Ableton’s FlexGroove adds controlled chaos to your MIDI patterns

Classically-trained composer, Martin von Frantzius was the mastermind behind the Pack

Ableton has just released a brand new Max for Live device, FlexGroove. The MIDI manipulation tool was developed by Martin von Frantzius to aid his desire to experiment with microtiming, polyrhythms and tempo shifting. Ableton says this Pack is “ideal for music makers who are looking to discover new rhythmic possibilities, experiment with elastic timing, or simply create more expressive and humanized MIDI patterns”.

FlexGroove takes your MIDI sequences off-the-grid, allowing you to speed up and slow down the timing of your clips and play around with unconventional swing patterns. This can be anything from a slight nudge to extreme fluctuations of time, which is adjustable with an ‘amount’ slider. FlexGroove is also compatible with Push so you can adjust parameters comfortably with Ableton’s flagship instrument.

Six timing modes are included to generate wonky MIDI patterns, with 35 presets available, along with 59 pattern presets. The modes are:

  • Free time – manipulate timing using breakpoints
  • Acceleration – gradually increase your pattern’s tempo
  • Deceleration – gradually slow your pattern down
  • Sine/half-sine – speed up and slow down timing along a curve
  • Ratio – transition your MIDI sequence from one time signature to another
  • Swing engine – give your tracks offbeat swagger
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The pattern page features two step sequencers which allow you to alter velocity, and probability, where you can choose to gamble your notes or keep them under control. Once you’ve created your mutated MIDI sequence, you can export it as a MIDI clip within Live instantly, so you can layer up your sounds and arrange them as you like.

Altogether, there’s a total of 2065 combinations of timing, velocity and probability to get stuck into.

FlexGroove is available now for £29 at ableton.com

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