Twisted Electrons BlastBeats, new 10-voice hands-on FM groovebox pairs raw, dirty synth and drum engines with nifty sequencing in a portable device.
Oh, it’s December 12th (12/12) 2021. Not only a funny date but also the day when the French developers of Twisted Electrons show something new. Twisted Electrons is known for their utterly unique instrument design language. Combining retro, dirty sound concepts with modern interface design.
With its new product BlastBeats, too, Twisted Electrons is continuing its very own path. Again very special and with a lot of beautiful dirt and character.
Twisted Electrons BlastBeats
BlastBeats is a 10 voice groovebox offering 6 drum voices and 4 synth instruments. Also with its new product, Twisted Electrons unique product design approach continuous. The unit is powered by the vintage Yamaha YMF-262 FM chip also known as the OPL3 chip. A chip that could be found in computer sound cards of the early 90s. You are right, we dive again into the deep worlds of dirty, 8-bit sounds, as we know it from the French developers of TE.
BlastBeats consists of 6 drum drums including bass drum, snare drum, tom, closed & open hat as well as cymbal. As in the megaFM Synthesizer, Twisted Electrons gives the users tons of hands-on control. They are split in three sections: the first two give you full tweaking options over the bass drum carrier & modulator, the third over the snare and the last over all other sounds. No samples but raw, vintage FM synthesis.
Then, you also have 4 dedicated synth tracks with two monophonic voices (2x2op or 1x4op) & two duo-phonic (4x2op or 2x4op) voices. Each track can be edited with different parameters. These are almost identical for each section incl. vol, wave (8 waves in total), feedback, tune, algorithm (5 in total), multi, and an attack/decay envelope. Except for tracks 2 and 4, feedback and tune are exchanged by tremolo and vibrato. The sounds can be saved in up to 100 kits.
Nice, you can also the engine as a 4-operator 8-waveform poly-timbral dirty FM Synthesizer using an external MIDI keyboard.
Sequencer With Wild Features
Twisted Electrons’ new groovebox also has a sequencer engine built-in. You get a 64-step sequencer per voice (10 in total) with the option to create up to 16 patterns in total. They can have any step length (up to 64) and thus open the door to polyrhythmic grooves. You can also turn the patterns into complete songs with an option to save them on a SD card (160 songs in total).
The sequencer has a lot of fun, nifty features built in with which you can create very versatile melodies and beats. Starting with probability that is available per instrument making every sequence much more interesting and richer. Then, each of the 56 faders offers step automation and modulation capabilities. We are on a wild trip but we’re just at the beginning.
Swing is also onboard as well as a unique fader wiggling functionality. It gives you the option to add a randomiser with adjustable depth on every step. That sounds like a little crazy feature. I think you can achieve wild results with just a little random on the steps.
Plus, you get three additional modifiers aka tricks including spin down (pitch bend), freeze, and stutter. Also available as parameter automation. And there is also an inspiration generator in form of a kit and pattern randomizer.
Operation & Connectivity
Friends of hands-on control will love this device. It gives you full control over the synth as well as drum engines. And all with very little menu diving. 64 sliders are available for the engines with which one can edit values directly and without detour. The sequencer is operated with classic, illuminated buttons known from vintage drum machines.
The new Twisted Electrons groovebox also offers a lot when it comes to connections: you get quad mono audio outputs with custom instrument routings, a mix and headphone outs with dedicated volume controls, as well as full MIDI on DIN5 sockets and USB. There is also an analog sync in and out on 3.5mm for connecting the unit to external gear.
The BlastBeats looks like a very exciting, very unique groove box. Like the megaFM, this release is again refreshingly different. A very tempting groovebox for friends of creaky, dirty 8-bit sounds.
Twisted Electrons BlastBeats is available for pre-order for 599€. Shipping starts in February 2022.
More information here: Twisted Electrons