Working on my next album

I am working on my next album. I have equipment lying all over the place in several totally different locations. In one corner of my apartment I have “little” Eurorack set up and for the sample of the track above Im using a Korg SuperDrums DDM110 for beats and sync. Your also hearing a Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas through a Synthesis Technology E440 which has it’s filter controlled by a Make Noise Pressure Points and transpose controlled by a Flame Tame Machine. Now to do some vocals…

“Where does all this leave the DDM110? Not realistic enough to satisfy people who want a drum machine to act as a convenient substitute for a real drummer, not considered ‘classic’ enough to command the extortionate prices paid by retro enthusiasts for just about anything 15 years old with a Roland badge and no MIDI port. This ‘half-way’ status, coupled with its more eccentric qualities, is enough to place the DDM110 in the ‘love it or hate it’ oddity category. I personally gravitate towards the former opinion.” – Sound on Sound

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Electronic Musician Modular

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!” –

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Pressure Points Patches

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

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Make Noise in Brooklyn

Everyone’s favorite Eurorack module maker Make Noise is coming to Brooklyn this Sunday, September 8, 2013. In partnership with Control they will be doing a demo and talk in the store and then there will be musical performances at Silent Barn. Robert A.A. Lowe, On A Clear Day and Nullsleep will showing off what modulars can do.

“This weekend Sunday September 8th from 3-5PM we are pleased to welcome Tony Rolando and Kelly Kelbel of MakeNoise to Control for an In-Store demonstration and discussion. Later that evening at Silent Barn, we will celebrate the 7″ release of MNR003: Robert A.A. Lowe on MakeNoise Records.” – Control

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Maths 2013

The Make Noise Maths is probably the most talked about Eurorack Module. It’s like a swiss army knife. It does many different things and it’s well loved. It just had a 2013 revision. It keeps what I think is the coolest name of any product ever and only costs $10 more. To see all what the new version adds watch the video above.

“MATHS is an analog computer designed for musical purposes. Amongst other things, it will allow you to: Generate a variety of linear, logarithmic, or exponential triggered or continuous functions, Integrate an incoming signal, With no signal applied, generate a variety of linear, logarithmic, or exponential functions. Add, subtract and OR up to 4 signals. Generate analog signals from digital information (Gate / Clock). Generate digital information (Gate / Clock) from analog signals. Delay digital (Gate / Clock) information.” –

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Flame Tame & DPO

Put this video on at about 6:14 in and it sounds like Front 242 during their Front by Front era. It reminds me of the basslines in Until Death or Welcome to Paradise. Sounds so wicked as he pitches the Make Noise DPO sequence using the Flame Tame Machine.

“The DPO is a voltage controlled oscillator designed for generating complex waveforms and implementing FM synthesis within the analog domain. Expanding on the classic arrangement of Primary and Modulator Oscillators, the DPO has both of the VCOs operable as complex signal sources. It is in essence a Dual Primary Oscillator.” –

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Maths as an Envelope Follower

The next installment of Raul Pena’s Math’s Minute series shows how to use the Make Noise Maths as an Envelope Follower. This is a great way to add layers of sound to a song in a way that fits rhythmically.

“MATHS builds on the tradition set into motion in the 1960′s when Don Buchla adapted circuits found within analog computers for musical purposes. Buchla’s Algebraic Processor, Model 257 and 281 changed the way music synthesizers utilize control voltages. MATHS continues this great tradition of sculpting the control signals we use to sculpt our sound signals.” –

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I am very pleased to let you know Wire to the Ear is featured in this months Engadget Distro! Distro is thier super slick and free iPad magazine. In the interview I discuss Make Noise, TRS-80s, Ableton, Buchla and more. Be sure to download the March 8, 2013 issue and check it out!

“What are you favorite gadget names? There is a modular synthesizer module called…”

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Evil Fingers

I stopped by Control in Williamsburg yesterday. Jonas put together a patch consisting of a Synth Tech E560 Deflector Shield, Make Noise Optomix, Function, Pressure Points and Brains. We were discussing how great the Synth Tech modules were and how the Vactrols in the Make Noise stuff makes things sound rubbery in a good way. Vactrols use LEDs inside the modules to control parameters.

“A Vactrol is an optoelectronic device consisting of a source and detector of light, which are optically coupled and electrically isolated from each other. The light source is usually a light-emitting diode (LED), a miniature incandescent lamp, or sometimes a neon lamp, whereas the detector is a semiconductor-based photoresistor made of cadmium selenide (CdSe) or cadmium sulfide (CdS). The source and detector are coupled through a transparent glue or through the air.” – Wikipedia

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Make Noise RXMX

Tony Rolando’s Make Noise Eurorack modules are usually noted as the best or in the top few on people’s lists. The 6 channel RXMX which comes out this summer will surely be awesome for some wild panning, pinging and much more. Thanks to Nick and his team at Sonic State for the video.

“The RXMX is a concept we are working on with Grant Richter. It stands for Richter’s Exquisite Mixer. The concept behind is a to apply the surrealist techniques of the exquisite corps game to patching.” – Tony Rolando (Make Noise)

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