Colin Benders and Noisia at the Modular!

By now I’m sure many of have seen Colin Benders on fine form with his live streams usually jamming several hours of acid techno creating some seriously head bobbing stuff. However for this video he has Thys from Noisia round for an exploratory modular play around and walk through.

The video goes through Cwejman modules, resonators, audio rate modulation, creating and sampling sounds, the Make Noise Erbe Verb and loads more. It’s definitely one for the casual viewer as it’s just free form playing around but I’m sure you’ll pick up a few tips and tricks.

Jupiter 6 Filter for Eurorack

Click images for larger versions

A few months ago System 80 announced plans to make a eurorack 808 drum machine clone. Fast forward to now and they’ve announced an open source Jupiter 6 filter module. Files are available on GitHub as it’s all open source but you can purchase them from System 80 on the site – http://system80.net. Check the filter out on Soundcloud.

So what exactly is the filter? Not too hard to figure out but it’s a modern recreation of the Jupiter-6’s multimode filter that has the original 24dB low, band and high pass filter types as well as adding a 12dB mode hinting towards the Jupiter-8.

So what’s happening with the drum machine I hear you ask! Well it’s voice circuits are exact TR-808 clones, the step sequencer is “enhanced” and they reckon it will be ready this year. Like most things though setting dates early on seems silly as nearly everyone misses them.

 

BASTL Documentary

Cuckoo recently spent some time in Brno in the Czech Republic with the community that is BASTL. Lucky for us he’s filmed the whole thing and made a documentary. There’s some great moments showing how the company started, the community that they are as opposed to a totally set in stone business model, the vibe and overall ethic of everyone involved etc etc. I’ve a lot of time for BASTL, I love watched HRTL’s live streams and every conversation I’ve had with Vaclav has been great. Head to the BASTL interview I did right HERE for more from Vaclav.

Check out the video below or click HERE to head to YouTube.

 

Malekko Module Giveaway!

The folks over at Malekko Heavy Industry are great, I’ve got to know a few of them a little the past couple of years and others more so. They like giving modules away, are super supportive of all my endeavours and they’ve currently got a give away on the go that’s running until April 7th. Just a name an email give you chance to win a Sync Module at MIDI to minijack adapter to use the module with your MIDI gear.

Click HERE and get yourself in with a chance to win.

Synthesis Technology – E370 & more!

The Kickstarter for this ends THIS SUNDAY the 19th of March. Head to www.synthtech.com to check out the module and head to the campaign to bag yourself one. You’ll have very little chance of getting the module again after this Kickstarter has run it’s course.

Back in April 2012 Paul T Schreiber of Synthesis Technology teased a first look at a prototype/concept that was the E370 Quad Morphing VCO. Fast forward to today and the E370 has absolutely smashed it’s Kickstarter campaign currently at $168,462 (it’s gone up another $1000ish while typing) of funding with the initial project only asking for $58,000.

The module took a while to come to life and was originally proposed in this thread – Muff Wiggler link. There was a lot of discussion about features, panel layouts etc but it was held back to focus on cheaper modules. There’s also newer and faster DSP now giving us loads of features – it’s nuts!

The E370 is 4 Morphing VCOs that have all the functionally as the previous Synthesis Technology oscillators notably the E340 Cloud Generator and E350 Morphing Terrarium. So let’s check those out to see what you’re getting and where these concepts came from.

The E340 has a switchable density of 2, 4, or 8 oscillators that can be spread (detuned) to create a ‘cloud’ of sines or saws. Most are familiar with a big swarm of supersaws but a thick cloud of sines is a beautiful thing too! It featured (at the time) controls not seen before which were chaos and chaos bandwidth which animate and ‘wiggle’ the detuning and the bandwidth controls the speed of that. As you can imagine it’s easy to get a thick animated swarm or cloud for basslines, FX or pads.

It’s hard to know where to start with the E350 as I still feel a bit dumbstruck in my own little honeymoon period with it (I’ve had it for years now) as it’s the smoothest of the smooth morphing wavetables I’ve ever heard. It’s a dual output wavetable oscillator that has 3 banks of 64 waveforms that smoothly and glitch free morph between each other as the algorithm used calculates 128 “in-between” waveforms. In reality it’s like having over 24,000 individual timbres with all the morphing between them all. So exploration can be pretty endless. The first output has an XY output that offers a chess board like set of rows and columns to morph through. The second output is the Z output which moves through the rows on a single axis allowing you to have two different sounds and independent morphing over the X, Y and Z positions. It’s also (as Paul says HERE) the “worlds best LFO” as a 3 way range switch can take it down to 13 minutes per cycle with all the added waveform morphing and hard sync options. Finally there’s a quadrature mode (accessed by a jumper on the back) that moves the XY and Z outputs to be out of phase with each other (phase is modulated on the Z parameter). Features aside … rest assured it’s ace as an audible VCO or LFO. For added “proof” beyond my ramblings check out this video I did on the E350 and E355 (dual LFO variant of the E350) for Future Music magazine HERE.

