Clouds Successor

I can only assume this means the new Clouds is underway?

Especially considering the description for the original Clouds has the word “Birds” in it.

PARTICLES, GRAINS AND BIRDS. FLOCKS, SWARMS AND CLOUDS

Nothing is underway.

I currently have stopped developing Eurorack modules, not sure when or if I’ll get back to it.

There is nothing to read, no teasers, nothing.

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Got it. Thanks for letting us know. You’ve gotta do what’s good for you and what makes you happy! The original Clouds is more than enough for me.

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In some ways that’s really good to hear.

You should only do something creative when you feel inspired and can do it with love. Hopefully that time will come again but if it doesn’t, that’s okay too.

As excited as we all get by the things you create, we know that your health and happiness are always more important.

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I’m new to Eurorack and my first two purchases were Rings and Veils, and I hope that my next purchases will be Marbles and Clouds. I have all of your Softube Modular modules and hope more will be released even as I build a hardware Eurorack setup.

I don’t know you @pichenettes other than listening to an interview and seeing a handful of posts, but even before I was interested in Eurorack, I was drawn to the design and philosophy of your modules. I kept asking myself why I was looking at Rings or Clouds when I really love traditional poly synths. There is just something that connects with me about Mutable Instruments. I didn’t know they were popular and that lots of people used them, nor did I care.

Whatever it is that you puzzling or working out (forgive me if that is an inaccurate appraisal, I only know that you said you have stopped developing modules), I hope you find it and I wish well in your pursuit of truth, beauty, peace and everything you need or aspire to be.

I don’t want to make you feel responsible for all of us who have Mutable Instruments modules, but just want to say how much you have affected a small part of this world with the joy of your creations. My music will have a little of your DNA in it and will be better for it.

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I, for one, am very sorry to hear that. But good luck with whatever you choose to do anyway

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I’m sorry to be “ that guy”, or if this question is seen as intrusive in any way ( it’s not meant to be) but should we take that to mean that we should not expect to see a clouds successor until or unless you pick up the baton again?

I may be being obtuse, but my understanding was that “clouds 2” had been delayed due to component supply issues, in other words that development was done, and the module was ready to go once supply was resolved. Previously there was a thought that we might see the module in Q3/Q4 this year.

If this is not the case, and clouds 2 is on hold until further notice, I know many would like to know that as a firm fact.

Sorry to add to any pressure you may feel over this. If you never touch Euro again, your legacy is immense, and I’m very grateful for all that you have done.

Whatever the future holds, bonne chance, and best regards, K

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I’m repeating myself too frequently about this, but there’s a world between a working prototype (as indistinguishable from the real thing as it can look!) and the module you can buy at Control. A lot of testing, passing the FCC/CE compliance tests, more software and hardware testing, designing the hardware and software testing tools for the factory, figuring out everything manufacturing related, then testing and validating the pre-production units, which themselves take 2 or 3 months to be made because of the lead times for parts and the tooling. Then a few more months before a proper release.

So having finished the software and hardware doesn’t mean anything really, besides having done the fun 20% of the work :slight_smile:

The first prototype of “Clouds 2” was built with an STM32F7 and there were some questionable design choices (mono audio input, Rings style!). When ST announced the STM32H7, I saw an opportunity to improve the design, and go back to stereo processing. The supply of the H7 was initially chaotic, and there are some embarrassing flaws in the first production runs of the chips. A new revision of the chip will be produced, allowing a faster clock rate. Good!

At this point, the status of the project is that some hardware using the H7 is built, the software has not been ported yet to this hardware (a lot of the glue code between the drivers and the DSP code – which runs fine on a desktop computer – is missing), and no sound-balancing has been done. It could be that once this thing is running and patched in a small system, it doesn’t feel right at all and some major design decisions will have to be revised. Or it could be okay, but some minor hardware revisions might be necessary, moving some LEDs up or down or something. So we’re far from being done.

Assuming what was my usual work rate, that would mean 3 or 4 months of work, then 9 to 12 months for the project to go through the usual release pipeline I’ve mentioned above.

