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The Black Queen – Maybe We Should

Fever Daydream out on January 29th

A longtime secret that is slowly seeping out. The Black Queen is: Steven Alexander, Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv, NIN), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan)

The Black Queen

Alessandro on RA Exchange

Apparently Alessandro is a “legend in the making”. LOL.

Alessandro Cortini’s first instrument was guitar. But when he moved from Italy to Los Angeles to study it, he fell headlong into synthesizers, and he now says it’s been ages since he’s picked up his old axe. Cortini is most widely known as a member of Nine Inch Nails, a band he’s played in and toured with on and off since the early 2000s. It was on a video shoot with the group that he came face to face with a Buchla synthesizer, and the near-mythic modular systems soon became an obsession. Over the course of the 2010s, Cortini has used his Buchla and innumerable other synths—his collection must be seen to be believed—to craft a discography ranging from thoroughly experimental ambient sounds to tracks verging on techno. Since 2013 alone, he’s released five albums under his own name: a trio of records called Forse and a pair of releases for Hospital Productions, most recently Risveglio. Jordan Rothlein caught him at the tail end of this year’s Berlin Atonal festival, where he was part of three separate performances, to hear his story.

Malekko / Roland – SYSTEM-500

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Based on the classic SYSTEM-100m modular synthesizer, the SYSTEM-500 is a fully analog recreation of one of the most revered electronic instruments of all time. Newly designed in Eurorack format, the SYSTEM-500 delivers the classic character and functionality of the original with the advantages of a modern instrument. Built in the USA and assembled in Japan, the SYSTEM-500 is made to exacting standards with top-quality components and solid controls. And it’s surprisingly affordable, turning the fantasy of finally owning this legendary instrument into reality.

Classic System. New Format.

The SYSTEM-500 consists of Eurorack format modules that you can mix and match in any combination to create the ultimate Roland modular synthesizer. Each module is completely analog and has been designed for maximum compatibility with the world of contemporary synthesizer and effects modules. The SYSTEM-500 is a compact, powerful system that opens up vast possibilities for sound design and musical exploration.

The 512 Dual VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) is a single module consisting of two voltage controlled oscillators. Each independent VCO produces frequencies across a wide range with 1V/octave tracking and dedicated pulse, triangle, and saw wave outputs. Variable pulse width is available via panel control or CV modulation. Each oscillator’s frequency can also be synchronized to the other in weak or strong modes to achieve a unique “sync” sound.

The 521 Dual VCF (voltage controlled filter) module features two separate low pass filters for modifying the timbre of audio sources. Each filter has its own dedicated controls for frequency cutoff, resonance, and a fixed high pass filter with two switchable cutoff points. Audio and CV input mixers on each channel allow the blending of multiple audio signals and modulation sources.

The 540 Dual Envelope Generator and LFO (low frequency oscillator) is a multi-purpose modulation source. This unit features two independent ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, release) envelope sections that produce variable voltages for controlling other Eurorack format synthesizer modules such as oscillators, filters, and VCAs. Each section can be triggered externally, internally, or manually with dedicated jacks for each envelope, as well as an inverted output.

The 530 Dual VCA (voltage controlled Amplifier) features two independent voltage controlled amplifiers for controlling the loudness of audio signals. Each VCA has three sliders for an audio input mixer, three sliders to mix CV inputs, and a selector switch for linear or exponential response modes.

The 572 Phase Shifter, Delay and LFO is a time-based, multi-effects module. The 572 includes a five-stage phase shifter, analog audio delay, a control voltage gate delay, and an LFO. The phase shifter has panel controls for shift frequency and resonance amount that can vary from subtle to a deep, lush analog effect. Similarly, the audio delay has independent knob control of delay time and resonance (or feedback) for short chorus-like modulation delays. Both the phase shifter and delay can be modulated by the 572’s internal LFO or external CV signals and feature wet/dry effects mix controllable via the front panel or with CV.

