Hot Sugar + Green Goo + Novation MiniNova
I’ve seen quite a few methods used to create music from hardware devices alone. Many of these methods are designed to sidestep the need for a DAW or some form of sequencer. The utility in this kind of setup is what makes it desirable, and when a computer can be eliminated from the hardware selection, it adds more time to be used for the creative and experiments processes instead. If there was one machine that could be used to do it all, it would have to be something like the Korg MicroKorg or the MiniNova by Novation. Both of these synth keyboards are capable of recording live voice, they are capable of creating rhythmic backings, and they are of course able to create tone using a scale of notes.
However, trying to arrange music within one piece of hardware can be a bit tricky on a modern device. Older drum machines and groove boxes were built as step sequencer which could handle music based on dividing up time intervals. With a keyboard synth, most of the actually melody will be to be created on the fly. There are ways to record and sequence audio, but where’s the fun in that?