My work rate is currently zero because there’s a massive feeling of dread surrounding this project.

My contract manufacturer needs a lot more “surveillance” to deliver the same quality as before, so I can’t imagine what it’d be like to launch large batches of a new product with huge expectations. Dealers are telling me they’d like to preorder batches of 100 or 200, that’s unheard of. I need to continue testing the waters with another contract manufacturer – until then, it’s unclear in which conditions I should have this thing made.

Releasing this thing will put me under continuous pressure for 5 or 6 months. I can’t deal with that with serious surgeries possibly on the horizon at unknown dates.

I’ve been to some level affected by some “crass” use of the open-source code, yet I don’t want to release a closed-source outlier in the Mutable Instruments line. I’m struggling with that (I found solace in doing little analog projects).

I find it much harder to enjoy the activity of coding and developing modules. It feels painful because I can’t help thinking how much of it has been a distraction and a coping mechanism for avoiding more serious issues. And in the long run, it doesn’t seem like a sane move to stay in a line of work where absolutely everybody knows my history. I’m starting to get a sense of how much of a difference it makes to interact with people who don’t know about my past, versus people (no matter how accepting, tolerant, woke…) who have been exposed to all the old stuff. Some people are comfortable with being visibly trans, but well, I’m learning that it’s not my cup of tea. Maybe I’m too old for that. I’m waiting to find the next niche I can disappear in.

So the only remaining motivation for me is a weak sense of accountability, the obsession with tying up loose ends and giving proper closure. Whether this will dominate the dread is unclear. Whether closure is a good fuel to drive the development of a module is debatable too (one would observe, though, that the original Clouds was released for similar motivations).

To go back to the original question: there are no firm facts. Maybe something will happen to give me back some motivation. But this is not a kickstarter and I don’t owe anybody a finished product by such or such date.

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Thank you for the detailed reply. That is all very clear. Best wishes in all that you do, K

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I’m so sorry you’ve been affected by the “crass” use of open-source. For me, that’s what I love about your modules! I’ve loved playing with the code - it’s more than half of the fun of eurorack for me! I’ve bought your modules because I could look at the code first, I could play in vcv rack and I could look at the eagle files to learn.

I’m eternally grateful for your use of open source - I’ve loved playing with your ideas and adapting them. (My most recent module is a 4hp triple S+H based on kinks).
I’d never sell any of these ideas ! And I’ve put everything I’ve done on GitHub. It’s really fired up my interest in dsp and analog hardware which I thought I had left behind years ago!

I realise that your way of working is very personal and solitary but if there’s anything the open-source community can do - testing/code development/hardware testing/building prototypes, etc - let us know - we owe you a big debt ! (I appreciate you probably wont want anyone else involved but it’s a genuine offer… in the spirit of open-source trying to give back…). I hope this doesnt come across as being twattish !

Anyway, all the best - thanks for writing such a detailed explanation - it’s appreciated!.
Good luck with whatever comes next in life etc :slight_smile:

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@pichenettes You are an absolutely wonderful person. Truly a great mind. Enjoy your time and keep on being you.
All the best!

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You’ve given the music community more gifts than you can possibly imagine. We need nothing else than to see you give yourself the love you deserve.

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@pichenettes it is we who owe you so much

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The post above was intended to be an explanation about the Clouds 2 situation.

By being focused on this situation, it failed to convey that the time not spent working on Clouds 2 is not spent crying in misery. I’m making progress in other areas. Hope, renewal.

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all power and respect to you, Émilie :sparkling_heart: personally, i share some of your uncomfortable sense of being in an industry where everyone knows your history (in this specific way). i know you’ll find a healthy way forward in whatever you decide to do next.

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I can’t imagine anything being more important than the process feeling right. Especially where the designs that made followers out of all of us are so unique and personal. Especially where OG clouds is such an artistic application. I’m glad you wouldn’t let yourself be led around by pressure. It will happen when it happens, and that’s a big part of what will make it awesome.

