If you've ever been faced with the empty piano roll of despair, then you need Riffer. If you've been unable to nail that bassline, you need Riffer. If you just want to feed some melody into a synth, then you need Riffer. Riffer will pull you back from the creative brink; it will enliven your bottom end; it will pull melodies out of the ether and step-sequence a smile across your face. It's all the things we like about hardware and modular-style step-sequencing pulled into your DAW or iPhone and offered up with a roll of a dice.
Riffer is a randomising MIDI melody generator plug-in from AudioModern and is available as a VST/VST3/AU & AAX plug-in for Mac OS and Windows and as an iOS app. Click the die and it generates a new monophonic melody line (or riff) every time — and every one's a winner. It uses a piano-roll style interface in the centre of the GUI with options and parameters set around it. Riffer will scatter notes across whatever part of the piano roll is in view. The range can be set from one to 10 octaves and two to 64 steps. You can choose how many notes will be generated in your defined space and set the length of the loop.
The notes themselves are randomised in pitch, duration (gate length) and volume (velocity). You can confine the pitch to one of 54 scales, define the key and swap and switch as you go. Pitch, duration and volume can all be edited individually and overridden. They can be locked to prevent them from taking part in the next roll of the die, so you can find new rhythms and emphasis while keeping the melody. Notes can be tied or sustained, and you can roll the sequence forwards, backwards or in a ping-pong style.
Humanisation can be found in the Shuffle setting, which goes very quickly from a gentle lilt into deep grooves and then into almost doubling up notes. And in the Shift function that pushes the notes off the grid for a less quantised feel.
Riffer will pull you back from the creative brink; it will enliven your bottom end; it will pull melodies out of the ether and step-sequence a smile across your face.
You don't have to rely on Riffer generating the patterns; you can write your own notes, choose your own durations and rein in the velocity. But why would you do that when there's a far more exciting, entrancing and music enhancing riff waiting for you under another click of that die? And when you're happy with your pattern you can save it as a preset or drag the MIDI data into your DAW.
Riffer is instant musical happiness; it's the Dairy Milk of melody, the cold beer of basslines. Route it to some drum samples and it becomes the rump steak of rhythms. You can use it to help you sculpt sounds on synths, or pull a melody or rhythm out of nowhere, or find a tune that feels fabulous within the parameters of your music. It even has an infinity button that will make it generate a new pattern on every loop. Set it to a slow quantisation and with a gently plucked sound with a nice long delay, you have an ambient set that could last forever.
Mac OS/Windows plug-in £39, iOS app £6.99.
Mac OS/Windows plug-in $49, iOS app $6.99.