The LFO section has a knob for controlling frequency and features both normal and inverted output jacks. The gate delay has knobs to control threshold, delay time, and gate time for modifying incoming gate signals from other modules.



Having the previous two Driven Machine Drum sample banks, I can say without a doubt that these are among the highest quality samples for electronic percussion. For $77 (until November 25th), its an incredible deal – and if you want a taste, DMD has a 131 demo sample available. Read more about it: HERE!

Driven Machine Drums 3:

2,426 Samples subdivided into 9 percussion types
422 KICKS (deep, soft, glitch, analog, harmonic, beatbox, dirty + more)
473 SNARES (big, electric, snappy, vintage, dirty, tight, FSU, industrial, exeriemental + more)
212 CLAPS (analog, wet, classic, bent, soft, small, digital + more)
210 TOMS (analog, beatbox, electroacoustic, industrial, vintage + more)
284 PERC REAL (beatbox, hand perc, metal, ethnic, vintage, electroacoustic + more)
231 PERC SYNTH (analog cowbells, rims, bongos, congas, electro, bells + more)
273 HATS (analog, shakers, modular, inharmonic, noise, vintage/beatbox, experimental + more)
51 CYMBALS (analog, hybrid, vintage/beatbox)
270 UNKNOWN ELECTRONIC (analog glitch, bwaps, dirty electric, pings, liquid creature, random bent, harmonic glitch + more)

4 modular systems to generate fresh and unique analog percussive sounds:
MakeNoise Modular System
Wiard / Richter / Malekko Modular System
Hordijk Modular System
Serge Creature

SP-1200 processing for a classic hip-hop sounds:
Gotharman SP-Box with SP-1200 D/A converters and analog vca + filter
Modern Digital FSU machines:
Gotharman Little Deformer 2
Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas
Intellijel Shapeshifter

Physical Modeling for electroacoustic hybrid sounds:
Nord Drum 2
Korg Wavedrum Oriental
Elektron Machine Drum
Modern and Classic analog drum sources:
Elektron Rytm
Vermona Kick Lancet
Roland TR-909
TTA 808 Modules
Vintage Digital Sources:
Roland R-70
Casio RZ-1
Emu Procussion
Additional creative analog effects processing:
Cwejman MMF-6 analogue filter
Cwejman FSH-1 frequency shifter
Intellijel uFold II wavefolder
Dynacord VRS-23 analog delay
Ibanez AD-202 analog delay
Demeter RV-1 spring reverb
Doepfer A-199 spring reverb
Additional analog processing to boost harmonics and shape the samples:
Atlas Pro Juggernaut Twin (with iron and nickel transformers)
Angel Lofte Source +
NOS French Mazda Tubes
NOS Valvo Tubes
Foote Control P3S
Valley People Dynamite
Analog Equalization:
Kush Elektra Electrified Transient Equalizer (19” rack)
GML 8200
AMS Neve 1081
API 5500 Dual Equalizer

Driven Machine Drums 3

Macro Machines – Omnimod

Got some hands on time with the beta, can’t wait to mess with the final!

$385 – limited edition preorder ships early 2016
Macro Machines presents an incredibly versatile new addition in the world of eurorack modules. The Omnimod will make a powerful new ally in your adventures through the universe of sound. Omni means all, and mod stands for modulation of control voltage.

Create unique new combinations of envelopes, LFOs and step sequences quickly and easily with the simple and intuitive waveform design interface. Centered around a crisp, high contrast OLED screen, the Omnimod provides vivid visual feedback for precise editing, as well as a scope mode to aid in configuring the inputs. This allows for deep, yet intuitive control over complex modulation sequencing. Endless possibilities become child’s play.

Once you have sculpted the perfect waveforms, you can store them for later, and recall them at any time in the future. You can also use the Macro Machines Storage Strip to allow multiple modules on the same power bus line to store and recall their settings at the same time, creating something never before possible in eurorack, instantaneous system wide storage and recall of entirely different configurations.

