Modular Diary – 086

Following on STS’ Harmonium, jjthrash, creator of an Audulus Game of Life, has posted a Hymnotron. It’s based on the Dewanatron Hymnotron, which is basically an ingenious instrument for playing justly intoned chords. Taking a look at some of the other instruments the Dewans have built is a little like coming across the Ciat-Lonbard instruments for the first time. They certainly present a very specific (beautifully handcrafted) world of their own. They received some attention a few years back with articles in The New Yorker and New York Times (and a nice portrait on Rhizome) after Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails used their Swarmatron on the soundtrack for The Social Network.

The technique of stacking sine tones (and in the case of the Hymnotron adding harmonics through a process of wavefolding) reminded me of the Telharmonium, which I’d come across while taking a look at the Make Noise tELHARMONIC, and the still somewhat unusual appearance of triadic harmony in the modular world.

Modular Diary – 056

A little side-note on the Turing/Quantussy/Rungler Audulus implementations: Something that I did notice while playing around with STS’s Copier and Turing Machine was that patches would open in exactly the same state as last, something that Richard Brewster also draws attention to in the post on his Audulus Quantussy.

One very interesting feature of an Audulus patch is that it will start off playing in the exact state in which it was saved. So, very much unlike the analog Quantussy, I think that the sequence of events created by the software Quantussy may be able to repeat exactly.

Following on that, Rob Hordijk’s thoughts on the differences between digital and analogue implementations of these kinds of cicuits:

Imho a rungler circuit works best in an analog electronics implementation. It is definitively more alive and surprising due to the slight instabilities in the analog circuitry. I did digital implementations, but they can’t beat the ‘organic behaviour’ of the analog versions. But this is just personal taste…

Modular Diary – 055

The Din Datin Dudero – ‘the original, esoteric analog synth for babies’ – something that caught my eye amongst all the unusual on the Ciat Lonbarde site. There’s also the Nobsrine:

It is for babies of DJs and noise musicians, who want to introduce their children to strange sounds, chaos magic, the idea of infinite degrees of relationship between tones, without the more complicated techniques involved in uper crust CIAT INSTRUMENTS.

I was wondering about the relationship between all these instruments and Rob Hordijk’s ‘patches in a box’, and sure enough, looking though the images for the Din Datin Dudero I stumble across:

Stuber shall have two knobs, a philter mechanism for audio and also for gesture, with Q control. The binary matrix reinterprets resonances, as a “Rungler.”

Here’s a video of their creator Peter B. explaining his Plumbutter.

Modular Diary – 054

After yesterday’s look at the striking Ciat-Lonbarde instruments, I got to thinking of Rob Hordijk’s Benjolin and Blippoo boxes, and specifically a comment of his about their potential status as objets d’art:

…a little device called the Blippoo box, and that type of instrument I always call a ‘patch in a box’ because it is sort of like a concoction of certain electronics that have a certain specific character of its own, …it should be playable of course, it can also be seen as maybe an objet d’art, what the French call an objet d’art, an ‘object of art’, instead of an instrument, but that is basically free for the people that have one to interpret whether you want to use it as an actual musical instrument on stage, or if you just want to have it in your room as something special next to your paintings and your other stuff…
—Rob Hordijk at Basic Electricity #15, Berlin

Modular Diary – 053

While playing around creating drone-like textures with STS’s Turing Machine, I got to thinking of Pugix’s Audulus Quantussy drones that I came across in the forum a few weeks ago. He has a nice post on his website explaining it all along with some sound examples.

I was curious to take a look at the hardware Quantussy (What is the Quantussy?) that provided the inspiration for Richard’s version, and that led me to some of the most unusual modules I’ve yet come across. As described on the website:

Ciat-Lonbarde specializes in intuitive analog organs for your atonal/chaos squishing needs. The following instruments are assembled in Baltimore out of local wood, and machine assembled circuit-boards that are hazmat free.

The circuit boards are works of art in themselves. Here’s a Reddit Inquiry into the artsy-hipster side of Synthesis, and an thread with a number of videos of these instruments in action.