Patchable 0023


We’ve all been there. In front of your rack, ready to go, but don’t know how to begin. Or, you’ve built a phrase, loop, sound, whatever, that you really like – yet you don’t know where to take it next. Or, you’ve bought a new module, but don’t know where to begin with integrating it. OR…

You get the point. Even the best of us sometimes need a mechanism to inspire creativity. That was, and remains, a big part of why we created Patchable. Thankfully, there are other resources available to us that help draw out new thinking. 

Patch: The Card Game, released by well-known modular synthesist James Cigler late last year, is a card game that pushes a modular musician to make patch choices they may not otherwise think to make. It is a tool designed to expand skills and creative thinking when patching  a modular synthesizer. Draw inspiration based on the challenges presented on the cards, and work through them in a patch.

As Patchable purveyors NYMS was naturally super into this idea. We’ve partnered with James to put together a very special Patchable, and episode of Patchable Performers (February 26th, 9pm) to highlight Patch the Card Game, and show just how inspiring these cards can be. NYMS performers + James himself will take on the Patch: TCG Patchable, which has been modified slightly to fit a live performance environment. Details can be found below.


The first 3 sections of this are to be done before the show to prepare. This is the prepared performance each artist will perform. Nearing the end of the set, performers will do the last disruption live on air, in real time.

  • Use one of these Abstractions to begin building your set.
    • Start patching with your least favorite module
    • Goal is to use every cable you can
    • Only gates can be used as modulation
    • Use audio rate for your clock
  • Halfway into the set, pick one Progression & adapt.
    • Modulate the clock rate
    • Tune VCOs to a chord
    • Add noise
    • Sway your attack and decay times
  • After another few minutes, use one Disruption to keep going!
    • Choose any module, set its control at maximum
    • Choose any module, patch every connection
    • Choose any module, unpatch every connection
    • Choose any module, self-patch an input to an output
  • Finally, it’s time to flip a coin! Flip it live and show the audience the result; use this to close out.
    • If it’s heads: Unpatch the CV inputs on all your oscillators
    • If it’s tails: Unpatch the pitch inputs on all your oscillators


Note: no purchase required to participate


  1. Create an original piece of music using the framework above. For normal Patchable submissions, please detail about what times in the performance you implement each step, and what they are.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0023 in the track title and the number of the patchable you chose. A completed track title would look like this: TheGameisAFoot PATCHABLE-0023
  3. Upload your track to Soundcloud. 
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.


If you would like to play that show alongside James Cigler and other NYMS performers, please contact @saddleuptherobots on Discord to apply for a time slot.

Don’t forget to press record (!) and then post your set after the show.

2 thoughts on “Patchable 0023”


    This is my take on patchable 0023 TCG.

    Abstraction: only use gates for modulation. I use gates as an arranging tool to bring voices forward and then retire them again in the mix. I use a Doepfer Sequential Switch to send a 5v offset to one of four destinations as a modulating gate. For the nlc bong0 voice, it raises the pitch. “Now play the sequence up (or down!) an octave to bring it out” is another application of this technique. For the 2hp Bell, Pluck, and Moog Mother 32 “oboe”, it alters the timbre. Bell changes model, Pluck gets overdrive through RYO Optodist, and Moog receives more wave folding from Synthrotek FOLD and more opening from Fonotronik Triple Vactrol Resonator. Ginkosynthese “Seeds” just plays whenever Zlob Diode Chaos tells it to, with a square wave to its Mod CV from a Zlob Skew-Fade LFO rectangle output to mess with it some more. Frequency Central Stasis Leak has its delay depth CV modulated by a square wave from a Moog Mother 32 LFO. Befaco Percall is controlled by Grids and plays Kick from Moog DFAM and hatters from Zlob Entropy + Expander. Trying a gate to modulate the Percall decay times resulted in a mess and was disconnected.

    Progression: Change the clock rate. I switched Circuit Abbey Tick (master clock) from “normal” to “glacial” to “fast” and back to move patch from “normal” to “chill” (2:35) to “normal” (3:00) to “rave” (3:10) and back to normal (3:40). Here a twenty-minute set time frame would call for more modification of the patch to accommodate the speed/mood changes, dwelling on chill and rave longer to adapt the patch to the radically altered clock speed. Here I just hung on for the ride.

    Disruption 1: Unpatch a module. Suppose the music arranger (the Sequential Switch) died at 4:00? What to do? Patch in another source of gates of course. But the only one available (Grids is already taken) is the Robaux SWT16+. The only thing in its preset memory is the sequence for an unrelated piece, “Contented Cow.” Patch it in anyway. Now the voices jump-cut and fight instead of taking turns.

    Disruption 2: Unpatch pitch. It’s only 4:40 into the live set and the row power fails on Pitch Central (three RYO Penta sequencers and a Sonic Potions Penrose quantizer). Now what? Monotones! Panic, throw in one more clock rate change, then go back to “normal” and fade out. Before anything else breaks!

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