Yesterday after work I went to the KOMA Elektronik Event at Control. For those who don’t know Control is at Eurorack modular synthesizer store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn owned by Daren Ho and Jonas Asher. KOMA Elektronik make modules and advanced pedals. They are Dutch and Austrian and the company is based in Berlin. I was pretty tired from working all day but really enjoy the get togethers at the store so I forced myself over there. After a large coffee, a couple of beers and some synth tweaking the conversation and fun started. KOMA didn’t have any new modules to show but they said they do have some in the works. Control is starting to get a lot of cool used stuff and I spent a few minutes checking out a weird vintage mixer with a built in drum machine. I also played with the Volcas for the first time and discovered they are really nice in person. I couldn’t resist buying something so I picked up an Intellijel Planar. I mean it’s a joystick so I have to one. After exploring some modules there are three I now have to add to my must have list: Modcan Quad LFO, Qu-Bit Electronix Nebulae and an Intellijel Rubicon. I really enjoy watching other people patch and create music on the large systems. I always get some ideas and also realize there are things I can do that I didn’t know I could. Nullsleep (Jeremiah Johnson) and others created some interesting loops worth watching. Be sure to come out to one of these events if you can it’s a lot of fun if you’re into synths! To see the full set of photos: click here
“On January 16th 2014 KOMA Elektronik will come to the Big Apple to host an event together with our buddies from Control Synthesizers and Electronic Devices! From 6PM till 8PM we will be at Control to answer all your questions that you might have about our machines, special techniques and upcoming designs. We will show our new machines and will have a few drinks to start the new year in a great fashion.” – koma-elektronik.com
For more info: koma-elektronik.com and ctrl-mod.com
I used to get both Keyboard and Electronic Musician magazines in the mail each month. My iPad and the internet has replaced those days but I am glad to see the mags still live on. Electronic Musician has just started releasing Modsquad a YouTube series with Gino Robair and Jim Aikin about modulars. I really like these and there’s no better video online that shows off the Metasonix R54. Enjoy!
“Electronic Musician magazine is the ultimate resource for musicians who want to make better music, in the studio or onstage. Visit our website for artist features, gear reviews, and more tutorials!” – emusician.com
For more info: youtube.com/user/MyElectronicMusician/videos
Tiptop Audio continues its quest to recreate the Roland TR-808 and TR-909 in Eurorack format. Toms909 is the latest addition to this amazing range. I have most of the drum modules already and they are spot on plus more. So if your ready to get your Jeff Mills on these are available now for $400 USD.
“The toms909 contains all three of the tr-909′s original low, mid and high tom-tom circuits adapted for use in the eurorack modular synthesizer format. the module was tested to sound like a fresh machine coming off the assembly line back in the 80′s. to add flavor to the beast we have extended each tom’s tuning range so it’s easier to dial soft bass drums on the lower ends and high pitched toms on the other. in addtion to that all three toms are voltage controlled, letting you play the tom’s pitch with cv sequencers…” – tiptopaudio.com
For more info: tiptopaudio.com
Wait a minute. A iOS app can be a Eurorack LFO? Apparently so! Check out the Brute LFO videos above to see it in action. Pretty cool! $3.99 USD.
“The Brute LFO is a powerful low frequency oscillator that modulates your analog gear. If you have a hardware synth that allows you to use external gear to modulate the pitch, the filter, or any other parameter, just plug the Brute LFO into the CV in and start playing. It consists of three separate LFOs. LFO 1 and 2 can be controlled using the control elements in the top half of the screen. The big knob in he middle sets the rate of both the LFOs. Additionally you can change the waveforms of the LFOs, detune LFO 2 and change its phase. The amount knob in the top half also sets the overall amount of the modulation. The elements on the bottom half (LFO 3) can be used to modulate the frequency of LFO 1 and 2. And the brute switch destroys everything!” – justuskandzi.com
For more info: justuskandzi.com/brute-lfo
This video made the rounds earlier this week but I didn’t press play. This morning I clicked and oh yeah this is amazing. Someone put an electronic soundtrack to the classic Road Runner cartoon. They did such a good job. The acid Warner Brothers intro alone is just so great.
