where I left off

So, halfway through February. Jamuary is behind, as is a trip down to visit my parents on my mom’s 75th birthday (and a rare opportunity to see my brother and his wife as well). And one more track recorded for the next album, which is currently now past the half-hour mark.

West Pest has its charms — the combination of its oscillator and folder with its dynamics gate has some amazing sweet spots. It’s also got a fair number of limitations, but being of a semi-modular nature, those can be shored up by patching it with other gear. I found the Minibrute 2S is a great partner for it, both to share modulation/utility resources and to combine forces. Two independent oscillators with their own folders blend really nicely. I started thinking in terms of a “BrutePest” station that would be mostly self-contained rather than patching it to the main modular.

I indeed didn’t have a good place for the West Pest to stay, and I was pondering this on the drive south. Since WP can be mounted easily in a standard Eurorack case, my first breakthrough was the idea of picking up a Rackbrute, the powered case made to mount on the Minibrute. That’d give me several more HP to fill in with some extra stuff to really make the BrutePest feel complete.

At one point this plan had grown to:

  • The Minibrute 2S and West Pest.
  • RackBrute 6U.
  • Inertia, which I’d had up for sale, as additional modulation source and occasional extra VCO or filter.
  • Warm Star The Bends, an unusual sort of matrix crossfader that would cover foreseeable utility wants.
  • Mimeophon moved over from my main case, because I felt like that would greatly enhance the BrutePest’s independence.
  • Ana also moved over from my main case, for a little more utility and combinatorial powers, and to make room for…
  • Verbos Multi-Delay in the main rack. When I was researching interesting delays, it blew me away. It’s an 8-tap delay with individual outputs per tap, multiple preset mixes and mix sliders, flexible feedback patching with a pitch shifter and reverb, and envelope followers for each tap. It’s one of those things that’s not just an end-of-chain effect but an instrument in its own right, as well as a modulation source… people have done amazing things with it.

And then I hit the brakes. A month ago I wasn’t going to get anything new, then I gave in and got one cheap, used semi-modular. And there I was planning to add another 6U modular case and a big fancy module and having lots of spare space to tempt me with even more stuff? Whoa there.

I remembered my old plan of a 2-tier stand that can hold the Minibrute and something else, which was going to be the Strega before I made other arrangements. A couple of days of research and I bought a Loci XL with expander, for much less than even the smaller Rackbrute was going to be. I’ve moved the West Pest and Inertia into my Pod60, which can sit atop the second tier (I could potentially also put the WP back in its own case and use the rest of the Pod for other things, once I see how things work with the stand).

I am also going to replace the Mini PEG in the main cast. I don’t love it as much as I thought I was going to, and I have more than enough modulation without it. I can always have Teletype or Bitwig generate some signals if Stages, Function, Just Friends, Kermit, 0-Ctrl etc. are all busy.

I used to have The Harvestman Tyme Sefari, and I really liked how it worked. It would behave as a delay, looper, or sampler not through different modes, but combinations of recording status and feedback amount. The main issue was it was really lo-fi. It was also an awkward 15HP plus an extra 8HP for the expander which allowed for a second channel (for stereo, multitap tracks or whatever).

Well. jroo Loop happens to be a delay/looper with two channels in 8HP, with a user interface that reminds me of TS, but not lo-fi unless you intentionally slow down its rate. Bingo. As well as missing the Tyme Sefari’s methods, and to a lesser extent the Phonogene, I’ve been wanting a better way to loop when playing bass. And here it is.

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