Novation just released the Circuit Tracks, an update to its portable and affordable all-in-one electronic music production station. But, it also quietly snuck out the announcement of Circuit Rhythm, an almost identical looking groovebox built around sampling.
We don’t know a ton for sure about the Rhythm, but it seems to borrow a lot of inspiration from devices like Roland’s SP-404 and SP-303 that are favored by producers like late-greats J-Dilla and MF Doom, as well artists like Four Tet and Oneohtrix Point Never.
While the general layout is the same, the Rhythm replaces the Tracks synth engine with onboard sampling ability, sample chopping features, and effects like beat repeat and vinyl simulation. You can also resample from within the device for when you want to burn in your tweaks permanently.
The controls on the front show dedicated knobs for separate high and low pass filters (the tracks features a single switchable one) as well as a distortion effect. In short, it should be perfect for the sort of grungy lofi hip hop that YouTube insists is great to study or work to.
One slightly concerning thing, Rhythm may not be as well suited to being the brains of a larger studio or performance setup. There’s no labels on the front for dedicated external MIDI tracks, just eight numbered pads which, I assume means it’s an eight-track monophonic sampler.
The Circuit Rhythm is expected to hit shelves sometime this summer, but no price has been announced yet.