“Consider the recursion of Coyote, who never eats, but only considers eating, ad infinitum. This barren, craggy, dry universe is more like a Mandlebrot purgatory with an endless supply of Acme weapon products which can’t function predictably, or whose proper function can’t be apprehended by Coyote.
Every ravine, every rocky outcrop, every national road that splices the desert is generated anew each time Coyote is forced not to die – his bones regenerate, his cardiac arrests are all false. He can be skinned alive a million times a million times.
This routine unravels from a spool that was never wound. Is this because of artifice that such toil is even noticeable? Why contrive a purgatory like this when heaven can be imagined? Or would every heaven ever dreamt only appear as purgatory to enlightened eyes?” – sssnacksss
For more info: wikipedia.org/Wile_E._Coyote_and_The_Road_Runner
I was really happy to be able to get one of the first Intellijel Metropolis sequencers. I set up last night and got it working in my own way. In the video you can see I have it synced to Ableton Live and my Roland TR-707. The sound source is a Wiard Oscillator running through a Analogue Solutions aka Medic Modules Defibrillator which is a filter but also adds some wicked heft to any source. By changing the Pulse Count on the Metropolis you can get some amazing creative patterns. Changing the Gate Mode then emphasizes notes even further by holding the Pulse Count either in a solid unbreaking sound or repeating pulse. You can see me mess with those parameters in the video. Finally I control the entire sequence’s pitch using a Flame Tame Machine Quantizer’s CV out. There are many other features this thing has I didn’t touch here including clock division, internal quantization, shuffle, stage skipping, presets and more. The Metropolis a really nice. It’s a true Moroder/EBM machine.
“We worked out an agreement with Ryk earlier this year to create an the only official Eurorack adaptation of his brilliant sequencer design. It has taken many months to procure all the special parts and the design has already gone through several hardware revisions.” – intellijel.com
For more info: intellijel.com
Here is more madness from Gieskes. You could say the Voicerec1b is sort of a toy Phonogene? Ok well maybe not but someone out there is collecting all of Gieskes work for what will be an interesting live performance I am certain.
“On the start of a recording there is a beep sound.” – gieskes.nl
For more info: gieskes.nl/eurorack/?file=voice-rec-1
I really liked Arturia’s Minibrute a lot. I think it has a unique character. The new Microbrute is even more compelling. It’s smaller so it will fit on my desk and easier to take around. It has an interesting Mod Matrix that allows some Eurorack connection goodness. It has a cool sequencer that’s syncable with my Eurorack stuff. The price is great: $300.
“Packed with mixable waveforms, a new sub oscillator design, the famous Steiner-Parker multimode filter, super fast envelope, syncable LFO and the new step sequencer, not to mention the patchable mod matrix the MicroBrute is a landmark new synth at an incredible price.” – Arturia.com
For more info: arturia.com/evolution/en/products/microbrute
I’ve been diving deeper and deeper into my modular learning how to use the modules with each other. Daren from Control helped me with the patch above. With this patch I have an 8 step sequencer with two rows running. The first row is controlling the pitch of an oscillator and the second a filter cut off and resonance. You will need to use some multiples or Tiptop stackables to make this work. Holding a touch key on the Pressure Points holds the sequences on that step. Adjusting the ADSR’s release really effects the sound. Try adding a sine wave LFO into the ADSR’s Sustain CV control (if your ADSR has one) for some random spikes in the filter opening. Instead of clocking the Pressure Points with a straight clock use something like a uStep and send a few steps a break and then a few more steps for interesting patterns. Lastly try a VCA on the third Pressure Points row for volume control of each step. Enjoy!
“Pressure Points is a controller module, an analog sequencer that is played by hand. Touching the gold plated copper wires (aka Touch Plates), you become part of the circuit, generating a gate signal (Gate OUT), a control signal proportional to the amount of pressure applied (Press OUT) and the 3 Tuned Voltages for the activated Stage.” – Make Noise
For more info: makenoisemusic.com/pressurepoints
So you don’t own a modular but you want to play with one? Check out a web based modular called TrueGrid. Pretty cool huh?
EDIT: Some people let me know this only works in Google Chrome.
“TrueGrid is a fully functional modular web synthesizer which let’s you create, listen and share modular synth patches.” – modulargrid.net
Play now: modulargrid.net/racks/synth