To be honest, the Bassline Generator is something of a favorite Player of mine. Both because we managed to build something cool based on a fairly simple hypothesis (that breaking down and recombining basslines can make new, equally good basslines) and because it’s so much fun!
However, it’s been out for almost a year now, and by now you can occasionally start to recognize certain BLG lines. They are after all based on a finite number of built-in onbeat and offbeat patterns, and combining and modulating these can only create so much diversity. More variation was needed!
The first thing we did was add more source basslines. These were created during the summertime, and you just have to close your eyes and listen to one of these funky, sweaty basslines to feel the legendary Swedish Summer Heat… or maybe it was the rain that kept us in the studio instead of at the beach, I don’t remember. Anyway, we added an extra Bank B of source basslines and took the opportunity to add some stuff that we felt the original BLG was missing: basslines with longer notes, lines that don’t start on the first downbeat and lines with more tonal variety.
Just having these extra basslines (with independent Bank selection for onbeat and offbeat) quadruples the number of possible results, but we wanted more. The Variators are basically LFOs that modulate the onbeat or offbeat selection during the course of the bass pattern. In BLG 1.1.0 we increased the number of Variator shapes from 6 to 18. The new options include shapes that change the bassline at the beginning of the cycle, something that several users requested.
Then we added the Shift feature. The Bassline Generator was designed with a certain process in mind: you dial in something (or use the excellent Randomize feature), then listen to the result, tweak the parameters, then listen again, maybe do some manual editing, listen again and so on until you’re happy. But quite often a bassline that was great when you listened to the BLG alone sounded completely different when played together with the drums or a click. The downbeat wasn’t really where you thought it was.
Previously, the only way around this was to send the bassline to track and manually move the notes, but now you can just change the Shift setting to move the notes to the left or to the right in the display.
Shift is not only a way to correct your patterns though, trying out different Shift settings is also another great way to get brand new basslines! And for the daring, we added a CV input for changing Shift in real time during playback. This can create very unexpected results, especially if you’re modulating Shift with an LFO that runs at a different rate than the BLG itself. And it looks fantastic too!
Finally we added some workflow improvements making it easier to manually draw and edit notes, and a way to transpose the basslines via CV (especially good combined with the Root Note CV output on the Chord Sequencer).
At that point we felt had a new Bassline Generator that felt fresh, inspiring and even more fun than the original. We’re really happy to bring you this update, and hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!
PS During development, we did a few bass patches that work extra well with BLG. If you want to check them out, you’ll find them here!