worked out… so nice !

I like it, some parts of it could be ‘enriched’ imo, but it’s good in general! Good way to do impros, I also do the same with my Monomachine, check this out:

Sounds great! Bass Station 2 in there as well, eh?
BS2 has been calling to me lately.

Great job! So much drive throughout!

What you could improve: I’d say some more variation on the melody pattern, just a different rhythm on the notes here and there. Maybe throw in some randomization.

very impressed! kept me listening to the end, and frankly i often switch off long techno sets :wink:

i think my one recommendation would echo moritz’s: work in some melodic/rhythmic variation now and again, though this may be heresy for some hard techno fans :stuck_out_tongue: i don’t know if the ar/a4 have the [func+left/right arrow] feature that allows you to shift trig sequences back and forth, but if they do that might be a good tool to explore.

you’ve clearly got lots of improv techniques down already … would be curious to hear anything you have to say about your approach: what things you prepare in advance (kits/patches/etc.), how you handle creating polished-sounding sequences on the fly, that sort of thing.

That topic inspires me to prepare a nice tutorial ‘Monomachine - the ultimate live techno weapon’. :wink: I think the trickiest bit is to create a solid basis and develop it over time during the set - something which Dawid has done perfectly!

Yes, please share some workflow tricks! :slight_smile: this set sounds really polished and moving for an impro set.

Wow, thank you all so much! It means the world, coming from the Elektron community.

dubathonic: “you’ve clearly got lots of improv techniques down already … would be curious to hear anything you have to say about your approach: what things you prepare in advance (kits/patches/etc.), how you handle creating polished-sounding sequences on the fly, that sort of thing.”

I like to think of myself as coming to a live show with lots and lots of instruments that I’ve made myself, each instrument being a saved synth patch. Then the way I play those instruments (i.e. the sequencing) is completely made on the fly, with no sequencing stored. So it’s a great risk and one has to learn how to set up trigs and such in a way that will sound good every time.

So I have saved patches on my BS2 and Analog Four and Analog Rytm that I have to remember, but then with the Volca Bass for instance, there is no saving of patches, so there one has to know the synth really well. For instance, if I want a certain type of stab sound from it, I adjust everything about the filter, modulations with the lfo, choose if I should use one or more oscillators, etc. Again, here it is just a matter of knowing the synth very well so you can set this up FAST. Because speed is the key here - the same loop can’t play for too long without anything happening, even with repetitive techno. People will think it becomes boring.

Then one really has to work on doing two or more things at the same time. There are sometimes one wishes it was possible to grow more arms out of one’s back; I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about!


Speaking of speed: one always has to be two or three steps ahead of what is going on in the moment. One really can’t just enjoy what one has created, kick back and relax. That’s the people listening’s job. :slight_smile:

My job is to constantly be thinking about the next one, two or three things that is going to happen next in the musical flow.

It’s a scary thing when one realizes that the mental queue of stuff that is going to happen is running out inside, and one is only left with the music happening in the present. For those moments there are some things one can do to jump back on the train, for example, I have a few physical pieces of paper with patch information. I think of these as tools for emergency inspiration. In the set I posted here I didn’t use them, but it’s calming to know that they’re there.

There can be info there like this:

5: Ring Modulator with slow chaos phase
Patch: 123
Trig Pattern Length: 8/16
Trig Note: C3 (default).
Trig Length: Default or Endless
Trig Play Style: Playful.

So that is one patch, or as I think of it, one instrument that I’ve made.

I think the whole set sounds really good and breaks away from sounding too “elektron” if that makes any sense, which is a good thing. Really good atmospheres I’m assuming that’s from the reverb fx, I don’t really have a critique, but if youve ever heard “hatch the plan” by Andy Stott, it would be cool to work in moments where you just drop out everything and just have this lone kick or bass surrounded by all this white space, elements like that I think would bring another dimension to your set.

Hello, that sounds very interesting. What exactly do you mean by white space?

Brilliant is all I can say, Dawid. Right up my alley and your mastery of the machines depresses and inspires me in equal measures;)

Great advice! I’m working on developing a minimal techno/industrial live set with the Monomachine and Electribe ES-1 so advice like this is great. I already write notes similar to the above for my shows, kinda like a set list; I’m not as brave as you and like to have a few patterns written beforehand. Having said that though, hopefully one day I can work on creating new patterns on the fly—maybe not kits though :smiley:
Anyway, I had a quick skip through the set, it sounds excellent, I’ll give it a proper listen at work tomorrow. I can tell it’s going to provide some inspiration!

beautiful! very much what I’m into right now. I like to get completely lost for hours playing my dark trinity and Roland SH-1.

Here is what I use for impro house sets:

A4: presets from Floppydiskpirates, adjusted on the fly to my liking, a LOT of arpeggiator. Also running the SH1 through it - i like its noise for buildups

AR: I use chains, they’re flexible and can be switched fast. The ones by Adam Jay in the Files section sound just great for my purposes.

T1: AR incoming, with filter and a 2nd FX that I exchange all the time
T2: A4 incoming, same config
T3: neighbouring T2, for more FX
T4: sampling T3, usually have it through some ringmod and filter
T5: sampling T1: heavy filter LFO and LOFI, fading between T5 and T1 for some variation
T6: neighbouring T5 for more destruction
T7: vocals chopped up
T8: Sampling CUE, using it for transitions (while I’m changing AR and A4) and for buildups and drops.

OT: Using a lot of scenes and fades. For instance on T8, I have a scene that resets everything to normal, so I can make heavy drops after tweaking e.g. retrig, filter and delay for buildup.
I also like scenes to fade between T1 and T3 on one side and their sampled counterparts with some modification on the other.
Sometimes I record stuff from the synths and then I have the songs evolve on the OT only.

AR: for nice percussion, I use one track, assigning the LFO to the sample slots. I set random trigs and play with lfo speed, start phase etc. to obtain nice results. Usually, I only use one bar.

A4: often having a part where a track is playing slow notes with no arp, then switching on the Arp to create more intensity. PERF: bipolar filter1,2 control per track, FX modulation (e.g. reverb length). 4 bars.

The coolest moments are when I fade the previous track into something new, because I don’t know yet what the new stuff will sound like…

haha wanna go home and play now…


nicely done. quite enjoyed that.

Highly enjoyable techno just the way I like it. I have to complement your technical skills required to carve out one hour of flawless techno on the fly pretty much. My style is going from scratch every time. I don’t even save patches. I never know whats gonna happen next. Maybe I’ll try your approach.

Thanks for sharing.

Great job here man!Are you using any other effect pedals/stomp boxs?if so you running them thru a desk??

Another questio. Can you say something about what you have on the master bus?