PATCHABLE 0012

Widely regarded as extremely undesirable, noise is typically a phenomenon to be avoided.  Noise, frequently hurled at musicians as an insult or shouted at kids following “turn down”, gets a lot of negative usage.  This Patchable explores the positive aspect and benefits that noise can bring to a modular system.

The sometimes disregarded noise source, can be so much more than a little extra content for a filter to chew on in a subtractive patch.  For example, pink noise, when attenuated and used as a modulation source, can add a bit of instability and life to an otherwise static patch.  High passed white noise or even blue noise can make pretty great sounding hi hats.  Short bursts of noise into a very short delay with a lot of feedback is the basic structure for Karplus-Strong string synthesis. White noise into a slightly resonant filter then gated can yield some pretty good snare sounds.  Noise is a fantastic and excellent sound source for percussion of all types.

Not everyone has a noise source in their system. In that situation, you can pretty easily make a decent noise approximation by creating an FM feedback loop with 3 VCOs.  For example:

VCO 1 Sine or Tri Out > FM IN VCO 2 > VCO 2 Sine or Tri Out > FM IN VCO 3 > VCO 3 Sine or Tri Out FM IN VCO 1 > VCO 1 SAW to OUTPUT

THE CHALLENGE

Using only noise as a sound source, design as many sounds needed to create a beat or track.  You can use multiple noise sources or mult one as much you want. Then filter, gate, modulate VCAs,  ping delays or filters, sequence and whatever else you can imagine to effect the noise.

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FROM FEB 16TH – FEB 29TH

  1. Create an original piece of music. It does not have to be a complete track. Ideas are welcome.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0012 in the track title.  A completed track title would look like this: Spiral Vortex PATCHABLE-0012
  3. Upload your track to soundcloud by end of day, Saturday February 29th.
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

Patchable 0011

Most modular sequencers have a finite number of steps.  While this can seem limiting and sometimes frustrating, it can force you to be more creative.  One method of getting more dynamic rhythms from a sequencer is to restrict the step length of a sequence and play it against another that is longer.  Numbers that divide easily into each other do not work as well for this as prime numbers.  For instance a 4 step sequence playing over an 8 step sequence is the same thing.  The 4 steps will repeat twice during the 8 steps yielding a repetition with in the single eight steps.  However, an 11 step sequence over a 16 step sequence will not repeat for 11 cycles, yielding a far longer pattern before repetition.

The challenge is to experiment with sequences and clock divisions that are prime numbers to see how much variance you can get from a relatively static rhythmic structure. This does not have to be percussive, it can be melodic, noise, percussion or anything kind of sounds you like.  Also, not all rhythms must include primes.  Experiment with even and odd number and mix them with primes.  

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FROM FEB 2ND – FEB 15TH

  1. Create an original piece of music. It does not have to be a complete track. Ideas are welcome.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0011 in the track title.  A completed track title would look like this: Spiral Vortex PATCHABLE-0011
  3. Upload your track to soundcloud by end of day, Saturday February 15th.
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

Patchable 0010

Feeling inspired can often be challenging. It is not uncommon to be up against a wall and unable to see a way around. Creativity like a river, can flow when rain is plentiful, or dry up into cracked mud and dust in a drought.  For this Patchable we are challenged to draw inspiration from other sources.  Specifically from this photograph, taken by Will Ellis for his book Abandoned NYC.  What do you see and what would it sound like? 

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THE CHALLENGE

Place this photograph in sight while you patch. Use the photo to inspire your creative process. Interpret what you see and feel, then create a track that transforms your ideas into sound.

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FROM JAN 19TH – FEB 1ST

  1. Create an original piece of music. It does not have to be a complete track. Ideas are welcome.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0010 in the track title.  A completed track title would look like this: Spiral Vortex PATCHABLE-0010
  3. Upload your track to soundcloud by end of day, Saturday February 1st.
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

Patchable 0009

Many of you have likely heard the phrase, “You can never have too many VCAs.” The ubiquitous and humble VCA is one of the simplest, yet most versatile modules.  Some folks are left scratching their heads wondering why. Typically one puts a VCA at the end of their patch to control sound duration and volume with the use of a modulating envelope. However, what if you were to put your envelope through a VCA modulated by random CV then send it to the final VCA?  Well, you have now randomly modulated the level of you envelope to get dynamic volume on each trigger of your sound.

