Creating strange polyrhythms with Metropolix

I’ve recently been messing around with Metropolix and using odd lengths to build some nice polyrhythms.

I stumbled upon this Nils Frahm track which has this great simple polyrhythmic bassline (i think)
I’m sure with the right combination of odd numbered pattern lengths and clock divisions something like this is possible.
But was wondering if anyone knows a surefire way to get there.

the track is here and the part I’m talking about comes in at 2:57.

Can anyone with a bit more knowledge shed any light on how to recreate the rhythm of bassline here?

Not trying to copy it as such, just thought recreating would be a good way to learn how to achieve rhythms similar in metropolix.


I listened to that section. It sounded like dotted rhythms and asymmetric phrasing to me, not polyrhythms. The way the 1/4 note hi-hat and 1/8 delay line up with the downbeats of the phrase suggested that, to my ears. The phrasing in particular sounds like: 4/4, 2/4, 3/4, 3/4. You can achieve that with Metropolix in probably more than one way.

I tested this and got a similar result you can try out. It relies on using 1 ModLane to control the length of a Track 1’s _Pulses Len_ Parameter.

  1. Init the Preset
  2. Set each Pulse Count to 1 (*)
  3. Set Trk 1 Stages to 4, Pulses to Auto
  4. Set ModLane 1 to control _Pulses Len_
  5. Set ModLane 1 Stages to 8, Pulses to Auto
  6. Set ModLane Clock Div to /4
  7. Activate every stage of ModLane 1 and set each adjacent pair to the length of the bar you want. To match the phrasing above I did:


Setting Pulses to 12 or 24 and playing around with rhythmic parameters (like _Skip Invert_) or even Loopy can probably get similar results. I just started with the closest, literal interpretation of that bar phrasing I could think of. Usually Metropolix is more fluid than that and often drags me kicking and screaming out of some pre-determined structure into interesting territory.

(*) If I increase the pulse count of a stage beyond 1, I start getting extra bars of 4/4. I think this has to do with the clock div and length phasing between the ModLane and Track 1. With only power of 2 clock divisions and 8 stages I think some combinations using this technique probably require more ModLanes or ModLanes modding ModLanes (which isn’t a thing as of today.)


This is an incredible answer. Thank you. I’ll give this a try later on!