Clouds from Mutable Instruments is one of the most popular and creative Eurorack modules out there. It’s a granular, texture sampling, diffusion plunging, audio processing synthesizer. Well now, with a free firmware update from Kammerl Kaske, it’s also got some beat-repeat and real-time slicing functionality.
It should be stressed that this alternative firmware is not an official release from Mutable Instruments. It’s essentially a user hack which enables modifications and the adding of functionality. However, this sort of behaviour is completely encouraged by Mutable.
The great thing about this firmware is that it doesn’t replace the original functionality of Clouds, it simply adds a new mode. The other popular firmware called Parasite replaces all the original modes. Currently, you can’t run Kammerl and Parasites at the same time, although I imagine this will change.
The beat-repeat mode analyses the incoming clock to enable real-time slicing of the audio. Each slice can be played back with different loop, pitch and distortion settings. Clouds Freeze button now becomes the repeat/slice enable button. You can set the loop start point and length, either freely or quantised to clock divisions. The pitch control doesn’t do any time stretching so it will majorly mess with the timing of your audio, but hopefully in interesting ways.
There are four additional parameters that you can play with. Slice Probability defines the likelihood of enabling the slicing, turning the effect on and off. This is overridden by the Freeze button. Clock Divider changes the slice lengths. Feedback routes the output back in creating a bit of a phaser effect. Warm Distortion which simply adds a bit of colour to the signal.
Unless you’re a Parasites user then this is a bit of a no-brainer firmware update. Make sure you follow the installation instructions very carefully to prevent any risk of bricking your Clouds.
Here’s a quick demo of the features and below that is a video from Richard Devine showing it in a slightly more exciting way.