Creating A Compact Modular Techno System With Julia Bondar

In the latest loopop video, host Ziv Eliraz talks with synthesist Julia Bondar about her approach to creating a compact modular system for techno.

In addition to her music, Bondar may be familiar to some readers from her role as Creative Director at Euro manufacturer

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
1:45 Studio tour
4:45 Live setup overview
7:45 Patch from scratch
10:05 Mixer setup
11:00 Drums, MIDI to CV
13:20 Samples, delay
17:35 Melodic layer
18:50 Velocity-to-loop trick
20:05 Tuning & lead voice
28:40 Recording vs live
29:50 Secondary sequencer
33:55 Performance demo
46:55 Sequencing plan
49:10 Building tension
51:50 Track transitions
53:00 Mixing and sidechain
53:55 Reverb on bass
55:40 Conducting the patch
57:00 Live mixing
57:50 Composing
58:50 Polyrhythms/meters
1:04:10 Recording setup
1:08:15 Mixing, mastering
1:10:30 Outro, more tips

You can see Bondar in action in this 90+ minute live modular techno performance:

36 thoughts on “Creating A Compact Modular Techno System With Julia Bondar

    1. First off – Bondar definitely knows her stuff and can pull off a great set with her modular system. Very few modular artists can pull off an engaging 90-minute set.

      As Steve says – fantastic!

      But I also see no problem in this case of Nick criticizing the Manson shirt. He’s not commenting on Bondar’s looks, he’s saying that a Marilyn Manson shirt is a horrible choice.

      Marilyn Manson has a long history of sexual assault and abuse, of credible people making the accusations and of court cases where he has lost or he has settled. He’s toxic enough that his label and manager don’t want to be associated with him any more, which is saying something in the music business:

      Manson is unfortunately one of those artists – like Phil Spector or Michael Jackson or Woody Allen – where we are forced to acknowledge both the brilliance of some of their work and the depth of their personal flaws.

      1. I watched the performance video and noticed the Marilyn Manson shirt before the latest high profile accusations against MM. I thought “that’s an old school tee.” I did not know about his sordid history until those recent accusations. So, maybe she just did not know either.

      2. There is very little musicality in Manson’s music, he is just a marketing gimmick in music industry that sells.

        1. Objectively, his synth soundtrack to the first Resident Evil movie is right up there with the work of Trent Reznor.

          Marketing gimmicks work for one-hit wonders, but won’t sustain interest in a band or artist for decades. KISS wouldn’t be KISS if they didn’t write songs that are catchy as hell.

          If you can’t recognize talent in Manson’s work, you either don’t know much of his work or you’re just dismissing music that’s not to your taste.

      1. I like modular. But there is no need for a rack full of stuff to bore the hell out of people in the end.
        If you can’t repatch live or have some clever concept of switching sounds don’t do this. 😉

        1. The variation you get from repatching live is not going to be huge. So yes, modular is probably not your thing if you want proper songs that are dynamic and changing

          1. >The variation you get from repatching live is not going to be huge.

            I mean… what? This is a meaningless statement for a number of reasons, but not the least of which being that you can’t fundamentally say that without knowing what’s in the rack.

            Sounds more to me you like are not a synthesist. Change my mind.

        1. Sweety, you said “nothing happens” and “no surprises.” If you want proper songs that are dynamic and changing, modular is probably not your thing.

        2. Sweety, you said “nothing happens” and “no surprises.” If you want proper songs that are dynamic and changing, modular is probably not your thing.??

        3. And you don’t *need* a modular for any particular sounds whatsoever. It can all be done by computer, but that’s not the point. Modular is about patching, the human/machine interface, etc.

          1. The interface is shit, cables all over the place and infront of the knobs.
            And You have to complete with the next guy that just opens his laptop with whatever sonic drama comes next. Just because it’s a modular setup doesn’t make the music more interesting. 😉

            1. So to recap, I said it’s probably not for you and then you replied with an explanation as to why it is indeed not for you.

                1. You admitted you hate the interface of modular, that to you it sounds repetitive and boring, that the sounds are not special, etc. Now you’re saying you play with software modular all day long and add a smiley emoji as if that makes up for your lack of a coherent argument.

                  1. I like software modular because I can modulate what and how I want & save things and switch setups and sequences in a blink of an eye.
                    And guess what I press the magic button and the patch is polyphonic.
                    It’s not the 70s anymore 🙂

                    No need for these boring uninspired performances. That work as ad for whatever modules they want to sell to us. 😉

                    1. Can you post some of your brilliant audio work? You sound very confident artist, not insecure at all, and I think that you should post your work for us all to bask in.

                      We’ll probably need some notes about what concepts you’re exploring as I’m sure that your work has a depth and nuance that only a few can grasp.

                      Also, some patch notes please because a technical master such as yourself creates some incredible patches.

                      People like me have a lot to learn from masters like you.

                2. “Play” is the key word here. You posted your critique. Now, either provide something better or sit down and shut up.

                  1. This is the most lame internet argument ever.
                    You really dont need to be Paul Bocuse to realize that there is salt missing in the soup. 😉
                    2 mono lines over what 5 drum sounds dont lift my skirt. We had better live sets 30 years ago.

                    1. lets not talk about the hour of pretentious blah blah for that lame setup. &_&
                      I cook you more interesting sounds in 5 minutes. 😉

  1. Hey this was actually great, thanks for sharing! I actually learned a lot from seeing the walkthrough and it was also a great plug for endorphin. I like Julia’s ethos and approach. To be honest it’s inspiring to see not just what Julia has achieved but Ziv from Loopop (now I know his name!!) I had no idea he was so accomplished in the business world as well. They’re both artists and entrepreneurs and this is to be celebrated.

  2. I saw the premiere on YT and first off I don’t mean to disrespect / criticize anybody who goes out there and plays EM to people, and Loopop is hands down the best synthfluencer out there. Two things, though …. 1.) what has the T Shirt got to do with it? 2.) I also wondered if a groove box or a DAW wouldn’t have been more obvious / straightforward / cost effective choices for a commercially viable mainstream techno track. Again, no offence, but IMO the strengths of a modular system are…elsewhere, like crossmodulation, generative & aleatoric stuff.

  3. Good use of a modular system, and a lovely run through on how she used different modules. unfortunately its offensive to call that david guetta sounding stuff “techno.” Its edm.

  4. Engaging set! Kept me interested n kept me listening! I’ve been involved with modular a long time…..she has a good command on her work here….to me it was seamless….it flowed…

  5. At a time when a lot of techno “performances” fall flat and leave me feeling uninspired, this is fantastic. Proper techno, bravo.

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