Erica Synth has revived the Mutant Machine from Hexinverter. It’s based on the TR-909 kick and snare circuits that are then bent in deliciously alarming ways.
It’s a fantastically named module that’s ridiculously wide and has a devastatingly stylish “Édition Noire” paint job. It offers a universe of percussive sounds through the abuse of classic bits of analogue circuitry. Erica Synths is at pains to say that there are no microcontrollers running things behind the panel – this is pure discrete, analogue artistry.
Mutant Machine is a module of three parts that fold into a two-part diverse sound source. On the left, the Membrane section uses two core oscillators to push towards that classic 909 kick sound. Each oscillator has three selectable waveforms and very quickly finds itself deviating from its roots.
The middle section works into the Membrane to push these oscillators around. You’ve got detuning, pitch control and envelope shaping. The waveforms can be scanned either internally or externally to generate many more complex timbres. This could, for instance, change waveform on every trigger, or perhaps even more fun is to pump it up into audio rate. And finally a Drive control will build out the sound to its full potential.
On the right is Snappy, which could be called the 909 snare section. It uses a voltage-controlled noise generator to create the fizz and snap of snare-type instruments. Manipulating the pitch can result is a wide range of possibilities.
Finding its alien voice
The CV control and possibly avenues of cross-modulation turn the Mutant Machine into a superb sound design module. There are multiple outputs from which you can pull noise, waves, snaps, clocks and a complete mix tipping it beyond its percussive intentions. And ultimately, it’s all happening via a single trigger input. You can also replace either sound engine with external sources and just use the twisting of the circuitry to mess with other sources.
Mutant Machine is undoubtedly a monster in terms of size and sonic potential. It uses an awful lot of space and knobs to generate a single bonk, but once you’ve modulated the b*stard you’ll discover a stunning stream of alien space noise.
Hexinvertor Mutant Machine is available now for €320.