Ableton has announced Time and Timbre, a Max for Live percussion instrument and time engine that is the result of three years of intensive development and refinement by the artist duo Skinnerbox. The pack consists of five individual drum synthesis modules (Timbre) and a polymetric sequencer (Time), as well as a built-in mastering plug-in for some extra boost (Master Blaster).
Berlin-based duo Skinnerbox have cultivated quite a few strategies and custom solutions to keep their rhythm-centric live sets fresh, varied and musically engaging. In addition, the duo of Olaf Hilgenfeld and Iftah Gabbai are talented programmers who want to share their inventions with the rest of the world. And so they now present Time and Timbre – a Max for Live percussion instrument and time engine that is the result of three years of intensive development and refinement. Time and Timbre is based on familiar concepts such as step sequencing and percussion synthesis, but takes them far beyond the capabilities of conventional drum machines.
The first of Time and Timbre’s sections is a sixvoice polyrhythmic and polymetric sequencer called TIME. Taking the drum sequencer concept a few steps further, TIME not only lets you easily make and chain together patterns, add accents and rolls to individual steps, but also define sequence length and beat divisions freely and independently for each of its six channels. Another unique feature of TIME is the ability to apply swing to any notes in a pattern (not just 4ths, 8ths, 16ths), thus providing highly unusual and interesting varieties of ‘feel’ for your rhythms. TIME also includes four internal LFOs that can modulate anything within the device (or even any parameter in Live) and can be synced to follow the swing. Used together, TIME’s different parts can produce a near infinite range of unconventional grooves.
The second section, TIMBRE, consists of five drum synthesis modules capable of producing a broad spectrum of sounds with great deal of flexibility. While it can provide all the meaty snares, punchy kicks and sharp cymbals you’d ever need, TIMBRE gives you direct control over key parameters of each drum voice including envelope, tonality and noise (a fundamental element of percussive synthesis). All this allows you to craft an extremely broad range of drum sounds that can be as classic or as unconventional as you like. Going even further, each drum voice can be randomized and have its parameters modulated by Time and Timbre’s internal LFO, letting you infuse your patterns with any degree of subtle sound variation or controlled chaos.
Time and Timbre comes with a set of smart tools that present an intuitive alternative to preset browsing. For instance, the panel labelled Morph Master Mike lets you save two sound snapshots and morph between them. TIME & TIMBRE is also completely integrated with Push, letting you take its entire creative potential into the handson realm of hardware.