Use a side chain to gate an effect like a step sequencer! Distortion effects like iZotope Trash 2 have a side chain and a gate. You can set up a separate track with a rhythm to gate the distortion as if it were a step sequencer.
Here’s one for your idea bin: use a side chain to gate distortion on your piano!
Step 0: write some notes
Step 1: add some effect with a side chain, like iZotope Trash
Step 2: write a side chain part with a click/transient sound
Step 3: side chain the click to the effect
Step 999: Tweak!