Hi folks,

A prior thread I posted has evolved into a discussion of modular control schemes and DAW equivalents. I'm starting a new thread here to split the discussion so its easier to add / search etc.

This discussion builds off three recent threads, if interested see:
-- https://www.modulargrid.net/e/forum/posts/index/9673 which is a question about rack design which morphs into a discussion of generative issues, designs, techniques, etc.
-- https://www.modulargrid.net/e/forum/posts/index/9885 which is Lugia's deep dive on generative technique history and key concepts
-- https://www.modulargrid.net/e/forum/posts/index/9516 which includes a bunch of related info, especially Farkas's posted video on Generative, and Lugia's larger proposed rack build with comments

NOW to respond to @AudioResearch's question (from thread 9673): "What are some M4L devices you'd recommend??" to do generative-like control in Live.

My current response to this is:

-- I own Live 11 full version, recently installed, and just finished an audit of all included devices that might be good for layered / nested control schemes, approaching a generative approach in the DAW (Live). I have not cracked the code on this, but do feel there's some good progress, which I'll share.

-- I count well over 40 devices in the full version of Live that could be useful for this. They are in the folders Audio Effects, Max Audio Effects and Max Midi Effects. I find Live's MIDI effects not so useful. Of the 40+ devices I ID'd that do seem useful, these include a lot of "usual suspects" of LFOs, envelope generators, sequencers, etc. In general, these "map" in Live to 1 or more parameter to be controlled. Pretty simple on the face of it. BUT since Live allows for drawing in automation and modulation curves on a clip by clip basis, it's not clear to me what if any actual advantage control devices present vs. arbitrarily definable automation / modulation lanes.

-- IMO the more important question in Live is "what are the ROUTINGS / MAPPINGS that enable complex or hierarchical or generative control schemes?" THIS I think is the critical question, and the answers / techniques applicable in Live may be different than the best answers / techniques in Bitwig, Cubase or Logic, for example. I work most in Live, and am frustrated a bit by its less obviously flexible / powerful routing scheme (compared to Bitwig). BUT what I do think is one important component is to work with Instrument Racks and/or Effect Racks. Setting up a macro and pointing it to the "chain" control in a rack with more than one device chain allows for very interesting control / automation over active devices (e.g. allowing for easy or automated activation / deactivation).

-- in the earlier thread, @Lugia said "Live works admirably here, as long as it's the FULL version with Max for Live. That one addition unlocks a lot of the hidden power under Ableton's hood, and since you can define LOTS of possible operations/routings/etc via Max, it's sort of a unique situation. But it's VERY easy to set up all sorts of "sneaky" send/return signal paths with M4L objects. With that, I can set up lots of actions that are basically nonrepeating, yet which follow clear musical patterns as a work plays." Note that this is more a comment about routings and pathways than it is about specific devices. I do not have great ideas of how to do this in Live; my best current suggestion is "dig in, create some hierarchical control schemes in Live, and see what happens." In Bitwig I feel I have more success with this as its easier to send MIDI from anywhere to anywhere; still most of my work is in Live so I'm looking for good solutions there too.

SOOOO... let me invite anyone who's interested to jump in here with additional suggestions / questions / etc. I TOTALLY want to up my game on generative / hierarchical control schemes both in modular and in DAWS so I'm happy to listen to and trade ideas with anybody else who finds this interesting.

What I would LOVE to develop good command of are answers to the following points:

  1. what are good "recipe" or "archetype" generative and/or hierarchical control schemes to use in a modular format? These could be thought of as "building blocks" that could be used alone or in conjunction with one another. These would be "core curriculum" for generative patching; I would be surprised if there hasn't been a university class or book written on this, but I haven't found anything deep on this yet. Of course, one of our friendly forum experts Lugia has given many examples of this type of patching (see threads noted above).

  2. what are specific DAW (esp. Live) devices, routings & setups that parallel (#1 above) the "recipe" or "archetype" generative and/or hierarchical control schemes to use in a modular format? We've scratched the surface on that point above, BUT at least for me, there remains a long way to go before my capabilities catch up to my imagination on this. In particular I want to be able to:

2a. do one to many, many to one, and several to many control routings in Live. The example would be have 3 LFOs running with different rates and shapes, and those feeding several tracks / devices.

2b. sequence nearly EVERYTHING. For example, have 5 separate midi tracks all with sequence information, running say an ABAC structural pattern but at different rates. Then feed that information to pitch, rhythm, duration, filter cutoff and timbre controls, on a differential basis, to multiple instruments, for example covering the bass, tenor, alto, soprano ranges. That would be a "several to several" routing scheme, where the sequences are in-DAW equivalents to CV signal in a modular AND these sequencer lanes plus any down-chain control devices essentially drive 90%+ of the composition's score. What IS awesome and gets me part of the way on this front is Kameleono (https://www.midimood.com/product/kameleono/), the most useful MIDI tool I know of, and a good value at $49 if you don't already have it! Kameleono plus some thoughtful routing lets me control at least pitch and rhythm independently.

3a. what is the hybrid setup (e.g. modular + DAW) that will allow creating a generative / hierarchical control system in modular and interface that well with the DAW and vice versa? Is only a sufficiently big Expert Sleepers module required for doing this?

Wrapping up this extreme TLDR post -- anyone who would like to add some constructive questions, pointers, tips, references, etc. please feel free to pile on below.