Free Music From Richard Devine – ‘Ascension’

This video, via composer & sound designer , captures a new modular synth performance, Ascension.

He’s also released it as a free download, via Dropbox (.zip of an .mp3 file). 

As you can see from the video, the track was created using a massive, complex modular synth patch. Here’s what Devine has to say about the technical details:

Patch experiment using the Noise Engineering Variatic Erumption x 2, and Minigorille CV graphic modules x 2.

Clock output from the Tiptop Circadian Rhythms into the CV Graphic input 1, left side (purple). Then another output from the TipTop CR taken to the right side (siliver) CV Graphic module. Output 4 from the Tiptop CR sent to the left side Variatic Erumption (ext gate to the hit jack input) which would send very slow burst of random gates. The CV Graphic CV output (PONG sequencer mode 2) A and B would output bouncing ball like CV voltages to the Variatic Erumption CV Pattern, and Time/Division input. This created some very organic scattered sequencing taking one output that was triggering a Snazzy Fx Ardcore running custom frac drums patch.

The other output was running into a trigger input on the Mutable instruments clouds, which is causing the light granular scattering in between the beats. Another output from the V.E. running into the Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas, for the FM pluck like percussion sound. Next output from VE running into a 4ms RCD, random triggering spaced out burst to the clock input. From here, the output was taken (4)out to the MakeNoise Optomix set slightly open, which was running a ALM’s new “Akemie’s Castle” dual voltage controlled oscillator, running out the chord output (OSC A). From the Akemie’s Castle the output is going into a Tiptop Z-DSP processed with the The Halls of Valhalla card running program 7 (Asgard). Mult output also taken to the Strymon Big Sky pedal running in “Chorale” mode mix completely wet for delicate melodic swells. Making the rich choral timbres. Another gate output from the Noise Engineering V.E. running into the Mutable Instruments (mystery) module. Output from here sent to the Qu-Bit RT-60 effect module, which is also being triggered (for effects program change) via by the 5 division output from the 4ms Rotating Clock Divider.

Kick drum created using the MakeNoise telHarmonic module, running into a Optomix. Snare and hi-hat sounds courtesy of two Ladik D-333 Rom players. One running the Snares card, and another running hi-hats. Both outputs being summed into the Synthrotek DLY module. The delay input being modulated by a modcan QuadLFO output 1 slow S&H. First sequenced notes via the Mutable instruments Braids running the new “HARM” additive harmonics mode. The quantization was set to “Oinian”. Second Braids for other harmony running the “OPSK” smooth sine like melody, VCA mode set to on, with short decay for pluck like quality. Signal for both braids are being sent to another Qu-Bit RT-60 running program number 1-Reverb. Quantization set to “Oinian”. Bassline sound created with a Intellijel Shapeshifter output 1, then being run into intellijel uVCF filter in LPF input, then the signal goes out a Qu-Bit RT-60 in program 1 Reverb.

20 thoughts on “Free Music From Richard Devine – ‘Ascension’

  1. i feel like all this dsp digital nonsense is probably going to undermine the recent growth in analog technology. Not to be too much of a purist, but it seems like every n00b I talk to about modular stuff or synths these days is excited and talking about how they love analog synthesis and can’t wait to get a [insert digital module here]. I mean, whatevs and all, but just having eurorack versions of some dsp digital sampler crap is probably going to start diverting a lot of newcomers, which is unfortunate because real analog synthesis (ie not just plugging one digital wave table whatever oscillator into some other dsp premade effect) isn’t real synthesis. And real synthesis is fun and should be promoted!
    (Cue soft synth/mutable instrument fan boys…)
    (Or preset bois as I like to call them.)

    1. “all this dsp digital nonsense” is where the majority of the innovation in modular synthesis has been happening. It’s certainly not coming from the companies and buyers that are fixated on cheap knockoffs of 40 year-old gear.

      Some of the most interesting and powerful modules available – like the Ardcore, the TipTop Audio Z-DSP or the Mutable Instruments modules – are digital.

      It sounds like the ‘n00bs’ that you’ve been talking are using their ears to judge modules – not their preconceptions. They probably understand that – even with digital modules – you’re not patching digital signals together, you’re patching analog signals together.

