For me, actually making the beats I heard in my head was the hardest part when I got started with producing. Liquid Rhythm, a beat generator made by WaveDNA, makes building beats and adding variations and breaks very simple.

This is what Liquid Rhythm does in a nutshell:

  • Develop musical ideas by instantly inserting and swapping bar-long rhythm patterns.
  • Create beats fast by painting groups of notes directly onto the arranger.
  • Humanize the velocity and groove of multiple notes simultaneously based on their underlying colour patterns.
  • Generate musically-informed rhythm patterns from a customisable palette.
  • Create tom fills and multi-instrument percussion patterns.
  • Integrate Liquid Rhythm into your workflow as VST, AU or RTAS plugin or via Max for Live.

I've been mainly working with the Max for Live MIDI effect as it's really convenient and even faster than with the plug-in. With the Max for Live MIDI effect, you only have to select a MIDI clip in Live's Session View. If it already contains notes, those are reflected in Liquid Rhythms' arranger. Once you add notes in the arranger, they will be automatically added to the MIDI clip in the Session View. No need to record them, unless you want to create changes on the fly without duplicating the clip multiple times.

The installation is easy and quickly done. If you have Max for Live, you can find the Liquid Rhythm MIDI effect in the browser under Max for Live > Max MIDI Effect. Simply add it to the MIDI track for the beat plus a Drum Rack of your choice (it doesn't work with Impulse presets or other MIDI instruments). Otherwise add the plug-in to the MIDI track.

Liquid Rhythm in action

You can add different patterns of one bar lengths to the individual drum pads by clicking on the preferred one in the Beat Builder panel. The names of the drum slots are shown in the arranger. The note length and velocity are signified by colours, e.g. purple for eighth notes. You can quickly change the pattern, velocity and groove and even randomise everything. Liquid Rhythm even suggests which patterns might work best with the ones you already added. There's also a huge choice of grooves in all kinds of musical styles to be found in the Loop Library. All of the changes made in the arranger are immediately updated as MIDI notes in the selected MIDI clip.

One thing I noticed is that it only works in 4/4. All other time signatures are reinterpreted as 4/4, so that 5/4 would result in 5 bars of 4 beats instead of the other way around. Most music is in 4/4 anyway and I was told that WaveDNA are working on making other time signatures display correctly.

How to use it with Max for Live

Liquid Rhythm is great when you're just beginning to produce. You can quickly create interesting and varied beats without much prior knowledge. And it can be great tool to learn how different types of rhythms and grooves are created. And even if you're a seasoned producer, it can save you lots of time when adding variations, breaks or making broken and glitchy beats. I generally don't use any kind of generators, may that be for beats or harmony. That said, I now use Liquid Rhythm either when I'm feeling uninspired and lazy or simply to create different variations for an overall arrangement. It's a real time saver when I make glitchy beats and want certain sounds to pretty much never be exactly the same.

It comes in two flavours, Liquid Rhythm Intro ($49) and Liquid Rhythm ($129) which gives you the more advanced features as well.

More information as well a 30 day trial is available at WaveDNA