Using the same idea as above but with saw wave LFO into VCA and modulate with an envelope to get a rising saw. The green wave shows what the final output would look like.

If you modulate a sound in a VCA with some other audio, then you get Amplitude Modulation or AM synthesis,  If the VCA is Bi-polar and you do the same, you get Ring Modulation.  What would AM processed by RM sound like? Stack the VCAs, put a sound into one controlled by a square wave LFO and run that sound into another controlled by and Envelope and then a third controlled by random. Route modulation through a VCA first and only let that modulation pass when you want, instead of continuously. Create your own CV controlled Send/Return.  The options are many.

The Challenge

Explore the many possibilities of VCAs.  Create a patch and use VCAs in no less than 3 different ways.  Try to use every VCA at your disposal, the more the better. Try to use them in as many ways possible.

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FROM JAN 4TH – JAN 17TH

  1. Create an original piece of music following the above challenge.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0008 in the track title.  A completed track title would look like this: Spiral Vortex PATCHABLE-0008.
  3. Upload your track to soundcloud by end of day, Friday January 17th.
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

Patchable 0008

Band names are something we’ve all tried to come up with at one point or another. Sometimes, there is little connection between the music and band name, for example Arctic Monkeys. They could easily be be a swing band or disco. Then we have bands like Metallica, which is indisputably metal. Regardless, band names inspire mental imagery in the listener. In this Patchable we explore the music of bands that do not exist.

THE CHALLENGE

For this patchable, your task is to visit a band name generator website.  In 5 minutes or less select a band name that inspires you.  It can be funny, abstract, clever, weird, stupid or whatever you want.  Just make your selection is less than 5 minutes.

Here are some websites to get you going:

Once you have your band name, think about what that band would sound like.  What is their history, genre, era location, etc? Now, create a track in the style of that band.  

HOW TO PLAY

EXRENTED FOR THE HOLIDAYS – THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FROM DEC 7TH – Jan 3rd

  1. Create an original piece of music following the above challenge.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0008 in the track title.  A completed track title would look like this: Spiral Vortex PATCHABLE-0008 (where “Spiral Vortex” is your song name).
  3. Upload your track to soundcloud by end of day, Friday Jan 3rd.
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

patchable 0007

patchable0007

It is common knowledge that a great number of modular users suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome.  Sometimes it is about finding the modules that work for you but often it is driven by a need for the newest, coolest most baddass feature set available.  With the holidays fast approaching, it is a fine time to pause and remember what you have. Sure, there are plenty of Black Friday deals out there, but what if that neglected simple VCO you have could do more?

The Challenge

Get the most from a simple VCO possible.  Create a patch using only a single VCO as the only sound source and create as many voices as you can without multi-tracking.

Many simple VCOs offer multiple simultaneous wave outputs.  In this Patchable, you are encouraged to take full advantage of these.  Create bass, melody, percussion, and/or noise. Gate it all differently.  Mix waves, divide or multiply, filter, delay, frequency shift, chop them up or make them drone.  What you do with the waves after the VCO is entirely up to you and whatever you want to use. The VCO you use should really only have a single oscillator.  For example, STO, Spectrum, Dixie, VCOb

Some restrictions apply to this challenge:

  • The VCO you use should only have a single oscillator.
  • Do not use complex VCOs, this includes but is not limited to:
    • Modeling VCO (Plaits, Braids, Rings, etc)
    • Wavetable VCO (E352, Piston Honda, SWN, etc)
    • Dual, triple, quad or oct VCOs (DPO, Cs-L, Antiphon, etc)
    • Harmonic oscillators (Verbos HO, Stages, Odessa, etc)
    • Drum modules (no trig inputs, BIA, Fracture, etc)
  • Full voice VCOs are discouraged, but if you must, try to only use it in the manner of a single, simple VCO.  M32, 0-Coast are acceptable examples because there are single VCO.