The Omnimod features:

– 4 powerful channels of LFOs, Step Sequencing, Envelope Generation and Envelope Following, in limitless combinations.
– user friendly interface with intuitive visual feedback.
– an oscilloscope mode to visualize input signals: fine tune the extraction of triggers, select different modes, and smooth or scale envelope following.
– full storage and recall of all parameters automagically before power cycling,
– user definable waves for reusing complex individual channel settings.
– 64 storable, recallable, sequence-able, and randomize-able presets
– only 14HP wide, packs loads of useful possibilities in a small space.
Located atop the beautiful OLED screen, there are four (4) inputs and four (4) outputs using the highest quality 1/8th inch jacks and four (4) eye catching white LED buttons that continually fade to show the output of each of the 4 channels. Below the screen are two encoders, the left encoder is stepped for parameter and point selection and the right encoder allows smooth parameter editing. This simple and quick to grasp control scheme will have you mastering this module quickly, manipulating and sculpting your own unique waveforms.

Settings are automatically saved between power cycles to easily resume where you left off. If used on the same power bus board as a Macro Machines “Storage Strip” module, several banks of settings can be stored, recalled and sequenced to allow even more possibilities from studio to stage.

The Concept:

Macro Machines first product, the Storage Strip realizes an entirely new method for complete patch storage and recall using the standard eurorack power bus board. When used in tandem with their second product, the Dynamic Destiny dual 4 to 1 switch router, entirely different patch cable routings can be saved and sequenced. You can, for example, create one setting with a deep analogue sub oscillator routed through a lowpass filter, and instantly switch this to be a complex high pitch FM oscillator through a spring reverb. This gives owners a new possibility to refine and explore vastly different sounds and come back to them in an instant.

Adding the Macro Machines Omnimod to the Storage Strip and Dynamic Destiny, the user could design an entire group of different settings using any modules they currenty have, and come back to them, refine, record different takes, perform and jam with quickly accessible, reliable start points.

Macro Machines


One of my favorite companies releases another beautiful sounding plug-in. Incredible price and no iLok, which means I’ll be using this everywhere/anytime!

You will ride eternal, shiny and chrome.

ValhallaPlate is our algorithmic take on the classic plate reverberation sound. Seven original algorithms emulate the sound and behavior of real world steel plate reverbs, and take the sound into dimensions that physical plates can’t touch.

Valhalla Plate

DivKids Month of Modular Magazine

Interesting idea of consolidating and curating a scene that has blown up exponentially the past couple years. Excited to see what DivKid does with future issues! Link at the bottom.

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Issue #1 October 2015
Published on 29 October 2015 in “Music, Hobbies”, language — English. 6 pages.
Issue description:
The first issue, seems like a big step forward seeing this go live and public. Already ideas are flying around for how to develop this so feel free to get in touch about it at any of the links inside.
Magazine description:
A magazine to support and promote the modular synth scene based around the video demo work of DivKid – You’ll find news and features from around the web alongside more personal news from me and an interview each month.

DivKid Month of Modular Issue 1

Autechre Melts IDM – Austin Chronical

Great insight and interview with Autechre at The Austin Chronical.

Austin Chronicle: Are the components of chance in your music premeditated or do you stumble upon elements and allow them to run amok?

Sean Booth: Even though a lot of it is deterministic, there’s quite a lot of feedback within the software. I’ll use conditionals. If one thing is occurring, another should occur, or if one occurs too much, another should occur or not occur, but the thing occurring may also have conditionals attached to it, which relate, to say, a third thing that may have conditionals relating to the first. You can quickly get into territories where you can’t necessarily predict the output of the system.

But I still wouldn’t call that chance. I would say it’s a limitation of my brain, of not being able to perceive the pattern that’s there. When I discuss chance elements and randomness – because there are lots of different types of randomness – certainly where computers are concerned, there’s no such thing as pure random. It’s just implementations of different ways of achieving something that’s unpredictable to a human in a given context.

AC: And what about Warp’s role in the visual design of your records?

