Wobbly Paraphonic Erebus

Two of the coolest features of the Dreadbox Erebus is its paraphonic mode and the semi-modular patching. I used its paraphony and LFO rate input to create a patch that allowed for some greasy wobbles between a bass note and a simple melody:

In the rest of this post I’ll show how this was made.

First off, I operate from code. I created a basic pattern using Tidal that simulated playing a single low note along with a melody of higher notes. In this case it’s an A3 bass note (MIDI note 45), with random notes selected from an A3 phrygian scale for the “melody”:

k7 $ whenmod 16 8 (|+| note "-5") $ 
stack [
note "45/4" |+| dur "4.5",
(|+| note (choose [0,12,12,24])) $ chooseMidi "45" phryg "0*8?" |+| dur "0.15" ]
|+| modwheel (rand)

You can see the bass and melody parts inside the stack. The whenmod 16 8 (|+| note "-5") part just lowers the entire thing by five half steps every eight bars. The modwheel (rand) applies a random mod wheel value on every note that is played.

OK, then on to the Erebus. Some patching and specific knob settings are required to get the specific sound. Here’s a picture of the synth in the state when the recording was made:

erebus

First, the patching:

  • Envelope out to VCA in
  • LFO out to VCF in
  • MOD out to LFO/R in

The key to this patch is the MOD out to LFO/R in. This allows the random mod wheel value from code to set the LFO rate on the synth. The LFO on the synth controls the filter cutoff, so that’s where the wobbles come from.

The a few other key settings:

  • LFO Rate at about 10 o’clock
  • LFO Depth all the way up
  • LFO wave type set to triangle
  • Osc1 wave length set to 16
  • Osc2 wave length set to 4
  • Osc mix at 50%
  • Filter cutoff around 50%
  • Envelope sustain around 50%
  • Set unison to paraphonic

That’s it!

The two-oscillator paraphony is really fun. I imagine there are a lot of quirks and surprises that can come out of this synth’s paraphonic mode when code is used to send MIDI notes in unexpected ways. More experiments for the future!

Dare to Step Away EP

Dare to Step Away

I just released a new EP, titled Dare to Step Away, on Bandcamp.

These are two tracks that I recorded in April 2015. Both were recorded live, using Tidal to sequence samples and a Korg Volca Keys.

Video captures of both recordings are available on YouTube:

How to change the MIDI channel on the Dreadbox Erebus

I recently picked up a Dreadbox Erebus analog synthesizer. One of the first things I wanted to do was change the MIDI channel that it listens on. According to the owner’s manual (as of December 16, 2015), the details about how to do this are on Page 13, but Page 13 does not have these details (doh!). Dreadbox told me they will correct this, but for now I hope this post will shed some light on how to change the MIDI channel.

In short, you need to open the enclosure and locate three DIP switches to change the MIDI channel.

If you go through with this procedure, you do so at your own risk! Please be careful with your beautiful Erebus synth! Disconnect the synth from its power source and any other gear before working on it.

First, you need to remove the bottom cover of the synth’s enclosure. There are four screws in the rubber feet; just unscrew them and slide or pull the cover off.

Erebus with cover off
Erebus with cover off.

What you’re looking for here is the little red component with three DIP switches:

DIP switches
DIP switches

By default, these three switches are all OFF, meaning the synth operates in MIDI Omni mode and will listen on all MIDI channels. To get the synth to listen on a specific channel (1-7 only) you will need to turn these switches on in a particular combination.

We’re counting in binary here. You can turn the switches on in these combinations to get the proper midi channel:

Switch 1 | Switch 2 | Switch 3 | MIDI Channel
---------------------------------------------
OFF      | OFF      | OFF      | Omni
ON       | OFF      | OFF      | 1
OFF      | ON       | OFF      | 2
ON       | ON       | OFF      | 3
OFF      | OFF      | ON       | 4
ON       | OFF      | ON       | 5
OFF      | ON       | ON       | 6
ON       | ON       | ON       | 7

Here’s my synth listening on channel 7:

Erebus on Channel 7
Erebus on Channel 7

After you’re done with the switches, just screw the bottom cover back on and you’re done!

Expedition LP Released

Expedition has been released! You can grab it on Bandcamp: kindohm.bandcamp.com/albums/expedition

1

Album cover art by Chris LeBlanc

It’s also available for streaming on Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/kindohm/sets/expedition

The Bandcamp release includes remixes by Spednar, mount curve, and MKR.

Expedition is an open source project licensed under Creative Commons (attribution-share-alike). This means that the codeand audio samples are available for you to download, play with, remix, or learn from. The source files are available at github.com/kindohm/expedition.

Tentative Track Titles

Current track titles for upcoming release. Subject to change without notice.

  1. Surface Transmission Decoding
  2. Escape Burn
  3. Slipstream Jump
  4. Termination Shock Transition
  5. Ring Surfing
  6. Encrypted Message From Home
  7. Repeating Distress Beacon
  8. Galactic Alpaca
  9. Atmospheric Probe Malfunction
  10. Humans riding on bicycles taking selfies
  11. Species / Anti-Species Annihilation
  12. Sorting Through Wreckage

No album title yet.

Audio Release in Late 2015

I’m working on a new release, and sometime in late 2015 you will get to hear it. It’ll be available digitally for sure, probably nearly immediately after it’s ready (maybe October 2015?), but I’m also looking into some physical media options (e.g. vinyl) and potential labels to work with.

I’m also considering to perform all of the music from the album at a gig. Perhaps a release party of sorts. Some of it seems like it would be downright impossible to perform, but:

“It’s not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster”


Image sourced from
www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/08/dismaland/

Like my last release, I Am a Computer, this release is composed entirely with code using Tidal and the Haskell programming language. Imagine granule-coated bass music ground through destructive algorithms while time-traveling facing backwards during an escape burn from Saturn.

Much of the material was drawn from experiments I’ve posted at
soundcloud.com/kindohm, so if you’ve been following my stuff there you may hear a familiar sound or two whenever you listen to this new stuff.

Synths

I’m using a variety of analog synthesizers for the first time on this release. I’ve never used hardware synths before, let alone anything analog, so this has been new territory for me and I’ve learned a lot.

I do have some specific opinions about the synths I’ve been using, but that’ll be a post for a different day.

Given that I enjoy making music with code so much, sometimes I wonder why I don’t explore the world of SuperCollider rather than use hardware synths. SuperCollider is a code-based environment for sound design and real-time synthesis. I think that I enjoy a balance; I like composing, arranging, and performing music with code but creating sounds without code.

Open Source!

Perhaps what I’m most excited about with this release is that I’m planning to release all of the source code and samples on Github as an open-source project under a Creative Commons license. As a live-coder, I’m already open about how my music is made during a live performance, so I think it’s natural to make all of the source code available for a bunch of music created with code. Maybe the code will help someone else get better at Tidal, or maybe it will expose others to new ways of making music. I also wouldn’t mind seeing a remix or two.

In order to release the audio under a CC license, I’ve also taken on the big challenge of producing 100% original audio for this release. I’ve used a lot of sample packs from other producers in the past, but not this time. I’m eager to let these new sounds out into the wild.

So, stay tuned in the next couple of months for a release. I’ll post important
info here when it’s available, otherwise feel free to follow at facebook and twitter
for more frequent updates.