Tales From The Rack 5 (Live Eurorack Modular Synth Performance)

Sunday Synth Jam: Synthesist Richard Lacy shared this live modular performance, Tales From The Rack no.5.

Here’s what he has to say about the technical details.

Hello. Another tale from the Eurorack and a piece which started out as a ‘reel’ for the Make Noise Morphagene, recorded beforehand with the PPG Wave 2.2.

Perhaps the notable thing about this piece, is that even though it’s a big patch, most of the modules aren’t even breaking a sweat. They’re just doing simple jobs. There are some definite Floydian tendencies here; influences come to the surface sometimes….
As ever, it’s one pass and no overdubs (see the end of the Patch Notes for mixing info).

I’ve tried to make this one a bit more interesting visually (still using an iPhone5 with a shattered screen and it always drifts out of sync with the audio, which is infuriating!). It can be difficult to see what modules are in the system from the main wide shot, so I thought I’d add some close ups. Also, I have no idea how to edit video, so it’s time to learn.

Thanks for listening. If you like what I’m doing, please like and subscribe. Your support is most welcome!

Patch Notes:

Doepfer MAQ 16/3 is the clock source.
Clock to 4MS rotating Clock Divider and Frequency Central Pocket Calculator and some multiples.

1. PPG Wave sampled into Morphagene. Played by a clock divider. Metropolis pitch CV is modulating the slide control. Output to AQA Dual State Variable Filter, then to the TipTop Z-DSP (Halls Of Valhalla).

2. Gate output of the Metropolis is playing the Atlantis (main bass). Pitch CV comes from the Stepper Acid, running on a very slow clock. There’s a Switched Multiple in the pitch CV path, meaning I can choose a static bass note, or kick in the full chord progression.

3. The Stepper Acid is also playing the chords. The post Switched Multiple pitch CV is going to a few places:
Shapeshifter in chord mode: Cello 1. Shape modulated by an LFO.
Three Doepfer VCOs are tuned to the rest of a chord, the third requiring an offset generator.
All signals go to a Ladik mixer, then to an Analogue Solutions Telemark Filter. The filtered signal finally ends up in the Rainmaker, giving a bit of space.

4. Plonk. This is the guitar-type sound. Fixed note and the gate comes from the 4MS RCD on the div-3 output. Plonk output goes to the 4MS DLD.

5. Something I’ve done before, but I like it… 4MS Spectral Multiband Resonator. Bands tuned and locked. Band levels controlled by six Analogue Solutions AR Envelope Generators. The EGs are triggered from the outputs of of the A-149 Stored random Voltages.

6. Bass drum. Braids triggered by an Analogue Solutions SQ8.

7. Snare drum. Braids triggered by a Doepfer clock sequencer.

8. Hats. Doepfer white noise into a Telemark Filter. Doepfer ADSR and VCA doing the rest, triggered by the Turing Machine.

9. Perc. TipTop One triggered by the Turing Machine. The Turing Machine was locked throughout. I meant to alter the pattern partway through the track, but I forgot! All drum reverbs come from Pro Tools.

10. I still haven’t fallen out of love with Rings and Clouds in their most basic forms yet, so here they are doing their thing. Was determined not to use them, but I patched them in and they sounded ace. Doepfer Dark Time Sequencer is providing the notes and gates. Rings Position is being modulated by Tides, quite heavily towards the end. Rings is just repeating a four note sequence; it’s Clouds doing the time shifting and blurring.

11. The big filthy sound: pitch is coming from two Analogue Solutions SQ8 sequencers. Un-quantised, for more varied harmonics and going Evian a Doepfer Slew Limiter. There were only two Doepfer VCOs left by this point, so that’s what we’re using. Tuned in octaves, the square wave of one goes into the A-113 Subharmonic Generator, giving lower octaves and another intervals.
All these signals are mixed together, the intervals being a bit quieter, but their harmonic content is used in what comes next. It’s a lot of filtering!
First up is the AM Snowfall Filter, not taking much off the top, but there’s a thickness to the sound. Second is the Eowave Fluctuations Magnetiques. All four filters in use, with each one tuned to a different resonance, waiting to be ‘peaked’ by the changing notes. Third is the Dave Smith Character; this is where the big distortion is coming from. The final filter is an Analogue Solutions SY-03 for overall tone control. Lastly, an AS EG and VCA.
By this stage, I’ve run out of reverbs and delays, so this is getting delay and reverb from Pro Tools.

12. Maths. Used as two envelope generators. These envelopes are fed into the ‘initial gain’ input of two Korg MS10s.
The first has fixed pitch, playing a high 7th. The second is playing root, sharp 5 and 7th. Notes from an SQ-8.
You can hear these gently fading in and out in a rather Floydian manner. External reverb and delay.

13. Korg MS20 has a sample and hold on the gate and is playing a low root note, used at both ends of the piece.

Nearly everything goes via a Mackie mixer (under the camera). I’m using this to bring parts in and out. From there, it goes to Pro Tools.

8 thoughts on “Tales From The Rack 5 (Live Eurorack Modular Synth Performance)

  1. Hey, you forgot to tell us what color your shoes are! Wow, that’s an eye-crossing patch job, but the results are excellent. You had something musical to say that presented an evolving structure in a classy manner. This piece would be a good example to include in a modular tutorial, as one of the places you can go. It told a story of its own. WIN.

    1. Thank you! I hadn’t realised that this had been shared here until now. But yes, thanks for commenting! I’ve wondered about doing a tutorial or two, but there are so many others who already do it so well. Maybe there’s a space for this sort of vibe. For the record, it was brown shoes…

    1. Thank you! in principal, yes to the Morphagene reel! It went straight into the module; I may have gone over it by now, but I’ve been thinking about doing a few freesound reels with vintage synths.

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