“A novel and powerful new take on drum generation”: Forever 89 Visco review

This drum machine from former Ableton and Teenage Engineering developers uses a distinctive resynthesis ‘blob’. We investigate

  • £117
  • €139
  • $139
Forever 89 Visco
(Image: © Future)

MusicRadar Verdict

A novel and powerful new take on drum generation, Visco sounds thoroughly modern and dynamic, and is well worth exploring.


  • +

    Natural and dynamic sound.

  • +

    Great for pushing sampled drum sounds to unique extremes.

  • +

    Good selection of modulation and sequencing tools.


  • -

    ‘Blob’ edit tools aren’t as effective as the more straightforward parameter options.

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Forever 89 Visco: What is it?

At a glance

KEY FEATURES: Drum machine plugin using ‘sample modelling’ engine.  FORMATS: PC/Mac, AU/VST3. BUY: Plugin Boutique 

At core, Visco is based around a fairly standard drum machine setup – it has eight tracks, which use samples as their primary source, accompanied by a grid-based sequencer, mixer window and effects. Beyond this level, however, Visco is doing some very interesting things. Rather than simply playing back the samples themselves, the plugin uses a method its developer calls ‘sample modelling’ to resynthesise each sound so that it can be manipulated and modulated.

This process is visualised by something Forever 89 calls ‘the blob’; a dynamic two-dimensional shape that represents each sound across time and frequency axes. This blob can be shaped using some visual-style manipulation tools, which let users drag, attract, repel and flip its shape. Each sound has two layers too – essentially two separate sample models, each with its own distinct ‘blob’, which can be blended using a crossfader.

Forever 89 Visco: Performance and verdict

Forever 89 Visco

(Image credit: Forever 89)

Despite the aesthetic appeal they add to the design, these ‘blob’ manipulation tools are the least interesting part of Visco’s workflow. More effective are the more traditional sound controls to the right. Here, each sample model can be radically manipulated, stretching duration and frequency content, as well as adjusting contrast of tonal or noise elements. Randomisation can also be applied to noise elements and you can apply precise control over dynamics and velocity.

Equally interesting are a collection of global macros along the bottom of the UI. These can be used to alter the balance between samples, the length, frequency, contrast and noise density of all sounds simultaneously. These elements are all best combined with Visco’s powerful modulation section, which offers multiple envelopes and customisable LFOs that can be routed to individual sound parameters or the macros to create truly dynamic and evolving sounds.

Forever 89 Visco

(Image credit: Forever 89)

While simple, the sequencer is nicely effective too, making it easy to adjust the velocity and length of each trigger. A randomisation tool is a nice touch too, great for inspiring new patterns and rhythms.

These tools make Visco a really interesting, effective drum machine. Its emphasis on dynamics and variation make for genuinely natural-sounding patterns with acoustic drum sounds. It’s best when pushed to unnatural extremes though – try loading wildly disparate samples into each track’s two sample slots, push the frequency and time controls to their limits and set up some modulation, and you’ll soon find yourself creating brilliantly odd and creative sounds you’re unlikely to generate anywhere else. 

MusicRadar verdict: A novel and powerful new take on drum generation, Visco sounds thoroughly modern and dynamic, and is well worth exploring.

Forever 89 Visco: The web says

"I really can’t think of anything negative to say about Forever 89 Visco. It’s simply a whole lot of fun. I came up with several great ideas for new grooves in no time – either by using the randomizer, or by manually shaping the “blob”."

Forever 89 Visco: Hands-on demos

Forever 89


Peter Kirn

Polarity Music

Forever 89 Visco: Specifications

  • KEY FEATURES: Drum machine plugin using ‘sample modelling’ engine. 
  • CONTACT: Forever 89
Si Truss

I'm Editor-in-Chief of Music Technology, working with Future Music, Computer Music, Electronic Musician and MusicRadar. I've been messing around with music tech in various forms for over two decades. I've also spent the last 10 years forgetting how to play guitar. Find me in the chillout room at raves complaining that it's past my bedtime.