Modular Synth Blog
Nick Blackburn

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Invigoration
21st July 2012

I attented the muffwiggler Brighton meet today and met a lovely group of fellow enthusiasts. There are some snaps here.

I think the only person there without a Maths was the fellow with the Buchla system, so that must be raised inpriority.

As noted below, I need to develop a smaller housing to play with subsets and to allow me to participate in events such as Brighton. I will document this exercise in a separate blog.

I have booked filmmaking course, starting 29th Sep.


wishlist: ADDAC FM Radio - Pittsburgh VILFO - Pittsburgh delay - ADDAC .WAV Player
Then: Makenoise QMMG and Maths - 4ms Noise Swash - Trautonium set (104, 113, 198)
Wanted but not prioritised: 135 VC mixer & 144 morph - 188 Bucket 116 VC Wave - 199 spring reverb - 163 VC divider - 138c polmix - 143-4 Quad VCO - 135-2 Quad Panner - MFB VD-01
Wanted but unlikely to be acquired: Cwejman VCO-2RM - Blacet Miniwave - Wretch - Cwejman RG6
Acquired 2011: Synthwerks Lamp 2 - intellijel designs µstep - Pittsburgh Timetable
Acquired 2010: 170 dual slew - 109 Signal - 140 ADSR - 124 Wasp - FrequenSteiner - 137.1 Wave Multiplier - Malekko noisering - 196 PLL - 172 Max/Min - Plan B Heisenberg - Cwejman MX-4S - bubblesound uLFO - Pressure Points - PMC6 Cupboard - 198 ribbon controller - ED108-ChaQuO - Plan B Model 15 VCO - Tiptop Z8000 - Livewire AFG and Dual Cyclotron - Metasonix R54 - Dewanatron Triple Slice - Kilpatrick Audio K4815 Pattern Generator
Previously Acquired: 143-9 - WMD Geiger Counter - the Great Cupboard - Malekko anti-oscillator- MFB VCO2 - 150 VC switch - 145 LFO - analogue shift register - Bananalogue VCS - a Mac
ADDAC FM Radio
New Order
2nd July 2012

I have ordered the ADDAC's FM Radio and will probably go for a Doepfer Spring Reverb next (sponsored by CAB), then VILFO and a delay.

I am trying to book onto a filmmaking course to help with the audiovisual side of things.

I also want to build a small portable cupboard, but Doepfer don't make a DIY Kit #2 any more.


4ms PEG 4ms PEG
Another long break
17th June 2012

Two things to note:

I have at last found a lighting solution for the PMC6 Cupboard, Ikea's dioder strips. More details on the Cupboard page.

The gear lust (there must be a good German word for that) continues, but an update is needed. I have long held the ambition to convert speech to wurbles and ADDAC's FM Radio could be a good tool to feed my several unused envelope followers. I would still like the ADDAC .wav player too for the injection of noises. You cannot get enough VCLFOs and Pittsburgh's long-sought VILFO will be an interesting variation on this theme, together with their delay unit.

I would also like to find a sensible (i.e. easy) way of recording the Cupboards audio and visuals. I tried a Lumix movie today, but that's too noisy. Perhaps an Olympus LS20M is the thing - the only trouble is (unlike euromodules, which last), the day you buy it there will be a better option available.


4ms PEG Toppobrillo Quantimator
And we're back
28th October 2011

It's been a while since the last post. I haven't had access to the kit for some time, but that has now been sorted. I was becoming rather disillusioned with Eurorack modules as they had moved so far away from the foundation laid by Mr Moog. That said, as soon as I started looking at recent modules, I was sucked into gear lust again. Two of particular note are Snazzy FX Dreamboat and the 4ms PEG, pingable envelope generator.

The main reason for this post is to celebrate Dave Vosh's recent publicity. Here's the link. In case the page disappears, this is too good to lose, here's the text:

Dave Vosh

Friday, Nov. 4 – Dave Vosh brings “bag of analog tricks” to the Lou! by ADMIN
Dave VoshSpecial guests Dr. Mabuse and Venus Slick Friday, Nov. 4, 2011 – 8 pmFloating Laboratories 4528 Ohio
HEARding Cats is excited to bring east coast synthesis sensation Dave Vosh to St. Louis for a rare Midwest performance. Vosh has had a lifelong passion for electronic music. After years of toiling in autodidactic obscurity

Dave Vosh
he summoned-up the courage to contact one of his idols, Karlheinz Sctockhausen, by mail. To his great shock, Maestro Stockhausen not only answered his letter personally but continued the correspondence with Vosh up until his death; offering advice and discussion on all sorts of musical issues. Emboldened by Stockhausen’s attention, Vosh assembled an arsenal of sophisticated electronic instruments and recently decided to take the bushel-basket off his lamp in the active DC/Baltimore avant garde scene. He now performs regularly in the Electric Possible and Sonic Circuits series, as well as at the Red Room, Hexagon, and Pyramid Atlantic. He appeared in the 2008 and 2009 Electro-Music Festivals.

