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Blocks can be thought of as an extra layer in the sequencer. It’s semi-independent of the main sequencer and the idea is that you create each distinct section of your track - verse, chorus, bridge and so on - in Blocks mode. With that done, back in the main sequencer you simply lay out your blocks, end to end, using the Blocks sequencer lane.
Blocks can be copied, shortened, lengthened and moved around just like any other clip in the sequencer, and changes to the contents of one block will apply to all instances of it, so, for example, you can adjust all your choruses together. To extend the playback of a block, you don’t have to copy/paste it - just drag the edge to repeat it for as far into the track as you like.
Up to 32 blocks can exist in a project, which is more than you’re likely to need. You can build blocks from scratch or highlight a section of arrangement and cut and paste it into a new block. The block is then available for sequencing.
As well as being a great way to lay out a track, Blocks is an amazing remixing tool. Any time you come up with a variation on a section of a remix, say that you want to repeat elsewhere, just turn it into a block and place it on the Blocks lane. And speaking of variations, when you look inside a block, the events within it appear faded out in the main arrangement, so you can instantly tell that you’re looking at a block but still easily see what’s going on inside it.
Whenever you want to override any part of the contents of a block (for example, to vary the drums a little between verse 1 and verse 2), simply record or manually place your replacement material in the block at the desired position. Reason will use this overlaid clip until it ends, at which point it will resume playing the faded block information that comes after. Finally, when you’re ready to commit to your arrangement, you can simply ‘explode’ the block data into the main sequencer.
Blocks is very much a creative tool, and it’s already completely revolutionised our Reason sequencing workflow. Comparisons are bound to be drawn with Ableton Live’s Session and Arrange pages, and Cubase’s Play Order Track, but that wouldn’t be particularly fair. This is the fastest and most creative new approach to sequencing that we’ve seen in a long time. It’s so intuitive and well thought out that there’s no DAW we’d now rather sequence a track in more than Reason 5 or Record 1.5, which has also acquired the Blocks system.