Rhythmiq is a software instrument, that samples, splits and re-grooves loops using Artificial intelligence to create dynamic movement that makes sense to the flow of standard western music.
Rhythmiq takes some of the foundational algorithms and techniques learned from previous software (see our Regroover Pro review), and applies it to this instrument to great effect.
Rhythmiq is a single-window GUI, with a drag and drop interface to drop in the loop audio file or files you want to work with. You can drag one loop file in, and the plugin gives you the choice of importing the file as a single whole file, or it can intelligently split the audio into 3 separate stems, with an incredible amount of success to my ears. It generally splits the kick, snare and percussion/overheads or that realm of different timbres, and does it really well. If you wish you can also import 3 separate audio loops and have them in separate channels.
From there, the fun begins. The AI detects the tempo and matches to the host DAW tempo. To get the best out of Rhythmiq, you need to lock it into a midi controller, which is easy to do with the midi learn button. Once you’ve got some midi control established, you can choose how much direct control you would like to have with shifting the loop audio. You can entirely control the manipulation, using midi notes to control up to 16 split sections of the loop audio. Holding a chord down, for example, will cause the plugin to arpeggiate between the notes that are held down, playing each split in time.
The real beauty of Rhythmiq for me is, however, the AI assistance you get in evolving your beats. You can set to taste, and the rhythms change consistently, and as dramatically or as subtle as you’d like. The main knob in the middle of the GUI is the daddy of the AI section. Called IQ Arrange, turning the knob clockwise enables the algorithm to start tastefully shifting the sections of the loop around. It’s not entirely random – it does it in a way that fits well with western rhythms, creating subtle fills and extra ghost style beats in places that make more sense. If you have it just slightly turned clockwise, the movement is very subtle. If you crank it all the way around, the only recognisable element of the loop is the timbre. The rest is totally different.
To the left and right of that button are Intelligent Evolve, and intelligent reverse buttons, that follow the same pattern as the IQ knob, adding some reverse slices in, or slowly evolving the patterns that appear from the loop.
You can choose how many of the stems to link these intelligent algorithms to, so if you wanted a steady kick pattern, but wanted the other two channels to shift and change, then you can just turn the kick stem IQ off, and it will remain steady. You can also decide how much each of the algorithms will affect each stem. So if you want more reverse effect on the hi-hat stem, and more evolution on the snare stem, you can adjust each stem manually so the change is reflected how you want it.
You can choose the size of the audio slices for each stem, from 1/4 to 1/16 notes. This can greatly affect the style of effect you get when you Use Rhythmiq – from a more jittery glitchy jumpy vibe, to slower almost more human-sounding changes, as the slices get bigger. There’s also a cool (midi controllable) freeze button, that temporarily holds the sample on the slice you’ve chosen until it’s released. Great for emphasising a glitchy style fill. There’s also the possibility to add silence into the loop, which can be added in a musically meaningful way to add more interest to the loop.
Once you’ve got something to a place you like, you can save it as a project in the side preset window. It will recall everything you’ve done next time you load up even in a different project. To get you started there are some really cool preset projects already loaded into the software so you can get a good idea of the capabilities of the plugin.
This is definitely an inspiration tool. It’s something I would consider useful both live and in the studio, as you can set and forget essentially, if you’re concentrating on other elements, and the rhythm will never get staid. Or you can exercise a little more control and go a little deeper with each stem. The only element I think they’re missing really is the ability to multi-out, so you can post-process each stem separately if you wish. I think you’d find Rhythmiq useful for any style of music really, but I think it comes into its own with more glitchy electronica, or drum and bass; stuff where constant shifts in the rhythmic pattern are important to maintaining listener interest.
Accusonus have done plenty of work on rhythmic patterning (see our Regroover review), and they have a strong foundation to build on. This really is the next step, as it’s easier to use than Regroover, but is still incredibly deep and rewarding in use. Highly recommended.
For more info and to buy the plugin click here. Rhythmiq costs $149.
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About The Author
Composer/Producer, and keyboard player. He has written and recorded soundtracks for a wide variety of media and co-owns DOsounds.com with Jake Owen, a music production company that gives him an excuse to buy more analog gear.