In an unusual appearance on Baltimore’s Rams Head Live stage Vosh’s solo performance was described:
“He comes in, hobbles up to the stage on his cane, opens up a big briefcase of mephistophelesian landscapes, and settles into a chair. Then he takes up his little baton and calmly conducts a tour across the terrible beauty of the vast frozen steppes of Hades. …and when the show is over, he quietly packs it all up and lumbers off into the night. It’s a hell of an act.”

Back to my kit and noises, some rot set in with my unfulfilled lust for the Arturia Origin, but I'm still inclined towards a box of non-modular kit, notably the upgrade to NI's Reaktor and maybe play with some NI hardware such as the Maschine Jr. And returning to the subject of pedals, in addition to the 138d and Space Echo mentioned a year ago, this month's Sound on Sound waxes lyrical on the Eventide Space.

The piece I want to work on next is a corruption of O God our help in ages past as the first instalment in a series of implosions of Welsh Hymns. There is no sensible way to approach this with the modular.


Archive wishlist: Snazzy FX Dreamboat - 4ms PEG - ADDAC .WAV Player - Circuit Abbey Gravity Well - Pittsburgh VILFO
Then: Makenoise QMMG and Maths - 4ms Noise Swash - Trautonium set (104, 113, 198)
Wanted but not prioritised: 135 VC mixer & 144 morph - 188 Bucket 116 VC Wave - 199 spring reverb - 163 VC divider - 138c polmix - 143-4 Quad VCO - 135-2 Quad Panner - MFB VD-01
Wanted but unlikely to be acquired: Cwejman VCO-2RM - Blacet Miniwave - Wretch - Cwejman RG6
Acquired 2011: Synthwerks Lamp 2 - intellijel designs µstep - Pittsburgh Timetable
Acquired 2010: 170 dual slew - 109 Signal - 140 ADSR - 124 Wasp - FrequenSteiner - 137.1 Wave Multiplier - Malekko noisering - 196 PLL - 172 Max/Min - Plan B Heisenberg - Cwejman MX-4S - bubblesound uLFO - Pressure Points - PMC6 Cupboard - 198 ribbon controller - ED108-ChaQuO - Plan B Model 15 VCO - Tiptop Z8000 - Livewire AFG and Dual Cyclotron - Metasonix R54 - Dewanatron Triple Slice - Kilpatrick Audio K4815 Pattern Generator
Previously Acquired: 143-9 - WMD Geiger Counter - the Great Cupboard - Malekko anti-oscillator- MFB VCO2 - 150 VC switch - 145 LFO - analogue shift register - Bananalogue VCS - a Mac
Lost keyboards
18th April 2011

Repeat broadcast by Armando Iannucci The Museum Of Lost Keyboards.


wishlist: ADDAC .WAV Player - Circuit Abbey Gravity Well - Pittsburgh VILFO
Then: Makenoise QMMG and Maths - 4ms Noise Swash - Trautonium set (104, 113, 198)
Wanted but not prioritised: 135 VC mixer & 144 morph - 188 Bucket 116 VC Wave - 199 spring reverb - 163 VC divider - 138c polmix - 143-4 Quad VCO - 135-2 Quad Panner - MFB VD-01
Wanted but unlikely to be acquired: Cwejman VCO-2RM - Blacet Miniwave - Wretch - Cwejman RG6
Acquired 2011: Synthwerks Lamp 2 - intellijel designs µstep - Pittsburgh Timetable
Acquired 2010: 170 dual slew - 109 Signal - 140 ADSR - 124 Wasp - FrequenSteiner - 137.1 Wave Multiplier - Malekko noisering - 196 PLL - 172 Max/Min - Plan B Heisenberg - Cwejman MX-4S - bubblesound uLFO - Pressure Points - PMC6 Cupboard - 198 ribbon controller - ED108-ChaQuO - Plan B Model 15 VCO - Tiptop Z8000 - Livewire AFG and Dual Cyclotron - Metasonix R54 - Dewanatron Triple Slice - Kilpatrick Audio K4815 Pattern Generator
Previously Acquired: 143-9 - WMD Geiger Counter - the Great Cupboard - Malekko anti-oscillator- MFB VCO2 - 150 VC switch - 145 LFO - analogue shift register - Bananalogue VCS - a Mac
Toppobrillo Quantimator
More shiny things
1st March 2011

The Pittsburgh Timetable has just arrived.

and I notice that the Toppobrillo Quantimator has been announced.


