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
The Trigger Riot is one of three new sequencers from Gur at Tiptop Audio. If you read this blog you know I am really enjoying the TTA drum modules. Very simply you hook some modules to the Riot and as you change knob positions you get different patterns of all sorts. I’ll be getting this one for sure.
“From a conceptual view, the Trigger Riot generates 16 clock streams consisting of multiple time manipulation functions (division, offsets, etc) that interact to create the trigger output, and direct access to each parameter via individual knobs allows for quick manipulation. The 8 outputs are the sum of those manipulated streams per row. The outputs of the module are arranged as either a 4×4 matrix, where each of the 16 knobs affects both row and column, or as a set of independent outputs for each row or column. This allows forming 8 complex musical interactions in a ‘Matrix’ mode or 8 independent streams in ‘Independent’ mode and is switchable from one to the other on press of a button for some unexpected results. Since each of the 16 knobs represents a real time tweakable trigger generator/modifier the Trigger Riot is extremely playable and can result very complex patterns with only few knob turns; patterns that would otherwise take much longer and in some instances be almost impossible to produce using grid based step sequencing. Patterns can have unique time signatures that can repeat or be randomized through probability, time shifted and phased, divided, multiplied and counted, it’s unbelievable how complex this module can get with minimal input.” – Gur (Tiptop Audio)
Richard Nicol’s Eurorack modular synth company Pittsburgh Modular has released some great stuff this year at NAMM. To start off there is Cell which is a very inexpensive complete synth voice. From there everything grows into multiple systems. Some 48HP some 90HP. The systems are well thought out such as the System 2 which focuses on sequencing and effects. What also has me really excited are the new cases which are inexpensive and look great with nice wood ends and can be built vertically. Every studio should have 90HP of Eurorack sitting in between their computer monitor and keyboard angled toward them!
“Two complete synthesizer product lines and a pair of desktop eurorack case and power supplies.” – pittsburghmodular.com