Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
December 5, 2015
by Chris Randall
I've had the Push 2 for a few whiles now, and (despite a heavy load of Logistics in the last couple weeks) I've been experimenting with how to best integrate it in to my Workflow. (I wonder if that joke has gotten old yet.)
The video above is some of that experimentation. Someone asked via the YouTube comments about what was going on, and in trying to answer, I discovered that it's so hideously complex that it beggars description in a YouTube comment format, so I thought I'd break it down here, where I have a little more control over things. So, what follows is a ridiculous process explanation. Strap in.
Percussion: As you can see, I have two Sequencer 1 units in my Eurorack. The lower one is driving all the rhythmic elements. I have two Neuron modules in the bottom row, and they provide (on the left) the foot and (on the right) the snare. To the right of them is a Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas , which is also making a snare-ish sound. They are triggered by the gate, accent, and one of the CV outputs of the Seq1 respectively. Another CV output in Seq1 is driving (via an LFO) a WMD env/vca through which Mad Hatter provides hat duties. The WMD Sequential Switch to the right of the lower Sequencer 1 has the two Neurons and the BI bussed through it, and the fourth output is running to a prototype of DubJr Mk 2 (which you see me occasionally send something to. Should be obvious any time I touch the Sequential Switch.) DubJr Mk2 is getting clocked off the clock output of the Seq1.
This whole mess is getting mixed in the lower right-hand corner in the Circuit Abbey Unify. The main outputs are running to a stereo pair in Live, and the headphone output is running to a prototype of ADM15 Spectre (our upcoming FFT freeze module.) This is in the lower left-hand corner. The left-hand Neuron (the kick) is the sidechain source for a Kompressor, which Spectre runs through, and thus to a Dimensions chorus, and to the Unify mixer that is in the lower right of the upper case.
That Sequencer 1's last CV output is running to its own CV1 input, with a random LFO triggering the repeats on the second pattern I run starting at 5:50.
Euro Synth: The synth lines coming from the Eurorack are driven by the top Sequencer 1. This Sequencer 1 is modulating itself in the same manner as above, and the CV and gate outputs are driving the WMD/SSF set in the second row, in a typical 2-osc / 2-env / 1 filter configuration. Nothing special about this at all. This is getting mixed with Spectre via the Unify in the second row, and then on to a second pair of inputs to Live.
The Live Thing: This is actually much later in an extended Live set (for another section that has more coming from Live, see previous video), and the slots that have stuff in them you can't see since the right side of the Push 2 unit is out of frame. But suffice to say there's stuff there and it's running. I am, in this instance, primarily using Live and the Push 2 as a mixer, though.
The first channel, EuroDrums, has as its source the stereo pair from the lower Unify (the percussion.) I have an Effect Rack on the channel, with a whole raft of shit in it. There are two instances of Eventide H3000 Factory, an instance of AD Replicant, and an instance of SonicCharge Permut8, as well as various compressors, EQs, delays, etc. Four of the knobs in the Effect Rack (and thus on the Push 2) drive various controls on the buffer effects, three of them control delay flavor, and the last one controls distortion/bitcrushing. In this manner, I can just whack the EuroDrums button on Live, and I have a lot of control over the drum buss, at least as far as glitching/buffer shit goes.
The second channel, EuroSynth, is much the same, with an Effects Rack with all the macro knobs mapped. However, instead of buffer effects, I have stuff appropriate to the sort of synth work I do. Five of the macro knobs are mapped to Mangleverb, and three of them are mapped to another Effects Rack that contains two Dubstations arranged in a ping-pong array.
There is an audio channel off to the right that you can't see that is playing a loop of a field recording of water running throughout the video, and there is also a channel that contains an instance of Silent Way Sync that is providing the master clock for the Eurorack. There are three effect return channels, and my sends are ValhallaVintageVerb, Eos, and DubJr (this is actually my template Live set, and I have those three in everything I do.) All channels have the NI SolidBus compressor on them, and various EQs appropriate to the task, as does the master channel.
monome: The monome 128 that you see in the bottom of the frame is controlling an instance of Flin as a M4L midi effect. This is in front of an instance of AD Phosphor. I kick this on for the second half of the first song.
So, as you can see, a lot going on, but once it's all set up, it's pretty fluid. Effects Rack macros to control the synth and drum buss effects, Euro for sound sources, and Live for stuff that can't be done with the Euro. All directly accessible and fairly easy to control. I'm greatly enjoying exploring this hybrid workflow, and am incredibly happy with the Push 2. I imagine this is how I'll be making music for some time now. The trick is to treat the monome / Push 2 / Eurorack as a holistic instrument, and learn it that way, rather than concentrating on any one thing at the expense of the others, I think.
Here is the audio. If you click through to the Octave page, you can download a high-quality MP3.
Listen to "glitch one / glitch two" by chris randall.