British synthesist Ben Edwards, aka Benge, has released a new album featuring the Buchla Electronic Music Box, Abstraxa.
Like the tracks on his earlier album 20 Systems, Abstraxa is an exploration and sonic portrait of a particular synthesizer – the Buchla 200e.
Here’s what Edwards has to say about the album:
The six compositions featured on Abstraxa were realised on a Buchla modular synthesiser. Donald Buchla began makng electronic musical instruments in 1963, developing the first Buchla 100 series systems in conjunction with the San Francisco Tape Music Center. These first inventions coincided with the development of Robert Moog’s 900 Series modular systems over on the west coast of america, and as such belong to the very first generation of commercially available synthesisers. One intersting aspect is that Don Buchla is still developing and manufacturing his modular systems, using the same module format (now 200e series) that he introduced 50 years ago. The current 200e modules utilise a combination of analogue and digital components
The Buchla has a very unique way of producing sound, using electronic voltages to control the sound sources (oscillators and noise generators), sound modifiers (gates, filters, phase shifters, modulators, etc) and event timing generators (sequencers, random sources, pulse generators, etc). Systems can be built up from the available modules to suit the needs of the composer. The power of the system lies in the inter-modulation capabilities. This means that extremely deep patches can be set up with a myriad of connections interacting together in complex ways to produce evolving and self-generating soundscapes. It is analogous to working with a living organism as opposed to a static machine, a brain rather than a computer
The pieces presented here were recorded to tape using overdubbing in places. Additional reverberation and delay lines were also incorporated into the system.
Abstraxa is available on Bandcamp.
- Buchla 200e Electronic Music Box:
- 225e Midi Decoder (digital interface and preset manager)
- 227e System Interface (various audio mixing and panning functions)
- 251e Quad Sequential Voltage Source
- 255 CV Processor (octal slew and voltage source)
- 261e Complex Waveform Generator (dual digital VCO)
- 266e Source of Uncertainty (complex random and noise functions)
- 281e Quad Function Generator (quad LFO / envelope)
- 291e Triple Morphing Filter (three bandpass filters / VCAs plus sequencer)
- 292e Quad Dynamics Manager (four Vactrol lowpass gates)
- 077 (Eardrill) Pendulum / Ratchet (complex triggers and clock dividers)
- 254v (Verbos) Quad Voltage Processor
- 258v (Verbos) Dual Oscillator (clone of the 1970s Buchla analog VCO)
- Boss DD3 Delay Unit (mono)
- Ace Tone MP4 Spring Reverb (mono)
- Alpha 4.55
- Beta 4.22
- Gamma 5.04
- Delta 4.20
- Epsilon 5.19
- Zeta (Abstraxa) 6.21
Total Duration 30.19