I may have already stumbled into the beginnings of a theme for album #9: something in the general region of wavefolding, shaping, nonlinearity, geometric transformation, asymmetry. In fact I already had “asymmetry?” in a section of notes where I was brainstorming album concepts and general inspiration several months ago.
Part of the charm of the DPO I just acquired is its fantastic waveshaping section, which doesn’t just fold beautifully in a “West Coast” manner but creates a wide range of shapes that a digital wavetable VCO would be proud of. All of these varied shapes come from transformations of a simple triangle wave — not done here with mathematical calculations but with analog circuits. Derive a few shapes from this one, and then blend them to create even more.
The DPO can only do this to its own VCO B, but other modules — such as the Bubblesound cvWS which I just found deeply discounted and which fits into the remaining space left in my rack — can act on any signal. It will “correctly” convert a triangle wave and an in-phase square wave to a saw, or a triangle to a sine, given the right adjustments. But the fun comes from putting those adjustments under voltage control, and from feeding it “wrong” signals. I wrote that whole article about things that can be done with sine shapers, and have been experimenting with both the ER-301 and E370 in that respect. With both a tri-to-saw and a tri-to-sine shaper in a single module, the cvWS should be able to implement a kind of phase distortion similar to the Casio CZ synthesizers of the mid-80s, but in analog and with extra twists.
With other tools in the cabinet for nonlinear waveshaping — such as the tanh and the Filter 8 — there’s a lot to work with. So this might well end up being both a synthesis study (as Materials was for Mutable Instruments Rings) and an abstractly themed concept album.