“It’s an AI co-pilot for drums”: This AI-powered plugin will improvise like a real drummer and generate beats for you in real-time

DAACI is inviting users to “shape the future of music AI tools” by testing the Natural Drums plugin and joining its Open Beta Community

DAACI is an industry-leading, Abbey Road-backed startup developing AI-powered tools for musicians, composers and producers. We spoke to the DAACI team last year about the generative ‘meta-composition’ software they’re developing that promises to “compose, arrange, orchestrate and produce music” using AI. 

While that’s still in development, this week DAACI has unveiled a new product and launched an Open Beta Community, inviting users to offer feedback and contribute to their development process. 

Natural Drums is an “assistive AI co-pilot” for generating drum grooves in real time. Dial in a drum pattern using its sequencer and the plugin will improvise on your rhythmic idea, creating variations and fills that can be tweaked using various controls. 

Natural Drums itself doesn’t generate any sound, but is instead a MIDI plugin that sends out MIDI data that can trigger drum machine plugins such as Ableton’s Drum Rack or be exported as MIDI clips. Starting with either a beat of your own creation, or one of the plugin’s preset styles, you’re able to generate constantly evolving rhythms and fills that subtly vary on each repetition – like a real drummer would do – by hitting Natural Drums’ Shuffle Every Loop button.

The sequencer holds three different patterns which can be structured into various arrangements using a drop-down box in the top right corner. Patterns can be increased in business and complexity using the dials found in the sequencer. At the bottom of the window you can edit the patterns Natural Drums is generating or mute and solo parts of the drum kit; here you’re also able to dial in swing and velocity humanisation or switch to half-time. 

Natural Drums’ beat-generating engine has been trained on the playing of expert drummers and draws on the expertise of real musicians. DAACI is keen to emphasize that it doesn’t create purely random beats or work from a database of pre-made patterns, but instead “thinks like a musician” and creates beats that are unique to the user.

“Natural Drums is a perfect start to the pulse of this beta community,” says DAACI CEO Rachel Lyske. “Over 30 years ago, at the start of my creative journey, the first thing I wrote was a simple drum beat. The challenge then was to express the complexity I was hearing in my head.”