Modular Diary

At the Danskmodular meet-up in Copenhagen last week Konstantine got into explaining how one might approach creating a chaos patch on an analogue modular system without using a random/chaos module.

He demonstrated how the logistic equation k*x*(1-x) might be reformulated as k*(x-x^2) so as to make it easier to patch. (Some source reading on the equation can be found here.)

I had a go at putting it together in Audulus, both using the expression node as well as simply using the multiplication and addition nodes.

It turns out to be a simple way of achieving something similar to the kind of chaos spectrum Rob Hordijk achieves with his Rungler. The logistic equation outputs a constant value when k is smaller than 3, followed by a period of doubling with a second bifurcation at 3.5, chaos shortly after 3.577, and 3-step period around 3.83.

It also reminded me of @biminiroad’s look at the difference between chaos and randomness in one of his Audulus live streams almost exactly two years ago.

I’ve put the patch up on the Audulus forum.

Modular Diary – 017

The interesting thing with modular systems is that things can be fed back into themselves. The O-Coast Krell that got me started with all of this is a good example. The generative aspect puts one in a very different position from the prog rock ‘keyboard wizard’ of the 70s. The person ‘playing’ the modular is potentially both listener and performer.1

Oscillators and filters can be feedback loops within themselves – which can then be connected together to form larger systems in which everything feeds back into everything else. Cicuits such as Rob Hordijk’s Rungler, Benjolin and Blippoo Box embrace the chaotic behaviour that can arise, with the player more in the role of steering the direction of the sound than using it as a form of ‘expression’.

Nicky Case recently presented a wonderful talk at The Long Now Foundation: Seeing Whole Systems. He visualises differences between linear cause and effect thinking, and complex systems in which everything influences everything else, covering examples from nature and social constellations to health and economics. He suggests some tools (and has also written games and apps) that might help us learn how to steer and play the chaos.

And that’s exactly what a lot of modular people are doing.

  1. See Walker Farrell’s thoughts on his own back and forth bewteen generative systems and improvisational input in the Cycling 74 interview with Zeos Greene.