Expert Sleepers schools us in classic envelopes, Faded Instruments gets touchy in 3U and BeepBoop scratches on strips of tape. And Beat Machine is back from a development black hole.
After a lot of digging around the corners of the Eurorack community, here are the bits of modular that caught my eye this week.
Expert Sleepers Aloysius
A strange name for an equally strange envelope generator. Aloysius is an Attack, Hold, Decay, Wait or AHDW envelope also known as a trapezoid generator for the sort of shape it makes. It was found on old synths like the EMS Synthi and VCS-3. You’ll also find it on the Erica Synths SYNTRX.
Rather than having a Sustain level in the middle like regular ADSR envelopes you have a Hold stage that’s defined by time. And so each stage has its own length that you can set on the knobs. Attack and Decay have some shaping control from logarithmic to exponential sloping. It can be triggered, gated (which affects the Hold) or automated into an LFO where the Wait knob starts to come into play.
It’s an interesting style of envelope that’s gone out of fashion, so it’s good to see it back.
Following on from the very funky 1U modules, Faded Instruments has a few larger 3U modules for us to try.
First is the Jangler 3U. It’s a completely passive module that uses the conductance of your fingers to mangle and manipulate your signals. It’s experimental and expressive, and the idea is that you get stuck in and start making connections and changing how your signals are routed. You can do things like mix, pan, act as a VCA, mix up effects, mess up clocks or conjure feedback during your performance.
- Jangler 3U page.
Next up is the FlipTwistPushTouch, which is kind of a greatest hits of Faded Instruments 1U modules in a single 3U module. You’ve got some signal switching, some attenuation, inversion and touch plates for a bit of Janglering.
- FlipTwistPushTouch page.
And lastly, Mididudler, a fiddly little MIDI controller in a module. It has 8 banks of 8 knobs that output MIDI controller numbers over USB for controlling your laptop. It could also be a useful way to control other synths from a unit in your modular. However, it would have been nice if it had a direct MIDI output as well as the USB.
- Mididudler page.
BeepBoop Electronics 2hp IEC Tapehead
From the weird brain of Monojack comes the 2hp IEC Tapehead. The idea is that you smash open an old cassette machine and steal the play head. Wire that into a Eurorack module with an amplifier and then scratch the head along bits of cassette tape that’s been taped to your desk. The result is somewhere in between being a scratch DJ, sampler mechanic and sound librarian. This looks like so much fun.
- BeepBoop website.
2020 The Semi Modular Beat Machine
This isn’t modular in a hardware modular sense but it’s nicely insane and fun to share. This was original a project from 2017 that got lost somewhere over on Kickstarter. But it’s back and open for preorders. It’s a massive single window modular system that incorporates sequencers, instruments, synth modules, modulators, effects and mixing. It hangs together by virtual CV connections and could get very interesting.
Sadly it’s only available for macOS and will launch in July.
- Beat Machine website.