The bear is back

I’ve had my MFB Tanzbar for over a year now and the only issue I had with it was that it didn’t always switch patterns properly when synced externally by CV. I contacted MFB, sent them a video explaining the issue. Turns out it was in fact an oversight in the firmware and they fixed it right away. I sent my bear to them and received it back promptly. So now I’m a super happy noodler because it works flawlessly! In this little clip I’m not even using any pattern switches, but that’s not the point.


Dancing Hadron Collider

The other day I saw that it’s already been 5 months since my last single take video. Although I’ve been having lots of fun with some new modules, I just didn’t get to recording a video and posting it. Also because I have been busy working on the EP and some other side projects. Just to let you all know I’m still alive, I put up this little jam using my MFB Tanzbar with the summing cable I mentioned in my previous post.


Super easy DIY summing cable

The Doepfer A119 module has a balanced mono external input. My MFB Tanzbar has a stereo output. Both are TRS connections (tip, ring, sleeve), but configured differently. So if you want to pull your dancing bear audio into your modular you either need two input modules or you need to find a way to sum the stereo channels into a mono channel. With a mixer in between this is no problem. Just take an aux output and plug that into the A119.

But what if you’d want to connect the drum machine, or any other stereo source for that matter, directly to the A119? This is where the different TRS connections come into play. The balanced mono input on the Doepfer expects the tip and the ring leads to carry a hot and a cold version of the same signal. The cold signal being the polarity-inverted version of the hot signal. The A119 then takes the difference of the hot and the cold signals to put it back together into one mono signal. This theoretically means that if you feed it a stereo signal with no inversion going on, everything that is panned exactly in the middle of the stereo image effectively gets cancelled.

Let me explain. Imagine the exact same sine wave on two channels. At any point in time, the difference between the two waves is zero. So all sound that is equally present in the left and right channels will not make it to the outputs of the A119. And it doesn’t. I tried. While it is in a way funny to hear nothing more than some faint toms and claps, and to see the theory actually holds up in practice, it’s not very functional to bring your massive sounding beat into your modular.
So I needed to find a way to sum the stereo output to a mono signal without the use of an external mixer. I quickly found out that:

1. You shouldn’t use an insert cable, aka stereo to mono splitter in reverse because of impedance issues.
2. Off-the-shelve summing cables do not exist.
3. Making a summing cable yourself is not that complicated.

I found this source and decided it was trustworthy: http://www.rane.com/note109.html I took a TRS cable, got rid of the TRS connector on one end, soldered the resistors into place and wired up a TS jack. And lo and behold, it works. Off course this is not a balanced mono signal. But the Tanzbar outputs are not balanced anyway and the A119 handles an unbalanced mono signal just as well. So now I’m back to what it’s all about: filtering, overdriving, gating, delaying and bit crushing those beats in my modular.

Good luck building your own. Drop me a line if you need help.


EP in the works

This year will see the release of my first four track EP, with the (working) title ‘Sisamat’. I’ve just about finished three tracks. So with 10 months still to go in 2017 I think I can safely state that I will wrap this up before the year ends. Not only is this post meant to provide my ample fan base with this information, it is also intended to keep the pressure on myself.

I really enjoy my single take video recordings and the occasional individual tracks I produce. However, style-wise and sound-wise it is not very coherent. So I wanted to challenge myself to compose four tracks that would be in a way sonically related to each other. My goal with that is not only to finish that EP, but also to find a way into my own sound and my own style. Everything I’ve done so far is kind of all over the place. As of now, I’ve almost finished three tracks and I’m quite happy with where it’s going. I find myself using relatively simple melodies and progressions, very dense sounds and as much as possible an organic feel. For the lack of better words, that is. It’s really not that easy to describe music and sound using only words. But it won’t be long until you will be able to be your own judge and you can find your own words to describe my music (please be gentle).