Keep in mind, this is about getting the most from a simple VCO.  It is not meant to exclude those that do not have a simple VCO.  If you would like to participate but do not have a simple VCO, try your best to stick to the rules.  For example, if all you have is a DPO, use only one side of the DPO.

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FROM NOV 23rd – Dec 6TH

  1. Create an original piece of music following the above challenge.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0007 in the track title.  A completed track title would look like this: Spiral Vortex PATCHABLE-0007 (where “Spiral Vortex” is your song name).
  3. Upload your track to soundcloud by end of day, Friday December 6th.
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

patchable 0006

For this Patchable you are challenged to create an extended feedback patch.  In its simplest form one could accomplish feedback by plugging a module output back into one of its inputs.  This creates a circular system in which there is no beginning or end. You can choose to do audio feedback or CV but you are encouraged to try both.  You are not limited to a singular feedback patch and could create an entire feedback network.

To get you inspired, one of the more popular feedback patches is the Krell patch.  This diagram illustrates the Krell patch in a very basic form.  The EOC from a looping AD triggers a random module, random voltages are sent back to both the attack and decay time of the AD.  This creates your main feedback loop.

The Challenge

Create a feedback patch using no less than 3 modules.  Feel free to extend this using several more modules or multiple feedback patches. You are not restricted from using other gear, but modular synths must be used.  

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FROM NOV 9TH – NOV 22ND

  1. Create an original piece of music following the above challenge.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0006 in the track title.  A completed track title would look like this: Spiral Vortex PATCHABLE-0006.
  3. Upload your track to soundcloud by end of day, Friday November 22nd.
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

patchable 0005

Continuing our slow, off kilter shuffle toward the darkness of All Hallow’s Eve, for this patchable, you are compelled to draw upon the ominous energy and unresolved temperament of the tritone.  Pulling inspiration from classic horror films of the 70’s and 80s, create a track that uses the tritone in its gut wrenching deepness.

You are not restricted from using other gear, but modular synths must be used.  

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FROM OCT 18th – OCT 31st

  1. Create an original piece of music following the above challenge.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0005 in the track title.  A completed track title would look like this: Spiral Vortex PATCHABLE-0005.
  3. Upload your track to soundcloud by end of day, Thursday October 31st.
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

Patchable 0004

New York Modular Society is ready to release the hounds of hell during the October Patchable challenges. This month we cast spells and chant dark incantations to call forth shadows and demons.  

For this patchable you must create one sound that represents the zombies. Then build a track around the zombie sound that invokes the sensation of dread and doom from a zombie apocalypse.

You are not restricted from using other gear, but modular synths must be used.  Employ the dark art of sonic manipulation to strike fear into the minds of listeners.

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FROM OCT 3rd – OCT 14TH

  1. Create an original piece of music following the above challenge.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0004 in the track title.  A completed track title would look like this: Spiral Vortex PATCHABLE-0004.
  3. Upload your track to soundcloud by end of day, Monday October 14th.
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

LISTEN TO THE PATCHABLES

Patchable 0003

Autumnal Equinox

The third installment of Patchable coincidentally aligns with the beginning of Fall, the third season of the year. To celebrate fall, your challenge is to compose a track that primarily use threes.  This means 3, 6, 9 or 12 step sequences.  Triads, tritones and triplets are encouraged. Three chord progressions are welcomed.  Three oscillator synths are adored. 

 In NYMS usual fashion, you are not restricted from other tactics, strategies or equipment.  However, modular synths must be used.  The use of threes should be obvious to the listener.

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FROM SEP 19TH – SEPT 30TH

  1. Create an original piece of music following the above challenge.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-003 in the track title.  A completed track title would look like this: Spiral Vortex PATCHABLE-0003.
  3. Upload your track to soundcloud by end of day, Monday September 30th.
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

LISTEN TO THE Patchables

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