Dillon Bastan Divisions, creative M4L bouncing ball paint MIDI note generator

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Dillon Bastan Divisions is a new creative bouncing ball paint MIDI note generator for Ableton Live Max For Live. 

In my opinion, Max for Live continues to be a very underrated tool among Ableton Live users. Many prefer to buy VST plugins to explore new sounds, although the M4L user library offers great creative tools that often cost nothing. You need just an M4 license.

One of the scene’s stars is Dillon Bastan, who has released many fascinating M4L devices in recent years. For little money but with great fun for sound explorers. His latest development is a MIDI device that generates notes and melodies from balls bouncing again walls.

Dillon Bastan Divisions

Dillon Bastan Divisions

Divisions is a Max For Live MIDI note generator based on bouncing balls. The concept is not brand new. Korg had a similar idea in the modwave Synthesizr with the Kaoss Physics where you can work with bouncing balls on the X and Y level. Since the technique was used primarily to modulate parameters. Divisions are about notes and melodies.

Once loaded, a UI of the M4L device opens. Attention, it is not a VST plugin. Inside the device, you can use various drawing tools to draw walls from which balls can bounce.  Reminds a bit of the Atari Pong, where balls also hit a wall and create this iconic “pong” sound.

The tool allows you to draw freely, even a cat face. You can also use functions to create ellipse, rectangle, and triangle shapes with the option to rotate them and change the arc. A sine wave draw tool with frequency options is also included. With the eraser and clear-drawn tools, you can remove parts of a wall, making them more complex.

Dillon Bastan Divisions

All About Bouncing Balls

If the walls are ready, you can place up to 32 emitters inside the figures, each with independent settings. The aim of these is to launch balls, and these are hitting them against the walls resulting in an individual note or melody generation. This process can be customized down to the last detail, which is very exciting. Including

  • XY Position and angle of launching balls
  • force to launch
  • friction for the balls (slows them over time)
  • chance of skipping ball launch triggering
  • work with various pitch scale and tonic options
  • modulation sources and bipolar amounts for the MIDI note pitch, velocity, and duration
  • modulation options include: Ball position (X and Y), distance from the center, speed, angle, index of total balls, random spray, number of hits left
  • and more…

Dillon Bastan also added various methods for triggering emitters to launch a ball at the Divisions, simulation speed, and other options. Features like the ability to loop the emitter parameter automation give you the possibility to create super complex MIDI note generators.

Further, it also offers an auxiliary device, “Divisions Listener” that sends MIDI notes from different emitters in one device instance to separate tracks in Ableton. So you can control various instruments from a single device

Divisions can be your sequencer, arpeggiator, melody/counter point/chord generator, note delay, and much more. I can imagine it as a very exciting tool to build unconventional sequences or organic melody structures that are impossible with a classic sequencer.


First Impression

An exciting M4L tool that brings a fresh touch to the sequencer world. I love the idea of designing forms and placing the emitters in them. So you can experiment with what kind of melodies the balls generate etc. All in all, another fascinating M4L release from Dillon Bastan.

Dillon Bastan Divisions is available now for $23. It runs in Ableton Live 10+ Standard + a license of M4L or Ableton Live 10+ Suite.

More information here: Dillon Bastan

Max For Live, Reaktor 6… News

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