Sunday, January 4, 2009

Modular Madness - Stephen Drake

Amazing modular patch/composition made by Stephen Drake on his DIY synthesizer. If you want to see the modular with more detail click here


Text from the video :
  • Here's some noodling I did on my homemade synth on New Years day. It's not a real composition, as it's improvised throughout, and I can't/couldn't reproduce the settings I found along the way. Most of the sound is sourced from my klee sequencer.

    And, so there's no mystery - there are no industry secrets here...

    This patch was put together over several days of basically a few minutes here and there of fooling with it. I also didn't have enough patch cords to finish it, so had to make new ones during the process. And there are still some odd ones in there.

    Clock is the blacet binary zone, picked because it's about the only clock source that'll run the mfos sequencer. Clock into the klee, and also into the cgs pulse divider - woops, first big problem - the mfos sequencer doesn't want to work after the clock has been through the pulse divider. Yikes. Through some strange experimental urge, I try plugging the pulse divider out into the motm 510 wavewarper, and for some reason the mfos sequencer works that way. Odd.

    The original idea with the mfos sequencer was to have a fixed sequence of bass bell tones, which I had set up at one point, but was never really happy with it, and kept on devolving it so finally it was just popping the gate on a fixed pitch triangle wave every 16 clock ticks - doh... doh... doh... doh... doh...

    Pitch setting on the klee are basically very simple - just 4 basic intervals - 2 seconds, 1 minor third, 2 fourths, and 1 fifth. Tuned precisely with a tuner so the intervals will add up to diatonic pitches (I know, how boring, but I'm a classically trained musician, what can I do...). The gate bus switches are mostly in the center position, with just one or two up or down, and I changed them on the fly during the noodle. Mostly the thing is in 16x1 mode, invert off, although there are times when I change things. I also flipped the merge switches on and off at various points.

    The klee driven sounds are pretty straightforward - the fixed pitch outs (all three) are all going to motm 300 vco's 1v/oct ins, saw outs, and the vco's are all tuned to the same pitch, except one thats up an octave. All of these through standard motm vca's controlled by my modded motm eg's, driven by the 3 gate outs. The first entrance is going through a motm 480 filter, the second voice is through a mankato filter, and the third voice is through the tellun doomsday machine and then a motm 440 filter (which is a really delicious sounding combo). I finally have a real mixer (motm 830), so no wierdness there this time. Some little fiddling that occurred during the thing - I ran cables from the various glide outs from the klee to the freguency mod ins on the various filters - mixed them up, so filter freq is different than the vco freq, and the various knobs that control all this are turned on during the piece. I also turned on a bit of bleed on the vca's near the end - I like that effect, and meant to do it earlier, but forgot.

    Video is an attempt to have 2 cameras going - a stationary one on a tripod, and a handheld, my little flip thing. The handheld one was mostly useless - I couldn't really run the synth and keep the camera focused on anything except for some brief moments. Edited in Final Cut Express, my first time using it, and there was a steep learning curve, hence no niceties such as cross-fades and titles. Maybe next time. Had to get some help from the apple support forums along the way - very handy resource! The audio was captured seperately in cubase (stereo this time!), and a little reverb was added, but that's all.

    That's it!

Source :
Stephen Drake pictures :


Stephen said...

Thanks for posting this! And thanks for the kind words - I'm glad others seem to enjoy this, as it was great fun to make. I enjoy your blog, sorry I didn't know about it before, but I'll be watching it regularly now. Thanks!
Steve Drake

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