The humble MIDI keyboard doesn't get much love in this world of pads, knobs, and touchscreens. Maybe The Finger - borrowed from Warp artist Tim Exile's Reaktor-based setup - will remind us how darned useful a standard keyboard can really be.
From its Reaktor origins, NI has organised The Finger into an add-on that runs in the free Kore Player, Kore 2 or. of course. NI's fully-fledged Reaktor 5, which will give you full editing options. As usual with the Kore Player, it'll run standalone, or within your DAW.
Each Finger preset maps a different arrangement of audio effects across the notes on your MIDI keyboard, and these effects are chained differently depending on what order you press the keys in (up to six at a time). It's a real-time way of building organic relationships between effects.
Here's a quick example setup using Ableton Live: load an audio loop into a Live track, then add the Kore Player FX or Reaktor 5 plug-in to that track. Open it and select FX/The Finger/1000 Pole Filter.
Create a MIDI track, then from the In/Out View top chooser, select your audio loop track. Play some notes (from C3-B6) from a MIDI keyboard through the MIDI track to hear the effects being applied to the audio loop. Simple.
Effects respond to note velocity and the keyboard's mod wheel. These effects include sample looping and granulation tools, filters, delays, reverbs, wave shapers, and distortions, and there are four instruments that generate their own source audio.
The 44 presets have different keyboard layouts, too. Some - singles - map variations of the same effect over all keys. Dual patches assign one effect to all white keys, and another to all the black keys, while multis apply different effects to every key.
If you run The Finger in standalone mode and you don't have a keyboard available, the four Twist knobs can be used to trigger MIDI notes, and there's also a sequencer and arpeggiator. Basic edits to these can be made on the MIDI page.
Anything that encourages real-time interaction is OK by us. The Finger's also cool with drawn MIDI notes and automation, but the live keyboard input is where it's at. How much long-term interest these particular sounds have, we're not sure, but The Finger is affordable, and if you like to build Reaktor patches, this is a great kick-off for your variations.