With those features from the E340 and E350 in mind, imagine how good it would be to have clouds but with morphing wavetables … the E370 does that! There’s also attenuators for the CV inputs (crucially missing from the original modules that ooze loveliness with attenuated modulation) and thanks to passing many “stretch goals” in the campaign it now has 4 voice chord mode for any or all of the 4 oscillators, linear FM and if the final stretch goal is met it will also have TZFM (thru-zero FM).

Some history and information behind us at this point I should repeat … go grab an E370 on Kickstarter before you loose the chance to get one in the future! Click HERE.

While we’re deep into a long form post let’s explore some other Synthesis Technology modules. There’s the E950 Circuit Bent VCO. It uses licensed technology from the original Texas Instruments LPC speech synthesizers (such as the speak and spell). It contains original ROMs with additional banks of wavetables from the E350 for a “low cost morphing VCO”. The module can be used in both normal and circuit bent modes and all under voltage control that are repeatable and controllable unlike some temperamental and unreliable circuit bent glitch machines some of you may have used.

Coming off the back of the E950 is the E951 expander. This is an add on that expands the functions with an OLED display showing the full list of words and phrases in the speech banks, it also allows for short and long vocal snippets to be looped and played. THIS video from John L Rice shows the functions of the expander nicely. Check it out HERE. Some of you more avid modular users and Synthesis Tech fans may have seen the “Logan’s fault” panel for the expander that Paul had a while back, but since then there’s the killer (small run joke but fun none the less) Magpie panel with Logan from Low-Gain Electronics face on it. This panel combines the E950 and E951 in one panel.

I thought I’d grab a quote from Logan about why the expander is “his fault” so here’s a quote from him directly.

The 951 Expansion came to be when Paul mentioned to me he was working on an official circuit bent speak&spell VCO module. Since I have a long running history with circuit bending, and being the over opinionated asshole that I am, you can imagine I was very adamant about what feature sets were going to be made available. Since I was the “young buck” who had actually circuit bent a speak&spell or two (or 20…40) in his day.  We hashed out ideas. I sent him a video showing the functionality of the short and long looping. The nature of how you could get it so slow, it would turn into a random burst generator.  Which unfortunately didn’t make it to the design since he didn’t want to have a “reset” push button feature because it would actually cause the processor to crash just like the original.  So Paul was kind enough to take my thoughts into consideration and include them in an expansion header on the back of the E950… as for the MagPie Logan’s fault panel, that came to be I think because in the prototype stages of the E951, Paul made panels with “Logans Fault Edition” across the top of the module. He had them at Knobcon to show the module off and a friend who was displaying in the same room some how got the idea to ask MagPie (Kris) to do a panel with my face on it to be funny. Well the joke turned into a legit panel that combined the two modules into one panel with a picture of my face looking rather strange. Kris was kind enough to send me a royalty payment of a free panel so I can officially look like an ego maniac with a picture of myself in my rack. *laughs*

I should note you can check out Low-Gain Electronics modules by clicking HERE.

Finally let’s check out the E330 multimode VCO. This (like the E950/E951) is part of Paul’s focus prior to the E370 to make some cheaper modules. This VCO gives you some morphing wavetables, cloud mode and 2 operator FM. So it’s a great way to get a wide range of tones and some Synthesis Technology quality into your system.

If you’ve read this far you deserve a medal, comment with the words “DivKid loves Synth Tech” and I’ll send you some stickers (limited potentially if I have highly underestimated peoples commitment to reading these posts) EDIT – no more free stickers. Gotta get in their quicker than I anticipated. For those wanting some watch out for more chances in the future.

 

DivKid 2016 Rundown

Inspired by Justin from Abstract Data‘s Facebook 2016 run down month by month (and the others that followed suit) I wanted to round up the year month by month as to what went on. Partly just to look back over the amount of videos that went on and also to show you lot that list too as there’s probably some that were missed. Prepare for a big list of links, here goes!

January 2016

The year kicked off with the Mystic Circuits Vert video and I had an SH-101 for a few weeks on loan to play around with. For those interested I prefer the SH-09. I can’t remember what else went on to be honest, like most probably an uneventful first month of the year.

