I just joined the forum, actually because this topic is exactly what I'm trying to figure out myself at the moment. I like to incorporate recent sounds and production techniques, but without depending on clicks, seqs or arps. (Well, maybe arps..)
Looking at hardware, there actually is a sidechain pedal. I don't know much about it. A friend uses it in a live techno band to lock his kick to the synth or synth bass (either ducking it or opening the synth signal when he plays the kick).
Here's the pedal:
https://www.raingerfx.com/product/deep- ... dechainer/
Some thoughts I had myself about such an undertaking:
The more I dive into EDM and the gadgets used there, I recognise that in general tracks are just being played back (as in: press 'start'..) and the performance aspect is the manipulation of those tracks. Most of those effects are dynamic, changing through time, morphing from one into the other. As soon as two or more aspect of a sound are manipulated independently, it gets interesting. (Having just one LFO in charge of an effect is less interesting because to me it's predictable.)
As a musician, I am already tied up in creating those tracks (playing keys etc). So creating the sounds AND manipulating them at the same time is quite tricky.
I'm a keyboarder. At the moment, I rely on effect units with expression pedals. I find Meris pedals excellent as you can move every single knob at the same time with just one pedal. Even better, you can decide the positions of the knob for the pedal's minimum and maximum position and turn the expression pedal into a wild ride through many parameter, even inverse them. You cannot even do this with your hands.
I haven't really gotten into connecting signals or modulation sources. One step at a time..