"In my lesson with Robby we were playing double drums – both playing a songo groove with a left foot clave. We'd play 3 bars of groove, then Robby would keep the clave going and play a 1 bar melodic fill on the toms. We'd go around the 4 bars again and my challenge was to mimic what he had played. It was challenging and I wanted to develop some software that would replicate that scenario. I wrote RhythMachine to do exactly this."
Joe's second tool is called OctopuSequencer. It's built to create multi-layered grooves consisting of overlapping time signatures. Its core feature set allows you to easily program and manipulate grooves in order to discover new ones. The drummer and creator of the OctopuSequencer says:
"To play the songo groove in RhythMachine I had to build a step sequencer. I built in the ability to chose any subdivision rate between 1 and 32, and to loop at any point in the sequence. Once I'd written the step sequencer I realized that I could stack them, and that having four independent step sequencers would allow me to program some of the kind of grooves that Virgil Donati, Marco Minnemann and Mike Mangini were playing."
Their grooves are essentially combinations of different time signatures layered over each other. That concept eventually evolved into the OctopuSequencer.
In case you want to program polyrhythms and the rhythmic scale, Pyramid may come of hand. It's an advanced metronome which includes features which make it easy to learn how unfamiliar rates and polyrhythms sound. Joe explains:
"Someone who'd bought OctopuSequencer asked me how they would use it to program in the rhythmic scale where you work your way up through all the subdivisions between 1 and 16. OctopuSequencer wasn't designed to do this, so I spent a few weeks working with that idea and developed The Pyramid. It's much simpler than OctopuSequencer but is an invaluable tool for all musicians (not just drummers) who want to become more familiar with unconventional subdivisions."
Soon after writing Pyramid, Joe met Lucas Ives, a New York-based drummer who used to work for Pixar. Lucas had experience coding for the iPhone so both drummers worked together to develop PolyNome. Explains Joe:
"Basically it's the metronome that I wanted to own. It has all the functionality of Pyramid and more. We built in the option to program clicks with bars of rest so you can use it to improve your internal clock which is proving to be a very popular feature among all musicians. So far we've had great feedback from Dave Weckl, Jon Riley, Peter Erskine and others. In the words of Dennis Chambers - it's the shit!"
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