The Landscape Stereo Field is a synthesizer designed for direct physical manipulation. It uses skin conductivity to forge new paths of signal and new patches of cross modulation and tonal variation. The radiating and intermingling circles invite the caress of your fingers, hands and elbows to generate sound, control modulation or process audio. It’s a wonderfully tactile box of tricks.
The Stereo Field contains two identical analog stereo synthesizer circuits. Each of the interlocking touch plates are directly connected to all of the possible connections and patch points of either synth. As you run your fingers over the touch plates they create new patch points directly effecting the texture and modulation of the sound. You are becoming part of the signal chain, part of the instrument itself. So slapping your fingers on and making crazy sounds is the order of the day.
They describe the sound as:
“distortion, filtering, feedback, square wave, pulse width modulation, rhythms, wave-folding, frequency modulation, amplitude modulation, spacial shifts, panning, sub octaves, pitch following”
But also point out that most of the time the sound falls somewhere between these definitions.
But it’s not just about the internal sound. Stereo Field can also process in-coming audio. There are little touch plates for the two stereo inputs and outputs, a set on either side, that allow you to access and route the signals. They can be modulated and intermingled with one another.
The audio inputs and outputs can also handle CV resulting in even more chaos and sound mangling possibilities. You can bring in LFO’s to mess with the sounds and you can send finger manipulations out to your modular system.
You’d imagine it to be quite chaotic, and you’d probably be right. All of the possibilities can occur simultaneously so at some point you’d lose track of what’s modulating who and where from. But that’s the charm of the Stereo Field. It’s messy, atonal, random, sounds collide and modulators rise and fall. You can manipulate place and pressure, touch and connection. There’s even a weird video on Instagram of manipulating the touch plates by breathing on them. The sound sculpting possibilities are immense. But it watching the videos how intentional can you actually be – is that even important? Or is it about finding the sound within the manipulation of the instrument?
The person behind Landscape wrote a very interesting article entitled “Why do such a thing” which you’ll find on the Landscape website here. But there was one section that really stood out of me that sums up the Stereo Field far better than I can:
“The Stereo Field exists in a sort of general celebration of doing things wrong and the kind of liberation that comes with that territory. Most importantly, with the Stereo Field you will be making circuits with your hands that are not generally “supposed” to be made. I feel that not knowing is a very important part of the creative process and often yields exciting results.”
It’s a fascinating instrument, beautifully designed and gives you a creative way to interact with your electronic devices. The Stereo Field is available for pre-order for $380. More information along with a lot of video examples are available on the Landscape website.