It is all being recorded using the modular. I’m not a purist by any means, but plugins are used as little as possible. This really helps to maintain that organic feel that I’m looking for. It also restricts the possibilities of doing polyphonic stuff, at least with the setup I have. This forces me to think more thoroughly about which sound I want which notes to play, rather than just slamming down a few chords to support a lead sound. My experience is that restrictions often stimulate creativity.

About the title. Sisamat means ‘four’ in Inuit language. The track names will be the four official base words for snow in Inuit. Contrary to popular belief, there aren’t really 50 words for snow in Inuit. Read The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax by Geoffrey K. Pullum if you want to know more. It’s an hilarious piece, even if you’re not at all interested in the actual question.

Oh, and ‘releasing the EP’ can take any form as far as I’m concerned. Soundcloud, bandcamp, whatever. I might even consider offers from major labels.


Purple Pizza: SB-Six and El Campesino modular jam

SB-Six and I are planning to do our first live modular performance somewhere in 2017. This is the recording of another jam/rehearsal session. Aiming for a performance of at least a half hour straight, we talked about transitioning to a completely different patch/sound along the way. In this session, at some point I thought we were about done so faded out my sounds. SB-Six just kept playing to the point that I realised: “SB is not done with this session at all!” So I pulled some cables, re-arranged some stuff and jumped back in. From there, we built back up to a combined patch that was something completely different from where we started.


Bowed Strings Kindof

The Doepfer A196 PLL is one of my favourite modules. Unpredictable as hell. But once you find a way to tame it, it can really sound awesome. In this case it generates some kind of overtones that resemble a bowed string instrument in my opinion. I also like to use odd measures, should do that more often.

This post is pre dated. One of the purposes of this website is to put all my musical productions into one place. In order to get my archive more or less accurate, I chose to date stuff that was produced before the launch of this website at or around the time they were originally published.


Dixie Locked Loop

At some point in 2016 the idea popped in my head that I might want to take my modular out for an actual performance for actual people some day. Since I didn’t want to lug around that humongous Doepfer monster base I figured I should downsize and get a nice looking portable case. This would also speed up the patching process. I’m super happy with this one and found out you don’t necessarily need a big case or a lot of stuff to get big sounds.

This was all with 200hp of eurorack modules and an arturia keystep for transpositions.

That first public performance is yet to happen still…

This post is pre dated. One of the purposes of this website is to put all my musical productions into one place. In order to get my archive more or less accurate, I chose to date stuff that was produced before the launch of this website at or around the time they were originally published.


First collab session with SB-Six

Making music is a lot of fun by yourself, but even more fun when you’re doing it together. SB Six and I decided we should try to do some live jamming from scratch on our modulars. I brought over my little orange case to his place and this is one of the recordings we made. I was really surprised by the result. Didn’t really expect much since we didn’t even know each other at all before this. But for a first jam session this turned out pretty well.

This post is pre dated. One of the purposes of this website is to put all my musical productions into one place. In order to get my archive more or less accurate, I chose to date stuff that was produced before the launch of this website at or around the time they were originally published.


Harmonics Melody

Using the same oscillator output for different signal paths can often lead to interesting results. Sometimes you wouldn’t even imagine that they came from the same source. In this case it may be somewhat obvious. By multiplying the Braids output and using different processing and envelopes on the VCA’s, there’s both slow and distant pad kind of sounds and brighter short percussive sounds.

This post is pre dated. One of the purposes of this website is to put all my musical productions into one place. In order to get my archive more or less accurate, I chose to date stuff that was produced before the launch of this website at or around the time they were originally published.


Braids Geiger Countered

WMD Geiger counter is a one of a kind module. With no effort at all it can absolutely destroy any signal that it is fed. However, it is also quite capable of more subtle treatments of incoming waveforms. In this patch I used a relatively subtle approach while edging towards a harsh noise kind of sound.

This post is pre dated. One of the purposes of this website is to put all my musical productions into one place. In order to get my archive more or less accurate, I chose to date stuff that was produced before the launch of this website at or around the time they were originally published.