Archive wishlist: ADDAC .WAV Player - Circuit Abbey Gravity Well - Pittsburgh VILFO
Then: Makenoise QMMG and Maths - 4ms Noise Swash - Trautonium set (104, 113, 198)
Wanted but not prioritised: 135 VC mixer & 144 morph - 188 Bucket 116 VC Wave - 199 spring reverb - 163 VC divider - 138c polmix - 143-4 Quad VCO - 135-2 Quad Panner - MFB VD-01
Wanted but unlikely to be acquired: Cwejman VCO-2RM - Blacet Miniwave - Wretch - Cwejman RG6
Acquired 2011: Synthwerks Lamp 2 - intellijel designs µstep - Pittsburgh Timetable
Acquired 2010: 170 dual slew - 109 Signal - 140 ADSR - 124 Wasp - FrequenSteiner - 137.1 Wave Multiplier - Malekko noisering - 196 PLL - 172 Max/Min - Plan B Heisenberg - Cwejman MX-4S - bubblesound uLFO - Pressure Points - PMC6 Cupboard - 198 ribbon controller - ED108-ChaQuO - Plan B Model 15 VCO - Tiptop Z8000 - Livewire AFG and Dual Cyclotron - Metasonix R54 - Dewanatron Triple Slice - Kilpatrick Audio K4815 Pattern Generator
Previously Acquired: 143-9 - WMD Geiger Counter - the Great Cupboard - Malekko anti-oscillator- MFB VCO2 - 150 VC switch - 145 LFO - analogue shift register - Bananalogue VCS - a Mac
cacophonator II
To buy, or not to buy
21st February 2011

I just managed to avoid the temptation of buying a wonderfully noisy cacophonator II. And here's a similarly-named diy project: I feel some wasted hours with a soldering iron are just around the corner.

I am still toying with the idea of an Arturia Origin: SoS review here (I think there are timed viewing restrictions for non-subscribers).

The Pittsburgh Timetable is nearly here. I think I will aim for a denser project next and want to organise four similtaneous tracks mixing in and out through the MX-4S, some LFOs and an inverter. The Cyclotron will feature. But first we're off to Paris for the Mondrian show at the Pompidou.


Monthly archive wishlist: Pittsburgh Timetable - ADDAC .WAV Player - Circuit Abbey Gravity Well - Pittsburgh VILFO
Then: Makenoise QMMG and Maths - 4ms Noise Swash - Trautonium set (104, 113, 198)
Wanted but not prioritised: 135 VC mixer & 144 morph - 188 Bucket 116 VC Wave - 199 spring reverb - 163 VC divider - 138c polmix - 143-4 Quad VCO - 135-2 Quad Panner - MFB VD-01
Wanted but unlikely to be acquired: Cwejman VCO-2RM - Blacet Miniwave - Wretch - Cwejman RG6
Acquired 2011: Synthwerks Lamp 2 - intellijel designs µstep
Acquired 2010: 170 dual slew - 109 Signal - 140 ADSR - 124 Wasp - FrequenSteiner - 137.1 Wave Multiplier - Malekko noisering - 196 PLL - 172 Max/Min - Plan B Heisenberg - Cwejman MX-4S - bubblesound uLFO - Pressure Points - PMC6 Cupboard - 198 ribbon controller - ED108-ChaQuO - Plan B Model 15 VCO - Tiptop Z8000 - Livewire AFG and Dual Cyclotron - Metasonix R54 - Dewanatron Triple Slice - Kilpatrick Audio K4815 Pattern Generator
Previously Acquired: 143-9 - WMD Geiger Counter - the Great Cupboard - Malekko anti-oscillator- MFB VCO2 - 150 VC switch - 145 LFO - analogue shift register - Bananalogue VCS - a Mac
Three things, perhaps four
17th February 2011
Origin

I didn't have a chance to record the video to go with the broken waltz so I'll post just the noise shortly. Here it is.

A terrific program in Late Junction on Tuesday 15th which I might post. Part of it comprised:

Harvey Korman

I love my Doepfer frequency shifter and there is a super post on alternative offerings from Cwejman and Synthesis Technology at Navs modular lab.

Would it be cheating to get an Arturia Origin? Could I afford it? Do I care? Why am I asking you?


Anniversary waltz
11th February 2011
11th Feb

This week's piece is another broken waltz, a return to a theme I first played with in January 2010.

A VCLFO feeds the 160/161 set controlling the triggers for the 1-2-3 (actually 1-3-5) and the double speed 'melody' over the top, reset on 7. The '1' notes are generated by the SoU driving the Plan B VCO; the '2&3' notes come from the Plan B ASR driving the MFB Triple (now reunited with the Cupboard); the melody comes from the Heisenburg and the AFG.

Just a single take this time. I'm hoping to get some video footage to combine with the noises this weekend.

Must chase up the Pittsburgh Timetable.