February 2016

I remember spending loads of time mulling over the details of all the things announced at NAMM in January it took a while. Modular Podcast also launched this month with Greg and Matthew joining me for the first show, it feels like ages ago now … probably because I’m bored of their company at this point 🙂 . I also made a video for the Flame FX6 as I wanted to do it and reach out to the company but never managed to get any response from them. I find it odd how they’re completely off the radar yet have good modules. I also got round to the first performance video from Ross Lamond’s Bells N Whistles Crackles N Pops from November 2015. I’m always behind with event videos but I capture things when I can then get to editing in-between work.

March 2016

March March March sweet lordy March … I’ve no idea what happened in March 2016 to be honest. Nothing too eventful and prep for Superbooth following in April. Plenty of videos though, so (just for you Scanner) LET’S GET STUCK IN!

April 2016

Superbooth! I was a real come down after Superbooth but along with Matthew Shaw we got loads of footage as Modular Podcast. It was also my birthday this month both DivKid’s (stupid character has a back story don’t you know) made up birthday and my own.

 

 

 

 

Interview – deStrict

For issue 16 of DivKid’s Month Of Modular I asked deStrict (a modular using techno producer in Italy) some questions for an interview about his work and use of modular. Here’s the interview. 

I met deStrict as he was getting into eurorack and he was adding that to his studio to work alongside other equipment and software creating more minimal techno. So I wanted to talk to him about life pre and post modular regarding music production arm talk about the use of eurorack in a production context.

Hey Igor, so first of all tell us who you are and what it is you do. It’s easy to skip that as we’ve been speaking for sometime now but it’s good for everyone reading to have an idea of who you are.

Nice to meet you all I’m Igor Lessio some of you know me as deStrict or S!LK or 50% of SKMK I’m a music producer and also DJ. But since i started the music production school most of my time is devoted to that so let’s say I’m a retired DJ and music producer/teacher 🙂 I run Opium Audio and I’m the A&R of the Involuntary movement project alongside Chstiandi Stefano. We can practically say that music is my life.

So how did you get into music early on and what made you lean towards minimal techno?

Back in the days I was 6 and my father was used to keep me awake during Folk bands “after party”. Is where they get aware I was made to play percussions, then music school then bored to death by classics… then late after techno (also hardcore) DJ and party boy. Minimal came form a romantic walk under rain in Milano, I remember I entered a shop called Fluxus and they was selling ambient stuff so instead of get back to the rain I listened some of the CDs… and boom! Fuck there was a way to groove without and kick drum?? WOW I must learn that. So even if I made various genre in my various aliases my love if for small super detailed grooves and 8am after party music.

Before getting into modular synths what were you using for music production?

Like everybody I had a many transitions. Back in the days machines and clock problems then computer only then computer and machines but I was keeping me far form modules for many reasons like the price and all that people that keep you scared telling you will never finish a track with them.

And what was it that started to interest you about Eurorack modules?

I was at a Ricardo Villalobos concert and after listen what he was doing and producing in real time I decided to try it. Then you know, you give me a lesson one day ahaha. The use of modules and their simply but really effective workflow was perfect for my way of work.

Did you have any frustrations or issues working with Eurorack or did it slot into your workflow pretty easily?

Euro slipped in my workflow with absolutely no issues, I can do in same project everything form Euro to sampling to computer and not a single clock issue or problems. I’m pretty happy with that! Plus the real frustration comes from looking into my 300000 samples and find something…. you know that kill me for real!

How are you using your Eurorack system? For drums, custom synths, FX etc?

I use them for everything from synth to drones to percussion. About FX I prefer pedals or VST I still think that there is a lot of work on eurorack to achieve their usability. But you know this is my point of view. Now Eurorack has firmly taken place as a key part of your studio do you wish your system could do anything else? My studio will do what I do, instruments are something that are there to help your expressions but you cannot be a slave to that hardware. I will keep getting more modules I have some in mind but to be really honest, talking about my own style I already have enough to make records till 2050 🙂

To finish on tell people where they can find your music and more about you.

Well if you play records so you can find me as deStrict at this link https://goo.gl/wIa88K on Decks and all major and minor record stores. But if you are my friend you can also play my unreleased music in you next set 🙂 I’m thinking I will avoid releasing my stuff and keep giving it to the right people to test out, itwill be even more underground that way!

 

Module Of The Month – January 2017

For issue 16 of DivKid’s Month Of Modular I picked out the Performance Mixer from WMD as my module of the month. It’s in pretty much every patch I make at the minute and will be fully overviewed in the usual DivKid video style in the near future.