SB: Warp literally has no involvement in anything creative we do. If you see any graphics, it’s because we’ve approved them and worked with the artists. We’ve worked with a few different designers over the years. Mainly Designers Republic, who have done the vast majority of our releases. But also, a guy called Alex Rutherford. And then we did a few sleeves ourselves. In terms of Designers Republic, they’re the most awkward and the most likely to do something we don’t expect, but it’s usually something we’re into. We have occasionally not liked ideas they have come up with, but more often than not it’s something that grows on me quite quickly and I end up really liking.

Visual aesthetics obviously play into what we do. We’re visual people, which is why we put the lights off, otherwise we just think about visuals. But we don’t really think of the visual aesthetic when we’re making music. We only think about presentation when compiling for releases. And that’s partly why we use designers. They offer different vantage points.

Full Article

Richard Devine – Ascension

Ascension – Modular Patch from Richard Devine on Vimeo.

Patch experiment using the Noise Engineering Variatic Erumption x 2, and Minigorille CV graphic modules x 2. Clock output from the Tiptop Circadian Rhythms into the CV Graphic input 1, left side (purple). Then another output from the TipTop CR taken to the right side (siliver) CV Graphic module. Output 4 from the Tiptop CR sent to the left side Variatic Erumption (ext gate to the hit jack input) which would send very slow burst of random gates. The CV Graphic CV output (PONG sequencer mode 2) A and B would output bouncing ball like CV voltages to the Variatic Erumption CV Pattern, and Time/Division input. This created some very organic scattered sequencing taking one output that was triggering a Snazzy Fx Ardcore running custom frac drums patch.
The other output was running into a trigger input on the Mutable instruments clouds, which is causing the light granular scattering in between the beats. Another output from the V.E. running into the Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas, for the FM pluck like percussion sound. Next output from VE running into a 4ms RCD, random triggering spaced out burst to the clock input. From here, the output was taken (4)out to the MakeNoise Optomix set slightly open, which was running a ALM’s new “Akemie’s Castle” dual voltage controlled oscillator, running out the chord output (OSC A). From the Akemie’s Castle the output is going into a Tiptop Z-DSP processed with the The Halls of Valhalla card running program 7 (Asgard). Mult output also taken to the Strymon Big Sky pedal running in “Chorale” mode mix completely wet for delicate melodic swells. Making the rich choral timbres. Another gate output from the Noise Engineering V.E. running into the Mutable Instruments (mystery) module. Output from here sent to the Qu-Bit RT-60 effect module, which is also being triggered (for effects program change) via by the 5 division output from the 4ms Rotating Clock Divider.
Kick drum created using the MakeNoise telHarmonic module, running into a Optomix. Snare and hi-hat sounds courtesy of two Ladik D-333 Rom players. One running the Snares card, and another running hi-hats. Both outputs being summed into the Synthrotek DLY module. The delay input being modulated by a modcan QuadLFO output 1 slow S&H. First sequenced notes via the Mutable instruments Braids running the new “HARM” additive harmonics mode. The quantization was set to “Oinian”. Second Braids for other harmony running the “OPSK” smooth sine like melody, VCA mode set to on, with short decay for pluck like quality. Signal for both braids are being sent to another Qu-Bit RT-60 running program number 1-Reverb. Quantization set to “Oinian”. Bassline sound created with a Intellijel Shapeshifter output 1, then being run into intellijel uVCF filter in LPF input, then the signal goes out a Qu-Bit RT-60 in program 1 Reverb.

Download the free track
Noise Engineering – Variatic Erumption
Minigorille CV Graphic Module

Trent Reznor | Archetype of a Synthesizer

Great interview/monologue of Trent’s beginnings with synthesizers.

Through personal stories, Trent Reznor recounts his relationship with an iconic analog synthesizer and describes how it has fit into his creative process over his storied career.

Original score by The Haxan Cloak, co-producer of Bjork’s Vulnicura. Befitting the occasion, the artist used a Minimoog Voyager and a prototype Mother-32, Moog’s newest synthesizer, to create the score.

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