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Please remember that even if you stop today, your contributions to the modular scene are immeasurable. You don’t owe anybody anything at this point. You’ve given so many of us so much joy from your products. I really hope you carry that with you during difficult times. Thanks for being you and best of luck in your next phase of life

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I think it deserves mentioning that although this is a public forum, readable without a login, that doesn’t mean that you are at liberty to post content from here to elsewhere. A few hours ago someone posted screenshots of some of Emilie’s comments, above, out-of- context and almost certainly without permission, in the Eurorack group on Facebook. The result was a hundred comments also immediately, mostly supportive and appreciative and understanding, but also the usual smattering of entitled “oh dude, now I’m never going to get my Clouds 2 module, what a bummer!” comments, not to mention a few of the typically misinformed “it’s open source so anyone can do what they fucking like with it” comments.

Anyway, I suspect that if Emilie had wanted to post on Facebook, she would have done so, and cross-posting out-of-context screenshots is not helpful. As Jacques Derrida was reputed to have said (except in French): “Every interview I have ever done with a journalist has been a catastrophe of misunderstanding.” The same applies to cross-posting screenshots to large Facebook groups, I dare say.

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I truly appreciate that you take the time to share your thoughts and give us insight. I wish people would stop re-posting elsewhere out of context. It either turns into bizarre claims that a Clouds successor is nearing release or that MI is somehow done. Both of which feed into the community being overly focused on gear and forgetting that many manufacturers are just one or two people, real people, with lives that can be impacted by us just like we can be impacted by them. We shouldn’t be making things more difficult or stressful for the people behind it all. I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself and focusing on other things and I hope the rest of us can learn to relax. I love modular, but the community can be a bit much sometimes. And thanks for clarifying the mood. I think a lot of us are projecting and turning it into more of a downer than it needs to be :slightly_smiling_face:

It’s really interesting to learn more about the process that goes into developing, manufacturing, and releasing a module (and the subsequent support). I don’t think enough of the end users realize just how involved and time consuming it is. It’s not like Apple or Samsung constantly churning out new phones and always having another on its way.

Would it ever make sense to undo discontinuing the original Clouds? Not sure if this would help people to back off instead of focusing on the successor so much, but maybe it would help fill the gap. Based on your post, I’m guessing it’s not that easy, but with all the growth in Eurorack since it was discontinued I’m sure there are a lot of new users (and old) who would prefer to support MI and have the real deal instead of all the ugly, cramped clones out there. That’s probably still stressful though and I certainly wouldn’t want that for you. This is just me disliking the clones taking advantage of the situation and wanting people to stop chomping at the bit for “Clouds 2.” (For the record, I think it would be cool to do something jewelry themed like “Gems” or “Crystals.” Makes me think of creating a wash of glittery sound from a small grain :grin:)

I think you’re right about moving on to something where you’re not so well known. I’ve had to start over both socially and career wise multiple times in my life due to moving or other situations and I’ve found some real advantages with people getting to know me as the person I am at that time rather than who I was. I really struggled with it at first, but now I enjoy it and can’t stand to stay in one place or doing one thing for too long. It’s enabled a lot of growth. I hope you find something that feels right and wish you all the best.

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@pichenettes

I’m curious to know to what extent you consider usage of open-source code to be “crass”? Fully assembled models that physically resemble the originals? Mini/micro/nano versions? DIY PCBs of the above? Code ported to other systems?

From a point of legality the people making these have done nothing wrong. You said yourself that you would prefer to support those people who bought your original versions. The evolution of cloning/derivatives went in an unexpected direction, but perhaps not totally unthinkable if you consider the current “heat” in all things Eurorack.

One possible solution to restrict undesired propagation of your ideas would be to keep the software open, to allow software hacking, but to close or limit the info of hardware. E.g. if anything, provide a schematic only or even just port assignments on the MCU. People may still clone/derive things, but it would significantly increase the effort on their parts, rather than pulling the .brd from Git and sending it to fab.

Perhaps a bit selfishly, I really hope that you continue to produce amazing musical tools. But you should definitely only do it if it continues to inspire you and brings happiness into your life.

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