Aikido pits Bastl Instruments against sparring partner Casper in a modular dojo of non-violent redirection momentum, VCA mixing and side-chaining dynamics.
Like the Pizza module before it, Aikido arrives with a promotional video that’s both beautiful and mystifying. A story is unfurling in there somewhere as wisdom about overcoming oneself is put forward to illustrate the nature of Aikido. It’s fascinating and does give a glimpse into the intention behind the most interesting VCA I’ve seen in a long time.
Getting into the nuts and bolts of it, Aikido is a four-channel VCA with level faders. Each CV input has an attenuverter, and as a cascading mixer, it can handle CV or audio. That’s the usual VCA stuff that we see all the time. From there, Aikido gets more and more interesting.
For starters, the faders can add up to 6dB of additional gain. Above each one is a clickless mute switch which gives Aikido a performative power that you don’t normally see. In addition to the cascading channels, there’s also a separate mix output for audio.
Then we get into the special skills. Aikido has a Side-Chain Envelope Follower that pumps its way via Channel A into the other channels. And finally, we have a Spectral Envelope Follower that listens to Channel D and applies spectral compression to other channels focused on low, mid or high frequencies.
Taken together, these features give you a lot of power over your system’s signals in a single module. And that’s the point of all the Aikido vibes; it uses small changes to affect large movements through the redirection of energy. You can also bind up a pair for an 8-channel mixing experience or combine it with Bastl Instruments Buddy stereo mixer.
Aikido is available now for €309.