The Malekko Varigate 8+ is a fantastic tool for creating complex rhythms and melodic sequences in a eurorack modular synth system. The module can also create morphing, generative patterns, based on external gates, or even using it’s own gate outputs including the end of sequence gate source.
With eight independent 16-step gate channels, the Varigate 8+ is designed to make it easy to sequence and perform multiple patterns from one source. One function that aids in generating morphing and random sequences is the random gate mode, which when enabled, will create random sequences based on a user defined probability amount. When combined with the end of sequence gate output built into the panel, the module can trigger itself to create generative patterns at the beginning of every bar.
Random gate mode can be enabled by holding the bank button and pressing the probability button, which should cause both to flash. In this mode, any gate sent to the RND input will cause the patterns to randomize or morph. While flashing, the module will wait for one of the 10 channel buttons along the bottom of the module to be pressed, setting the probability of pattern randomization. By selecting gate 1, random gate mode will only randomize patterns slightly. Ascending up the channel buttons, we increase the likelihood of randomization up to the CV 2 button, which sets the highest possible probability of randomization. (I’m not sure that it is actually 100% probability, so I hesitate to suggest that.)
Combining this function with any gate source can be enjoyable, but patching out from the end of sequence gate output back into the random gate input can yield some fun results. The end of sequence gate output sends a gate (you guessed it…) at the end of the sequence/beginning of the looping pattern. Outputs 1 thorugh 4 generate alternative drum maps, pre-programmed drum sequences mapping kick drum patterns to gate channel 1, snares to gate 2, closed hihats to gate 3 and open hihats to gate 4. Outs 5 through 8 output completely random patterns, by contrast.
I like starting from an empty preset, and letting the Varigate 8+ start creating random, generative patterns from thin air. When I find one I like, I can enter mute mode by hitting the mute button, then switch into random gate disable mode by hitting the save button while the mute key is flashing. Again, using the channel buttons below, I can disable certain channels from randomizing, locking them in when an interesting pattern is revealed.
Have some secrets to creating generative sequences and patterns? Share them with us in the comments!