Spoken Word with Electronics: Time Travel With The SSL FX Capacitor

The latest episode of Ethan Persoff‘s Spoken Word with Electronics podcast explores Fruit/Vegetable Senses and Time Travel with the SSL FX Capacitor.

The Synthetic Sound Labs SSL FX Capacitor is a hardware multi-effects processor in MU format. It’s based on the Spin Semiconductor FV-1 chip, which is used in a lot of effects processors, and features the 7 built-in effects of the FV-1 and 8 custom effects. 

Here’s what Persoff has to say about the episode:

“This week’s episode is a demo on a very peculiar reverb unit called the FX Capacitor from Synthetic Sound Labs.

The SSL “FX Capacitor” is one of the oddest hardware reverb processors on the planet.

SSL is known for modifying computer chips into odd musical uses, be it a Votrax voice chip for its Scat Talker phoneme generator or a digital answering machine chip for its SampleCorder. They’re all wonderful products, capable of bizarre sounds with a unique low-fidelity sound that is immediately gratifying. You’ve heard their modules used on a lot of different music you enjoy. (My likely guesses: Boards of Canada, Depeche Mode, others) I’ve been curious about the FX Modulator, as it applies the same concept to studio effects, using a Spin Semiconductor at its base.

What is compelling about the FX Modulator, however, is the patch points on the panel: There’s control voltage for nearly every setting, with no menu diving, just a select dial for each effect and send any voltage or sound into three parameters and feedback inserts. What this allows for is adding a waveform to the shape of a reverb tail or other really wild noises. I’ve never encountered a reverb unit similar to it. You’ll need a proper Moog power supply to get going with something like this, which is addressed in this week’s introduction. Then, lock into your DeLorean for a complete half hour discussion of the FX Modulator itself. If you’d like to skip ahead, there’s a seven minute sample of all the odd sounds in this week’s Side A.”

You can listen to the podcast via the playlist below or on Soundcloud. The first section, I Smell Tomatoes, is sort of a Word Jazz style riff that explores the effects of the FX Capacitor.

The subsequent sections more explicitly demo the FX Capacitor and its various effects.

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