If you want to see a huge amount of modular synth patched together and sounding like a few hundred television sets falling down a flight of stairs start following Richard Devine. I’m not certain I would listen to his “music” while driving or even be able to pick out one composition and say this is one I love. However, as a movie soundtrack or in the elevator going up to the top of One World Trade center I think it’s perfect.
“Richard Devine is an Atlanta-based electronic musician and sound designer. Devine has designed sound patches for NI’s Absynth, Reaktor, Battery and Massive. He has also scored commercials for Nike, Touchstone Pictures and engineered and performed his own music worldwide.” – Wikipedia
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.” – ctrl-mod.com
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.” – makenoisemusic.com
I wanted to show off more of what the new Medic Modules Defibrillator Eurorack dual VCF/VCA sounds like. Be sure to check out my part one here. If you just want to jump to some instant awesome go to 1:04 in the video. When I increase the Q (resonance) the sound breaks apart in a wonderfully musical way. It really reminds of some of the sound on Front 242’s first album Geography. I needed two hands for this video and I remembered I had a GoPro sports camera so I used it’s head strap. Surely this is more interesting than footage of me jumping out of an airplane right? So what else is going on in this patch? It all starts with a Wiard Oscillator with a Tiptop Audio Z4000 ASDR. It is being sequenced by a Doepfer Dark Time and that line is being Quantized and beautifully modified by a custom key range I created on a Flame Tame Machine. The Tame Machine is also playing back a recorded sequence pattern. Everything is kept in tempo with Ableton using an Innerclock Sync-Gen II including a Tiptop Audio 808 Kick, Snare and 16th note hi-hat. There is a white noise crash from a Hexinverter vcNOIZ. At first it’s a solid blast then I break it apart using an LFO from a Synthesis Technology E355 Morphing Dual LFO. That LFO is also in sync with the Innerclock and is also providing CV to the Medic Modules Defibrillator at times. While it may seem like a long explaination once you understand how a modular works it’s very easy, fast and fun to put together a patch like this and play. I can see adding some more parts and vocals and turning this into a finished song.
“Based on the legendary Korg MS20 filter, and the Analogue Solutions SY02 module. Each circuit is independent. They can easily be linked in series using the Link switches, or used separately in parallel for individually processing or stereo filter effects.” – medicmodules.com
Last night I stopped by the always fun Control in Williamsburg to see a demo of Pamela’s Workout and their new SID chip prototype module. As you can see there was a nice number of highly interested people there. We heard Pamela’s doing some nice swing steps on a Tiptop Cowbell (my choice of course). We also heard the new upcoming SID module. It’s has multiple oscillators, a filter, noise, ring modulator and more with CV controls. My ears were happy when it did some 80s style pulse width modulation. I really enjoy these little get togethers. To see a few more photos visit the flickr set: click here
“Control is an independent synthesizer brick & mortar shop located in the South Williamsburg Neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. We specialize in Eurorack Modular, with a passion for vintage traditional and unusual eccentric electronic devices both analog and digital.” – ctrl-mod.com
Later today I’m going to get over to Control in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to hear ALM Busy Circuits talk and demo. They make the nice eurorack clocking module Pamela’s Workout. See you there! Wednesday, April 10. 6-8PM 16 Lorimer St #1R Brooklyn, NY 11206
“Pamela’s workout’ is a compact programmable clock source for your eurorack modular synthesizer system. it provides 8 highly editable trigger outputs, all correlated to a direct and voltage controlled bpm based clock.”
Here’s a nice set of videos of you are seriously into Eurorack modular. Tony Rolando, Robert Lowe and Richard Devine discuss and use the wonderful MakeNoise modules in North Carolina. Cool dog by the way!
“On March 24, 2013, there was a modular synthesis workshop at MakeNoise Music, featuring an intro talk by designer Tony Rolando, discussion with artists Robert Lowe (Lichens) and Richard Devine, and performances of patches from the MakeNoise Shared System Series.” – Walker Farrell
This month’s Future Music magazine has a video interview with musician Benge about his modulars. There’s also text interviews with Carl Craig, Clark, Jimmy Edgar, Zombie Nation and Simian Mobile Disco on their favorite modules.
“We’ve gone back a step and realized with everything being done inside the computer may have been a bit of a kind of a wrong direction.” – Benge
Last night I went to Control in Williamsburg to see Richard Nicol from Pittsburgh Modular. There was a decent turnout including a few girls, a dog, beer, whiskey and Vince Clarke. There was a Q&A and then people took turns on the new Pitsburgh Modular Cell systems. I asked a few questions. I have some space about the size of a 8″ monitor speaker on my desk and I wanted to know if Richard was planning on making a 3 tier high Cell  case. The answer is yes and he plans to go to 4 high or maybe even higher. I also asked if he was planning any drum modules but he thinks that’s been covered by Tiptop so he’s not going to try at this time. Later in a one on one discussion I learned his main focus is keeping prices low. There’s really nothing wrong with that as his modules do sound great. After playing with the Cell systems myself I made myself over to Vince Clarke and had a nice 20 minute conversation with him. He’s a nice guy and like really into synths so I could talk for hours with him. I admit driving home I put on Yaz and then I realized I’ve now met every person who was ever in Depeche Mode (epic!). Thanks to Daren and Jonas (the store owners) for a fun evening. To see a full set of photos: click here
“All of the Pittsburgh modules are handmade with the look of 1950?s science fiction laboratory equipment using bold components and unique layouts to promote interaction and experimentation.” – Pittsburgh Modular
My favorite modular store Control is getting a visit from Pittsburgh Modular on Monday, February 18 from 6-8PM. I’m definitely going to this one. They recently released a very pretty line of new cases and several new affordable Eurorack modules.
“We are taking our NAMM setup on the road! Richard Nicol will be at Control in Brooklyn on Monday, February 18th between 6pm and 8pm to show off the latest Pittsburgh Modular gear. The full range of new systems, cases, and modules will be setup and ready to test drive. Stop by for free stickers, logo panels, and a module giveaway!” -pittsburghmodular.com