After spending 8 years using Ableton Live, moving through versions 8 to 10, I needed a new way to make music. The linear left to right timeline lends itself to certain styles of electronic productions, especially once you find a style that is your own or have certain go to sounds and methods. In the past 12 months in particular I’ve found this linear left to right way of working in all DAWs (not just Ableton is guilty of this) to become a little stale and lacking the fun it used to have. It’s always good in life to try new things, and break away from the norm, and I needed to apply that to my music creation process.
However, the current world of modern music production doesn’t supply much in the way of new options, not as wide range as there should be. One option that I considered was to go completely ‘DAW-less’, working only with physical synths, drum machines, effect pedals etc. However, this presents its own issues. The two main ones being space, which I don’t have a lot of in my studio, and money. Going fully hardware in electronic music is expensive. Even when buying cheap, it adds up quick. I also know myself too well, one synth won’t be enough. I’m at plague with the same habits guitar players have, being a guitar player myself, one guitar is never enough.
So one day, I’m watching video after video on the Loop-op YouTube channel. The Coronavirus lockdown in the UK had just begun and I had found myself with a lot more time on my hands. One of the videos on my Loop-op binge was about the then recently announced Polyend Tracker. I watched the video, and instantly I knew I needed to own this device. It was everything that I had been searching for. A new workflow, a new method of creating music, and in a portable box that I can take wherever I go. In all fairness, this was not on my list of priorities when thinking about new ways to make music, but it definitely was a bonus.
To be truly honest, trackers were something I was aware of but had never crossed my mind as new avenue to explore. I mostly had knowledge of them as being used in the days of hardcore and jungle, genres of music I hold quite closely to me. I had never used a tracker myself, and had still not used a tracker until my Polyend Tracker unit arrived in late October of this year. When I ordered my Tracker, there was a very real possibility that the workflow be not for me at all, turning into a complete waste of £500 and a device to sell on.
However, when it arrived, and I began to play with it, the workflow never felt so right. The ease of chopping breaks, the smoothness of sample manipulation and the playfulness of the arrangement opportunities made making music refreshing and fun again. The sample manipulation for me was key. I’m not a massive sample user in my day to day music making, and I liked to record and synthesis as much as I can. The Tracker is at heart a sampler, so to explore sampling as a music creation method in depth for the first time was liberating and caused very little stress.
I really recommend the Tracker to anyone who wants to try something new, and to break their own moulds and patterns in making music.
Below I will leave two video clips of two jungle tunes I have made on the tracker, and will update this site with a new post whenever I release a new video: