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News and updates on the world of eurorack modulars

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As you probably know, we don’t usually write about news. The exception being news that touch us in an extraordinary way. This is the case here but unfortunately it’s not good news.

As already reported on other websites and blogs (like on Matrixsynth, Create Digital Music and Synthtopia), Ray Wilson, the father of Music From Outer Space, creator of numerous modular and non-modular synth designs like the Weird Sound Generator and central figure to the synth community, has cancer. Medical cures are very expensive, so the family have started a GoFundMe campaign.

Quoting from the GoFundMe page:

Because my parents are both self-employed, they pay for their own healthcare. They are not covered by any sort of employer-provided long term leave benefits. Currently they pay about $1500 per month for health insurance. Add to this baseline the array of tests, prescriptions, transportation, specialist visits, new dietary needs, and the general cost of living. It is very expensive to be sick.

These costs will soon outstrip savings for a rainy day; they will chip into reserves and eventually eat up their retirement funds. And my mother isn’t even 60 yet. I am extremely concerned, and therefore am turning to the generosity of the community and asking that you please consider helping in any way you can.

More info about what you can do to help Ray Wilson:

GoFundMe Page

Apparently you can also send money directly via Paypal, quoting from Matrixsynth:

For those that would prefer to donate to Ray’s family directly via Paypal I am told his Paypal address is info@musicfromouterspace.com. I just tried it and payment was successful. Remember, this goes towards helping his family, so be sure to send it as a personal payment vs. services and goods. Paypal fees should be less. If you are tight on cash you can always send a little now and more later if you get around to it. Every little bit helps and will add up if enough people contribute even just a small amount.

 

Ray Wilson of Music From Outer Space (MFOS) Has Cancer

As you probably know, we don’t usually write about news. The exception being news that touch us in an extraordinary way. This is the case here but unfortunately it’s not good news. As already reported on other websites and blogs (like on Matrixsynth, Create Digital Music and Synthtopia), Ray Wilson, the father of Music From [...]

HannesHannes

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If you haven’t heard about I Dream of Wires yet, then you have probably been abducted by country-music-loving aliens, who erased your memory. It’s THE documentary about modular synthesizers and it’s going to premiere in Berlin at the end of the month. What’s even better, the even will host a performance by legendary modular synth musician Morton Subotnick!

So here’s the Info again:

Where: Babylon Kino, Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse 30, 10178 Berlin
When: 28.07.2015, 7PM
How much: 20€ / 30€ with DVD

We have a couple of interviews with the authors in the works for you. So stay tuned for more!

More info

official website: idreamofwires.org

Distribution

The film will then be available on DVD in Europe, USA, Canada and Japan, and digitally on the following dates:

USA (distribution First Run Features):
iTunes: July 21 / DVD: August 4

EU/UK/International (distribution Monoduo Films):
iTunes + Vimeo On Demand: August 10 / DVD: August 4

Canada (distribution KinoSmith):
iTunes: August 4 / DVD: August 4

Japan (distribution Akari Films):
TBA

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July 28 2015 – IDOW Premiere – Berlin

If you haven’t heard about I Dream of Wires yet, then you have probably been abducted by country-music-loving aliens, who erased your memory. It’s THE documentary about modular synthesizers and it’s going to premiere in Berlin at the end of the month. What’s even better, the even will host a performance by [...]

HannesHannes

Musikmesse 2015 – Eurorack 101

Among all the new products introduced at NAMM 2015, some things immediately captured our attention. Today I’m going to focus on a particular category. Somebody call them “bread and butter” modules, some others prefer the word “classics”. Those are the kind of modules that remind me why, as a kid, I got [...]

MarcoMarco

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In our sonic microcosmos we have the modular and the world around it, with only a very narrow path connecting the two. It all starts in our mind, we imagine a sound, or at least we imagine an action that will result in one. We interact with the instrument by turning the knobs, pressing some buttons, sliding our fingers over capacitive touch surfaces. Through our gestures the outside world enters the modular and becomes electric tension and digital data. These then exit the circuits as vibrations, speakers make the air move. The sound has been released into the world.

Now, if you’re like me, you’ll sometimes feel that this narrow path, connecting the modular to the outside world, could be made a bit wider, or the paths could be more numerous. Musikmesse 2015 brought us some modules that might be doing just that. Let’s see them in detail.

New Ways to Control your Instrument

soundmachines already have a wide selection of control modules in their portfolio, from the very basic (but also very useful) LS1lightstrip, to the more exotic BL1brainterface EEG sensor module. At this year’s Musikmesse they presented two new modules: a heartbeat sensor and an alcohol tester module. While it has to be seen if the latter will be more of a gag, than a really usable device, the first one opens up some interesting possibilities.

The soundmachines booth at Messe2015, photo curtesy of Davide Mancini – soundmachines

The soundmachines booth at Messe2015, photo curtesy of Davide Mancini – soundmachines

In 2014 I was involved in a project called sen | xor, which focussed on the use of biometric sensors to control modular synths and other electronic instruments. For that project we developed both a brain-to-modular and a heartbeat-to-modular interface. Both sensors were applied to the listener and the resulting data was used to control the music and the visuals. The heartbeat was used to generate a clock signal, which we used to sync the modulars to. This resulted in a very human rhythm, which would change over time and create interesting feedback effects (since an increase in speed would in turn affect the heart rate of the listener). While this might be a bit too specific for “everyday use” it’s still a very interesting addition to the limited landscape of currently available control modules.

To get a taste of what their new modules do I’ll refer you to the excellent Messe coverage by Tuesday Night Machines.

A very promising newcomer on the eurorack market this year has been Bastl Instruments, based in Brno, Check Republic. Apart from cranking out 17 (yes seventeen!) new modules in what feels like a very short time, they also have some really interesting ones! For example they have an upcoming any-type-of-analogue-sensor-to-CV-or-GATE module which opens up a huge array of possibilities. From using standard light dependent resistors to modulate parameters, to converting water drips into random gates. These modules are quite obviously the development of Václav Peloušek’s diploma work, which we had seen last year. In case you missed it, let me post that video again!

The Motorised Modular

Bastl has a lot more in store for you though! What really caught our attention (apparently everybody’s attention from what I see online) are the new motor modules. You get one module for every type of motor on the market, be it solenoid, DC or servo. Again, the possibilities are vast and extremely exciting. From using your system to play an acoustic drum set, to creating that mouse organ you’ve been dreaming of. Again Tuesday Night Machines has a nice video about these modules.

Btw. if you’ve been hiding on the dark side of the moon lately, check out their channel for a complete Messe modular coverage.

We’ll soon be back with two interviews: one with Davide Mancini from soundmachines and another one with the guys from Bastl!

Musikmesse2015 – the Modular and the World Outside

In our sonic microcosmos we have the modular and the world around it, with only a very narrow path connecting the two. It all starts in our mind, we imagine a sound, or at least we imagine an action that will result in one. We interact with the instrument by turning the knobs, pressing some buttons, sliding our fingers over capacitive [...]

HannesHannes