The T-1 is a realtime MIDI sequencer that could breathe new life into your synths and drum machines

If traditional step sequencers are leaving you creatively cold, Torso Electronics’ T-1 might be just what you need to put some heat back into your music-making. This is based on the Euclidean algorithm and is said to enable an “expressive and fluent workflow” and open up “a world of endless exploration and musical structures”.

More specifically, you can use it to create new melodies and harmonies, as an advanced arpeggiator, and as a performance instrument.

Unlike on other step sequencers, the workflow is non-linear - you have real-time control of every aspect of the composition. You can change rhythmic patterns, alter melodic movements and add random modulation with the twist of a knob (there are 18 encoders and 23 keypad buttons). Torso says that operation is similar to sculpting a sound on a synth.

The Euclidean algorithm works by distributing a determined number of pulses as evenly as possible across a determined number of steps in a rhythmic cycle. By changing the number of pulses and steps together with the rotation of the euclidean cycle, almost all traditional rhythms can be generated. You can also add or remove pulses on top of the Euclidean cycle as you would with a traditional step sequencer.

What’s more, modulating the pitch with different phrases and random sequences can generate complex melodic patterns. You can also lock notes to preset and user-customisable scales, add repeating notes and build arpeggiating patterns.

It’s pretty clear that the T-1 is built for experimentation; you can add randomisation to every parameter on each track, with gradual randomisation leading to constant variations. You can hook it up to any MIDI-compatible software or hardware instrument you like.

Further specs for the T-1 are as follows:

  • T-1 has 16 banks, with 16 patterns in each bank - a total of 256 patterns are always readily available
  • Each track contains up to 16 Euclidean cycles of 16 steps - meaning a total of 256 steps per track. T-1 also allows for step by step editing of the pattern
  • T-1 offers a total of 16 tracks with up to 24 note polyphony on each track. Each track can be assigned to one of 16 MIDI channels, connecting to hardware or software devices via USB or the MIDI ports

Other eye-catching features include Ableton Link over WiFi and the option to use the T-1 as a hands-on MIDI effect processor. The T-1 has just landed on Kickstarter and has proved to be an immediate hit, more than doubling its funding target in the space of a couple of hours.

A pledge of £418 will get you a T-1, with delivery estimated to be in December 2020. 

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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