NIN’s Alessandro Cortini On The Buchla 200e

This month’s Electronic Musician has an interesting profile of Alessandro Cortini, best known for his work with Nine Inch Nails.

In the article, Cortini discusses his Buchla 200e modular synthesizer:

“It was kind of like buying a car. But this takes me more places than a car. It’s my favorite piece of gear. If I had to pick one, it’s the most creative. Just the way it’s laid out.

This is a small configuration—just a 12 panel. I knew that I couldn’t begin with an 18-panel instrument, so I tried to get as many high-density modules as possible. The 249e [Dual Arbitrary Function Generator] was a module they weren’t making anymore, but I was able to get one. It’s two sequencers in one. I could have worked with a 250e [Arbitrary Function Generator], but I felt the more each module can do, the better. And I wanted variety, so I have one of the old 259e’s [Programmable Complex Waveform Generator] and the new 261e [Complex Waveform Generator].

I’ve had the pleasure of working with companies like Plan B and Livewire on the EAR system, which are Buchla oriented in a way. But one thing is that they’re not replicating the [Buchla] interface, for good reason. They might be able to replicate the functions: Plan B has the Heisenberg Generator, which is, in a way, like a simplified [Buchla] Source of Uncertainty. The Model 15 oscillator is half a [Buchla] 258. And they sound awesome. But it’s an ?-inch interface. I hate to be this new age, but it doesn’t call me the same way that the Buchla’s banana jacks call me. The fact that it’s half ? inch and half banana makes you work in a certain way. The density of the modules makes you work in a certain way. And the fact that it’s designed to do quad and that voltage-controlled panning is built in—it’s so easy to achieve stuff that moves around.

Here’s Cortini in action, tweaking his Buchla 200e:

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