The Long Night

These nights around the Winter Solstice are the longest, many times the coldest, but not necessarily sad nor depressing. I like the dark and quiet environment of these long winter nights to create some music and soundscapes. This track is the result of one of those nightly jams.

The gear I used is my November/December 2020 setup: The SQ-1 serves as the master clock. Yes, the SQ-1 doesn’t show me the tempo I’m playing at, but that is a good thing in this case, as it allows me to set the tempo based on feeling, instead of looking to a number display. From the SQ-1, the analogue sync signal goes (via a split) to the Monotribe and the Behringer Crave. The MIDI output is connected to the MicroFreak, which is listening on channel 2. I’m also sending CV A and B to the Crave’s filter CV (via the VC mixer) and the filter Ressonance. Finally, the KMI QuNexus is used to play the lead sound on the Crave. As a final touch, the Monotron delay is listening on the Crave’s headphone output, for that cosy lo-fi delay vibe.

It is very interesting to play the pad on the MicroFreak while sending MIDI notes on channel 2: there is an interesting interference between the chord notes and the external sequencer that makes for an interesting and moving background. I really want to go back to this technique in 2021.

This was also one of the first videos I edited using FlowBlade instead of Kdenlive. I hope you enjoy the result as much as I enjoyed making it.

This track is also available on my BandCamp (as an EP with both Long and short versions) or on my SoundCloud.

Berlin School Experiment 11

It’s been a while since my Last Berlin School Experiment. The recording of Ambient Explorations 11¬†gave me some new ideas I want to explore deeper. This is one of those.

This Experiment was done in one take in which three tracks were recorded: the Monotribe, the Volca Sample being sequenced by the SQ-1, and a stereo track for the Streichfett. There were some awkward silences in the the last two tracks, so I copied them and delayed in time (by about one minute). Two volca tracks were then panned left and right and a Calf Pulsator was used as an auto-pan for enhancing the stereo field. As for the secondary Streichfett track, It is only heard on some points, with a strong delay… almost as a distant memory.

The Streichfett and the Monotribe (which has a MIDI mod) are controlled from my PCR-500 in split mode, and a sustain pedal is used on the Streichfett. The Korg SQ-1 is sequencing the Volca Keys and the synchronization between the SQ-1 and the LFO on the Monotribe was dialed in by ear (thus them going in and out of sync while the music progresses).

As always, the audio was recorded and mixed on Ardour, and the final video was assembled using kdenlive, on an Arch Linux box.


Synthesizers of the world: UNITE!

Ok, so this is a little bit of a joke. Earlier this year Korg launched the Minilogue, and soon enough the internet was flooded with cry babies complaining that the Minilogue clicks a lot. So last weekend I decided to do a kind of a parody over these complaints, using the clickiest of all my synths: The Monotribe.

So, the video is mostly raw footage from the backing track, with extracts from the movie “The Truth About Communism” obtained from the Internet Archive.

Musically speaking, this was a little more of a challenge. The backing track was performed live and the signal chain goes as follows: the Volca Beats gives sync pulses to the SQ-1. It is also giving me some rhythm track to guide me, although it is not recorded (in the video you can see the audio out is unplugged). The SQ-1 is controlling the Monotribe using CV and gate (to see how I did the adaptor, check this and this video). Since I have the Monotribe calibrated to accept the CV from the MicroBrute and didn’t care for tuning, the track sounds atonal. The Sound from the monotribe goes into the FX600 for a little bit of chorus, then into the Nux Time Core for some time sync’ed Ping Pong Delay, and then finally to the RV600 for some cave reverb (which has a little bit of a delay character). The idea was for the click to be musically meaningful… something between a kind of percussion¬† and bombs detonating in the distance. I think I managed to do ok with that.

On post-production, three tracks were added using sounds from the Streichfett: a long Cello pedal, some vocal chords and an arpeggio for the second half of the song (using the arpeggiator from the MicroKorg). Finally the rhythmic pattern from the beats was recorded onto a fifth track. As usual, the audio production was made in ardour, and the video later edited using kdenlive.  I hope you enjoy listen to it as much as I did making it.

Voltage – Reprise

So, here’s a new video to end the “Monotribe Control Voltage” mini-series and also to welcome the weekend.

Last week, I recorded “Voltage” as a demo of the capabilities of the Monotribe-MicroBrute duo when control voltage is used. During a rehearsal to check the lighting, sound levels, framing on the cams, etc I accidentally pressed play on the Monotribe. Apparently, the ribbon controller on the Monotribe has priority over the note on the CV input, but the Notes on the sequencer don’t. On the other hand, the gate on the sequencer has priority over the gate on the CV, which means you can use the Monotribe to play a rhythmic pattern (including the drums) while droning on the MicroBrute. This is essentially what I do in this video. I hope you like it! :)

Control Voltage for the Monotribe – Part 1: Making an Adapter Cable

I always used MIDI. I am very familiar to MIDI: from the communication between Pure Data and my software synths, to my PCR-500, when using the Volcas or the Microkorg… So I never understood all the fuzz about Control Voltage (CV)… for me it looked like a relique from ancient times. I even brought the DinTribe adapter to hookup my Monotribe to my other synths and controllers.

When the 2.1 firmware update for the Monotribe was release, it added CV-Gate input connectivity. Since now I am the proud owner of a MicroBrute and a SQ-1, I decided to give it a go. This is how I made the cable adapter for the Monotribe, how I calibrated it and also some ideas I had during my experimentation. This text is accompanied by YouTube videos showing the steps I took. Continue reading “Control Voltage for the Monotribe – Part 1: Making an Adapter Cable”