pieces

I don’t want to write about the whole election/COVID/”president” thing right now or give it any more attention than it needs. I’ve voted. I don’t need to have dreams about this crap or wake up immediately wanting to know the current status of… things. Gah.


I have four recordings so far that might appear on the next album, and they suggest a theme by each having only one or two voices. I think I will continue in this vein. There are a couple of ways I could go with a title, but I’ll decide that when I get closer to a release.


I finished reading Harrow the Ninth and… whoo boy is it different from the first book in tone for the most part, and confusing for a while, which reflects the protagonist’s state. Excellent though. Such a unique setting for these books, and enjoyable characters. I look forward to the third book, and will have to start a new necromancer in Guild Wars 2, even though they’ll be nothing at all like Harrowhark and her rivals/comrades.


I’ve now color-coded my matrix mixer, and it does indeed provide a better visual cue to the inputs-knobs-outputs relationships, reducing the cognitive load when patching. Not quite as straightforward as having inputs in a vertical row and all jacks aligned with the knob matrix, but good enough!

I also received the Ana and Blinds, and sold the Shades. Ana is great as a waveshaper, as a general thing to plug multiple signals into and get a variety of other things out. Even with Shapeshifter’s multiple combination modes, plugging the 1 and 2 outputs into it, maybe with an envelope too, yields some fun variations. And Blinds is pretty much exactly as I expected; if it had bipolar/unipolar switches and maybe mute buttons/toggle switches it would be perfect, but it’s at about 94% as it is. But I’m going to hold onto the matrix mixer I think, as it seems a little more intuitive for feedback patching than Blinds.

I have my Starling VIA and its 4 faceplates up for sale now. META doesn’t sit entirely well with me due to its modes and unclear interface, SCANNER doesn’t fascinate me like it used to (and I have plenty of waveshaping options now that make more sense), OSC3 has some neat tricks but I crashed it a few too many times to want to rely on it, and SYNC3 is cool but I feel like I have enough tools that will cover its range of abilities.

That leaves up to 36 HP free (34 if I keep the blank next to FX Aid where it’s helping a bit with tight knob spacing). I’m waiting to see what happens with the charity auction, but here are some options I’m considering:

  • Pittsburgh DNA Symbiotic Waves. It’s an older digital oscillator that’s sort of a gritty and lo-fi proto-Cyclebox (which was the precursor to Shapeshifter). It’s a little limited in CV control and flexibility compared to more modern things but I can’t argue with the sound. Again I remind myself, I have plenty of oscillators to go around. But… it’s cool, and with a Rings and Via out, I could indulge this.
  • A real BBD. ValhallaDelay is nice but imitates a “clean-ish” guitar pedal with its filtering, lack of clock whine and inability to underclock to the point of aliasing. The Doepfer BBD I once had offered some delicious mangling opportunity, although I found 1024 stages was an awkward compromise between short resonator lengths and longer echo lengths, not great at either. I’m leaning toward a Doepfer 256-stage, which I could always patch into the feedback path of longer delays if I wanted longer times — but the Erica Pico BBD (4096 stage) has the appeal of being much smaller, a little cheaper, and letting me fit in more stuff.
  • 2hp Freez. I had one before, and while the actual freeze effect is not terribly exciting (Phonogene, Mimeophon, Purple Rain all can do it anyway), its sample reduction had a lovely character to it. This is pretty optional though, as there are some mighty tools in software to lo-fi-ize sounds.
  • A quantizer like Intellijel Scales, Sonic Potions Penrose etc. where individual notes in the scale have buttons, rather than dialing in a scale selection. I could keep using Marbles or Teletype, but the hands-on, instant setup appeals. The important thing here is, something sparser than a full scale seems to work nicer for quantization.

2 thoughts on “pieces”

  1. Pittsburgh DNA has a permanent slew on it that you can’t get rid of. I was really excited to try one, and didn’t realize that it was designed this way. It’s a shame because it has some fun, gnarly sounds, but I hate the limitation.

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