Lovely December wiggles

I’ve finally found the perfect use for the Patchblock I received as a kickstart early adopter one year ago.  Below is a video demonstrating it providing 2 additional LFOs to the Arturia Microbrute Mod-Matrix.

I altered Erstlaub’s Simple CV LFO patch adding Smirky’s Latch suggestion and duplicating the modules to allow for separate mono outputs.

The Microbrute is a recent acquisition – an small, useful Monosynth which has replaced the Novation Nova.  It may seem slightly questionable to swap 16 voice analogue modelling for a single voice true analogue however the main reason is that I found it frustrating to program and was only using the bare minimum of its features.  Its multitimbral extensibility is really the domain of live work i’m not doing and the analogue modelling to my ears is inferior to what I can get from a number of soft-synths (i’ll post about my favourite new soft-synths soon).  The tweakability was also a plus however this didn’t translate to easy patch programming – the Microbrute is all about tweakage and is much more manageable.

It’s not the only new hardware synth either.  I recent lucked out on a Casio CZ-101 for sale locally.

Casio CZ-101 with original programming / instruction books
Casio CZ-101 with original programming / instruction books

I was intrigued about the CZ series after reading about Phase Distortion in relation to FM synthesis.  The principle is similar but in practice PD seems much more manageable.  Essentially you have two digital oscillators (a variety of waveform types) running through multistage envelopes that change the pitch, alter the waveshape and the amplitude.  The signal flow is very similar to a subtractive approach with the main difference being the use of a waveshaper instead of a filter.  Programming from the hardware doesn’t seem to be as difficult as a DX-7 however the recently released Virtual CZ not only provides an apparently accurate recreation of a CZ-1 but it works as a fantastic programmer for the CZ series.  Very interesting running the two simultaneously, noting the differences with the same settings between hardware and software.  While the software is more lush with unison, polyphony and airier high-end the hardware is dirty, saturated and buzzy.  Together they mesh really well.  Here is an example of a quick jam running both Virtual and Real CZ through the RC-505 Loopstation.

So it’s Christmas time and I feel like i’ve already got my presents.  The only other thing I need is time and with 2 weeks off… maybe i’ll find some.

It was my son’s birthday on Wednesday – the old “can’t believe he’s three” – yet it feels like the last years have crawled for me. It was such a beautiful day with pre-storm winds gusting through the trees – so I made a short track which i’ve dedicated to him.  It uses all the new toys + Nord Modular and Melda MPower soft-synth.

Peace — out!