      (Cue response from retro fetishist that just want those cheap clones)

    2. Posts like these (the first in this thread) force me to continue down my path of completely cutting myself off from the entire synth community.

      Utter nonsense.

    3. could proly duplicate this track pretty well on Novation Circuit and not need a room of physically connected delicate gear to show someone else tho, jus sayin

      1. What the hell? The key word is ‘proly’.

        Look, I didn’t want to bring this up, but everyone has their own ears so go ahead and listen to the beginning of Circuit intro again. The synth sounds thin and tinny, not even modular & analog but a mediocre VA or ipad app would blow it out of the water. Drums sound non-impressive either, the whole thing has a stamp of the most generic software production (judging by video). Even checking it out in headphones it’s apparent it lacks the power, and if you’ll try and compare it with a good hardware setup on large PA, you better not or results would be pretty shameful.

        Some people, you just have no idea what you’re talking about. Circuit is mostly glorified rompler, and just by the nature of it, can’t come close to actual well-designed synth circuits. Nor can it come close to sound-sculpting potential of a modular synth, with what, 4 or 8 knobs that slightly tweak the sound. Even company itself calls it a sketchpad, yet you compare it to the vastly powerful hardware studio with immense routing possibilities…

        So what at this are we really talking about?!

        The key word is ‘proly’.

    4. lol
      ‘real synthesis’ is doing or trying to do something new. if you actually cared and had fun with synthesis I don’t think you would make such distinctions.

      the problem is modular is step backwackwards period. I can run 96 oscillators on my tg77, it can make wavetables and animated harmonics. why isn’t that a module?

      the problem is something like analog4 with fpga coulda been a totally brain melting digitaly reconfigurable analog modular. the new yamaha reface’s coulda been updated fs1r, vl7, etc with better interfaces and more voices, the new roland’s coulda taken vsynth + made improved ‘plugout’. new novation coulda been updated oscar with combination additive and analog filters…

      but most people don’t want to do synthesis…analog or digital.

      most people just want to buy ideas and want easy (digital+analog) stuff, I think.

      1. Very few people would buy “advanced synthesis synths or modules”. That’s why there aren’t any improvements in that direction whereas we see a lot simple synths (volcas, boutique, reface, …) that sell a lot. If you want synthesis, go modular, hardware or software, there’s plenty of options but you won’t be as cool as the other guys !

  2. Excellent track, shows timing/texture mastery, considering the modular equipment involved – kudos to Richard Devine! That said – just the cost of cables alone involved in this track would cover a number of (software) synths/apps that could produce similar results. I own modular equipment and enjoy it, but I question my own sanity more often that I’d like to admit when I stop to consider the cost, the time, the pounds of equipment involved, the space, and the difficulty in just getting to par results. But thanks to modulars I’ve met great human beings who love what they do. Modulars are definitely for the insane and the joy is in the journey.

  3. What are the two modules with the little screens? I thought they were Pittsburgh Game Systems at first, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

  4. If there truly was no sequencer involved and this track was produced with just modules creating the motion/textures, then this is impressive work. Hats off to Mr Devine.

  5. I’m not one to enjoy Mr. Devine’s musings, but this is exquisite.

    I will happily listen to a whole album’s worth of this.

    Thank you.


  6. Who cares with what equipment the music has been made with? Surely it’s about the finished product and nothing else?! To me, this sounds good. What makes people like Devine and Lichtenberger a bit better than the rest is the quality of the overall recording, whether it’s been recorded using great converters, ££££ worth of synths or ITB . The finished product sounds clear and getting inside the mix is easy..compared to Autechre, where the mixes can lack clarity and everything bleeds into everything else (not that I’m dissing Autechre. I have all their albums and listen to constantly). For me, a korg MS2000 for under £400 can do all of this, but making it sound good needs talent, like this guy, regardless of the amount of gear you have. I’d have enjoyed this track just as much, if not more, without knowing what it was written on. Looking at a videos of something that looks like my girlfriends infamous out-of-date spaghetti and meatballs does nothing for me. It should be about the music..Nothing else!

Leave a Reply