Nurdling happily
27th January 2011
27th Jan

The reorganisation of The Cupboard has reached that happy state where a patch will sing to itself entertainingly all morning. That requires the rhythm and the dots and the noises to be sufficiently unpredictable and interesting, then remember an important lesson I took some time to learn - when it sounds good, stop fiddling and record it.

Central to the patch, as shown in the photograph, are two linked VCLFOs (with the new µstep) providing the rhythm and the Source of Uncertainty (with the ASR) providing the dots. Noises are the Anti-Oscillator through a 109 and Plague Bearer; the R54 through a 109 and Frequensteiner; and the AFG through the 109 and Wasp on one track and via the Triple Slicer on another.

I recorded three takes plus another with the VCLFOs linked via the Dual Slew Limiter. I'll mix and upload them later. Here it is, the aptly-named 27Jan2011.


Monthly wishlist: Pittsburgh Timetable - ADDAC .WAV Player - Circuit Abbey Gravity Well - Pittsburgh VILFO
Then: Makenoise QMMG and Maths - 4ms Noise Swash - Trautonium set (104, 113, 198)
Wanted but not prioritised: 135 VC mixer & 144 morph - 188 Bucket 116 VC Wave - 199 spring reverb - 163 VC divider - 138c polmix - 143-4 Quad VCO - 135-2 Quad Panner - MFB VD-01
Wanted but unlikely to be acquired: Cwejman VCO-2RM - Blacet Miniwave - Wretch - Cwejman RG6
Acquired 2011: Synthwerks Lamp 2 - intellijel designs µstep
Acquired 2010: 170 dual slew - 109 Signal - 140 ADSR - 124 Wasp - FrequenSteiner - 137.1 Wave Multiplier - Malekko noisering - 196 PLL - 172 Max/Min - Plan B Heisenberg - Cwejman MX-4S - bubblesound uLFO - Pressure Points - PMC6 Cupboard - 198 ribbon controller - ED108-ChaQuO - Plan B Model 15 VCO - Tiptop Z8000 - Livewire AFG and Dual Cyclotron - Metasonix R54 - Dewanatron Triple Slice - Kilpatrick Audio K4815 Pattern Generator
Previously Acquired: 143-9 - WMD Geiger Counter - the Great Cupboard - Malekko anti-oscillator- MFB VCO2 - 150 VC switch - 145 LFO - analogue shift register - Bananalogue VCS - a Mac
Reorg continues
19th January 2011
19th Jan

The reorganisation continues and a new camera improves the picture quality.

The µstep is on order and the Timetable will soon go on sale. Then I'll be saving up for a Gravity Well.

I'm working on this week's piece


Reorg begun and noise made
11th January 2011
before after

In accordance with the New Year Plan, I have taken most of the modules out and only put some back. The before is on the left and the after on the right. The new lights are in and jolly useful too. The Z8000 and Cyclotron are awaiting reinstallation and the LFOs and utility modules need relocation.

I stated that I would aim for one piece per week and so, only four days late, here is the first test piece on the current layout. The four channels into the MX-4S are:


GravityWell GWS
...to all our readers
6th January 2011

Some more tempting modules, the Circuit Abbey Gravity Well and the WMD Gamma Wave Source.

There's a new year just around the corner
29th December 2010

I think I might greet the new year with a few intentions, if not resolutions:


Year end wishlist: Pittsburgh Timetable - Pittsburgh VILFO - Makenoise QMMG and Maths - 4ms Noise Swash
Then: Malekko Borg, or perhaps the Assmaster - Trautonium set (104, 113, 198)
Wanted but not prioritised: Toppobrillo triple wave folder - 135 VC mixer & 144 morph - 188 Bucket 116 VC Wave - 199 spring reverb - 163 VC divider - 138c polmix - 143-4 Quad VCO - 135-2 Quad Panner - MFB VD-01
Wanted but unlikely to be acquired: Cwejman VCO-2RM - Blacet Miniwave - Wretch - Cwejman RG6
Acquired 2010: 170 dual slew - 109 Signal - 140 ADSR - 124 Wasp - FrequenSteiner - 137.1 Wave Multiplier - Malekko noisering - 196 PLL - 172 Max/Min - Plan B Heisenberg - Cwejman MX-4S - bubblesound uLFO - Pressure Points - PMC6 Cupboard - 198 ribbon controller - ED108-ChaQuO - Plan B Model 15 VCO - Tiptop Z8000 - Livewire AFG and Dual Cyclotron - Metasonix R54 - Dewanatron Triple Slice - Kilpatrick Audio K4815 Pattern Generator
Previously Acquired: 143-9 - WMD Geiger Counter - the Great Cupboard - Malekko anti-oscillator- MFB VCO2 - 150 VC switch - 145 LFO - analogue shift register - Bananalogue VCS - a Mac
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