So I’ve been doing the classic “hit record, patch stuff, have an hour of material that mostly is terrible, repeat” experience with the latest, greatest addition to my repertoire: my Braids, Ripples, Grids, Links, Dual ADSR and Rubicon and Micro VCA.
I bought the Rubicon to go with Braids and get some wacky dual FM syncing with “through zero” modulation possibilities. For the past few weeks, I’ve been kicking myself for not buying a companion oscillator for the TZFM input on the Rubicon because it needs a sine wave for FM (duh). Then, despite the fact I read it 20 times, last night I finally remembered that Ripples puts out squeaky clean sine wave. Needless to say I spent the next 4 hours getting totally lost. The Rubicon is an unwieldy beast- very very sensitive and touchy- you can pretty much never turn the freq. knob, the Symmetry (+/- FM level) or the TZFM knob and and get back to a spot you previously were- it’s always a little different. But it produces some goregrous FM timbres and also some really really harsh and evil sounding stuff. I’m not getting rid of it any time soon (the LFO is just monstrous going into BRAIDS FM input…).
Still, I listened to the recording and thought “meh”. But then I said screw it, let’s just build a percussion section around it and see how it sounds…and, wow- that’s working suprisingly well. Every time I thought “It’s time for a drum break”, the recording seemed to be right there with me. It was like making music with a copy of myself. Then I figured I’d slap a bassline in there and- wow, how is it possible that what sounded so tame and/or useless comes to life like this? Then I decided to seek out some track stems of a certain artist who is my avatar and see how I could fit a few tracks in there, as he’s a modular guy and user of non-traditional synth insanity on a lot of his tracks.
It all works so well, I just sat and built a track across the entire 800 bar recording…of course the finished product will be 1/4 of that , but this made me realize why modulars are s great- by zoning out and tweaking in a trance for a long time, you give up on making it sound the way you want a synth to sound and then: magic happens. You step outside yourself and, like a Ouija board, subconsciously you give into it and it reveals things to you. So then, when you sit down with it later trying to build a track with the recording, you’re less of a blank slate and you judge it through the same standards you had when you sat down to use the modular in the first place.
But when you get over that and throw a basic track together, the layers and undercurrents you were chasing before reveal themselves again and it directs you were to go with the track. Very very cool stuff. It’s almost like it removes your musical brainwashing and lets you get to the core of something new (or new to you).
Anyone else able to pin down what makes their modular so valuable to them?