TipTop Audio – One

 

EDIT – Pricing has been announced at $175 and there’s now a video embedded below.

TipTop Audio have teased us for a while now about One, people seemed to start guessing it was a sample player as that fleshes out the TipTop system nicely and also offers a range of potential drum sounds their 808 and 909 analogue clones can’t offer. Well the predictions were right as One is a sample player. It’s only 4HP, high quality (up to 96kHz sample rate, great for pitching things down and retaining quality) with basic controls and CV / gate inputs. The module takes micro SD cards and there’s 6 SD cards with content designed by GLITCHMACHINES which we’ll get into below. The blurb from the website is copied below that too.

Getting into the cards we start with ‘VCTRS: Lets Get Started’. This is a mixed material one shot library with 60 sounds across 5 banks. This introduces the most compelling material from each card to demonstrate the strength of the module. KERNL is another one shot set of sounds which are percussive and textural in natural that’s labelled ‘Binary Manipulated Percussive Impacts’. BENT is (you’ve guessed it…) Circuit Bent sounds again percussive and this time digital. It’s made up of 256 sounds harvested from a variety of customised circuit bent machines. HYBRID again is percussion with 256 foley and field recording sounds. SBSTRT is called ‘Natural Percussive Elements’ agains both percussive and textural with 256 raw, natural earth sounds made by manipulating materials such as metal, stone, ice, plastic, vegetables etc. Finally PERC is again percussive but this time they are multi layered drum hits and percussive hits with tight attacked and bright harmonic content coming from a variety of sources.

It all sounds very good to me and the GLITCHMACHINES sounds I’m sure will deliver the goods!

ONE brings organic sound and super low latency sample playback to the modular. It differs from other sample players in that it handles the digital audio bits as a continuously manipulated electrical flow, a feature inspired by our analog knowhow. This unique core makes ONE truly integral within the Tiptop percussive modular ecosystem thanks to a lightweight and responsive digital circuit with a very analog feel.

ONE brings a world of colors to the modular right out of the package. We have invited some of the best sound designers in the Industry to create professional sound libraries with content tailored to the unique sonic framework of the modular synthesizer and that fully takes advantage of ONE’s unique qualities. To start with, ONE comes with a SD card loaded with a free set of 60 sounds designed by Glitchmachines. More cards are available to purchase separately each containing carefully selected material with up to 256 sound files. Using your own sample libraries or recordings is easy too, just copy 16 or 24bit mono WAV files onto the SD card, pop the card into ONE and go.

ONE offers several modes of operation, with the primary being the super low latency Trigger mode that retrieves audio data off the SD card adding no artificial processing such as click removal, crossfading, eq or gain normalization. In this mode, it’s a highly transparent player up to 24 bit 96kHz with no interpolation of the audio data: what you put in is what you get out. With a delay as low as 0.25ms from the moment the trigger hits, ONE offers harmonically dense, clear and detailed audio with a great rhythmic feel.

ONE handles external CV through a user selectable multifunction jack. Pitch is the main control with two modes available: Free pitch allows for fine tuning of the playback rate, great for adding subtle vibrato or wild tape speed effects; Quantized pitch maps CV to the standard 12 tone system over 3.5 octaves and is ideal for melodic content. CV can also be used to sequence through files off the SD card allowing far more varied sounds from a single source; almost like an entire percussion section behind the slim panel.

Although originally designed to play tightly with our analog drums and envelopes, ONE’s rich sound quality encouraged us to make it work in a variety of other applications that are less demanding of sub millisecond timing response. The extra headroom at the core level allows features such as Gated playback, Looping, and Triggering with fades in and out to accommodate different types of sound sources from drum loops to polysynth chords to noise sources and other yet unimagined uses.

ONE offers another useful dimension since it can play CV signals too. Drop in a card with LFO signals, random CV, slopes and envelopes for a whole set of new control and modulation possibilities.

ONE is as simple to use as it is affordable and plays extremely well with it’s analog cousins – our vision for bringing samples into the modular world.

 

Steady State Fate – Entity

Oh Andrew Morelli …. Mr SSF … What a killer drum modules you’ve made! 🙂 Calling Entity a Bass Drum Synthesizer is a bit misleading but it certainly makes for a cool kick drum. I wanted to make a post to share the vast tones in the videos direct from SSF for the module.

I’ve just finished up a series of work for Future Music magazine (two pages in the magazine as an article and tutorial and video to accompany it) based around the Entity and drum synthesis and alongside that I used the Gatestorm from Erogenous Tones & SSF (collab module).

So here’s the videos from SSF’s YouTube page and watch out for my coverage surfacing in the coming months. Cheers!