incoming

My spouse’s first day on her new job is today. It was quite a long search for something that met her criteria. It isn’t the most exciting career on the planet, but there is a lot to be said for a dull-ish, stable, non-irritating job with decent management and minimal exposure to the public.

I’m feeling more accepting about going back to the office myself, at the moment — I’m actually kind of looking forward to it to some extent. (Maybe part of this is because I now have a jury summons a couple of weeks later to fret about instead!) The COVID stats are trending downward. The county’s at about 50% adult vaccination. We poked around a couple of stores this weekend, including an outdoor outlet mall on a ridiculously hot and sunny day (probably the most sun I’ve gotten since 2019) and the idea of being out of the house is generally feeling less weird and scary.

Speaking of weird and scary, I noticed a few days ago that Phonogene and Portal combined are the same size as a Verbos Harmonic Oscillator. I feel like neither of these are essential modules for me — Phonogene because my Bitwig sample looping game has improved, and Portal because it’s just a weird distortion thinger and was always kind of a situational oddball.

The VHO is something I’ve been wanting since at least 2017. It featured prominently on two of my most favorite modular albums — Caterina Barbieri’s Patterns of Consciousness and Nathan Moody’s Etudes III: Red Box. It’s a clever design that I have imitated (to good effect) in the ER-301 and in Bitwig Grid, and to a lesser extent with Bitwig Organ and SonicLab Fundamental — though without really capturing the full flavor, nor all aspects of its flexibility.

I’ve held off until now because it’s big. Originally, I just didn’t have the space. Then I had “too many oscillators” and told myself to make room for VHO I’d have to drop Akemie’s Castle. Which, despite considering it many times, never happened because Castle is just too charming.

So despite adding Odessa and Manis Iteritas to my “too many oscillators” I’m getting this one too. Because I want it, and there aren’t any other needs or wants that can outweigh it.

The design is a single analog oscillator core, with the typical outputs — plus individual outputs for the first eight partials of the harmonic series, and a mix output controlled by sliders, CV inputs, and a “scan” function (like a bandpass filter) and tilt (like low/high pass). In terms of additive synthesis, eight partials is pretty primitive compared to a monster like Odessa — but having a combination of direct and macro control, individual outputs, and an analog flavor with characterful rather than pure sines and some saturation in the mixer, makes all the difference.

Even my software-based attempts at harmonic oscillators have been pretty nice in conjunction with some waveshaping and/or FM. I’m expecting this to be more than that.

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