Friday, March 13, 2020

Heading Over to Patreon

Time to sunset this ol' blog. I've enjoyed putting this out, but I'm going to collapse my blogging into my Patreon site:

You don't have to give me money (although I'd be honored if you did...), but it's just convenient to have all of my writing sit in one place. So both my modular and Max-based writing will end up landing there.

But, because it's also where I talk about my podcast, there will probably be some interesting crossover among subject areas. Maybe that's what I'd really like, too.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Inspired by Modular

Dang, Martin Russ really came through on this one. After being inspired by a Ricky Tinez modular jam on YouTube, Martin decided to find a way to do something within Ableton Live - and without having to resort to MFL coding. This takes advantage of a seldom-used feature of Live (clip envelope length variation) to create the kind of evolving, variant kind or track that I always enjoy.

Check it out to see if this doesn't give you a reason to explore those clip envelopes!


Saturday, February 1, 2020

Passive Non-modules

Thanks to industry insider Mike Metley for pointing out this Kickstarter: an inexpensive way to pull together those necessary, but only occasionally needed, accessories without eating up HP in your Eurorack system. Frankly, that gate-combiner will be worth its weight in gold, and who couldn't use a little more touch action in their rig!

Only good for the next few hours, but I'm sure there'll be some available after-the-fact. Check it out!


Friday, January 17, 2020

Taking my Time, Getting it Right

OK, this is a new one for me...

I wanted to set up my studio modular system to be more convenient for me, and I also wanted to integrate my 'living room' modular easily for studio use. So I had an idea - and I wanted it to fit in the small amount of space available on the left-side of my Platform desk.

It's taken several months to get this right, but I'm loving it so far. Super simple, but working well - because I gave it time to become 'right'. I started with a basic end table I bought off of Amazon:

It was a little short for my needs, but the other dimensions were perfect. I bought and assembled it, and used some riser blocks that came with my Platform to raise it about an inch-and-a-half. Perfect. This was where the 7u Intellijel case was going to sit, using a Make Noise 'Blued Steel System Stand'. That thing is over-engineered by 20x, but it is real nice, sturdy, and angles properly for my use.

I used the 7u in this system for a while, and it served me well in the studio. But I did want to make it easy to add the 4u 'living room' system I'd been using for more sequencing options. So I purchased some keyboard stand arms from On-Stage (the arms you would use with an A-frame stand), and attached them to the metal crossbar at the front of the table - and created a back-support for the arms with a 1x3 piece of wood. The result was this simple table setup:

It took forever to get those front arms delivered, so I had to wait a while. But when they came, and I got the right screws and stuff, it went together like a nice puzzle. The result is the setup you see at the top of this post, and it sits just off the left-hand side of the Platform desk, looking the God's Own Modular. Love it!


Friday, January 10, 2020

Hell, yes!

Reverb did the thing:

It's a great look back at the Arp 2600, which Korg is reissuing. And yes, I put my order in!


Monday, December 30, 2019

Back and Forth

At the left side of my "living room" modular, I'm having a Battle Royale between two great modules. On the one hand is the ALM/Busy Circuits Pamela's New Workout, which is a powerhouse of time-sync'd outputs - including LFOs, Euclidian rhythms, random selections and time divisions. On the other hand is the Xaoc Zadar (#2 of 2, since I have one in permanent installation in my studio case...), which gives me a quad set of envelopes/LFOs - and that have satisfyingly long times - exceeding 30 minutes in some cases.

I go back and forth...

The PNW is great as a master clock, and does a great job of rhythm division work (which is great, in combination with the Bitbox, for rhythmic goo). When I have this in the setup (in combination with the expander, which provides MIDI to the Toolbox), I tend to do rattling bangers that are heavy on the rhythm, and light on the ambience.

When the Zadar is in play, I tend to take advantage of the long timeframes to make much more ambient, fluid work. Also, some of those shapes in the higher banks of Zadar presets can provide real 'human-sounding' LFO action, and I love to draw those in.

I really like having a settled system, but this seems like it will be a forever swap-out situation. Too bad I can't get one of those other modules to be 10HP thinner!


Monday, December 23, 2019

A Hard Decision...

Making module decisions can be difficult - and often are informed by talking with other modular users. In last week's podcast chat with Eric Schlappi (, he talked about his performance rig, and the fact that he was more than willing to dedicate 20HP on the 4ms Dual Looping Delay as part of that setup.

Which got me to remembering - I did a lot with the DLD, and bailed only to dive deep into the Clouds. But now I find myself with two Clouds and no dedicated delay, and am kinda wishing for A Better Way. I found an inexpensive DLD on Reverb, and it is rocketing to my house as we speak.

One thing, though - I hate the white-colored faceplate on those things. So, luckily, grayscale is still making the alternative faceplate for the DLD, so that went on order right away as well. It would seem that I'm all set, right. What was so hard about this decision?

It's this:

Oh My God, that's a sexy beast. Whispering sweet loops into my ear, and little touchplate geegaws for live performance, and alternative start points and loop lengths, and...

... it is almost $600. So I'm going to spend some time with the DLD, remembering the fun I had with that. But if you know me, you can bet that I'll find a way to talk about this one sooner rather than later!