In the featured article this month, I take a historical look at the use of filters in electronic music instruments. In the pre-“synthesizer” days, most electronic instruments had non-enveloped multi-band resonators and formant filters to shape their crude waveforms into something resembling acoustic instruments. Once Bob Moog and Don Buchla popularized the idea of voltage control, virtually all synth voices used enveloped filters to add articulation and timbre changes to notes (often to waveforms similar to those early instruments). Once more complex digital sound sources started to appear, a few manufacturers wondered if we even needed filters any more. Today, most synths have two or more filters; I have over ten in my modular – which I use in various ways. How I put them to use is the main subject of this month’s article.


  • featured articleA filter left unpatched is a missed opportunity to create a more refined sound.
  • new videos and postsAn interview, and a new performance video. Also, I’m moving more of my Alias Zone performance videos to the Learning Modular YouTube channel.
  • Patreon updates: It was a busy month, with a Patch Breakdown of my latest performance, a new patch idea, the first of my Patreon Zoom sessions, and two vintage synth stories from my time at Sequential.
  • upcoming events: My next Patreon Ask Me Anything with guest host Todd Barton is Sunday September 19.

New Videos & Blog Posts

Last month I greatly enjoyed being a guest on Live From the Studio with Franck Martin. Franck interviewed me about my musical history and influences, plus I answered questions from the live chat.

As part of that interview, we publicly premiered my latest composition – Shipwrecked – which introduced a floating/ambient element alongside my usual sequences. Here is that video in isolation:

I’ve been uploading my latest music videos when they become available to my Alias Zone YouTube channel, as I’m working to establish that more an my musical identity. However, it’s a simple fact that my older, more established Learning Modular channel has a much larger following – so I’m starting to upload videos to that channel as well, several months after the’ve been released on the Alias Zone channel. The most recent one I uploaded is Náhuatl, which was my performance at Steve Roach’s SoundQuest Fest earlier this year:

Patreon Updates

August saw a lot of activity on my Patreon channel, including the subwoofer piece mentioned in last month’s newsletter, as well as:

August was also the first of my Patreon subscriber “ask me anything” Zoom sessions. I’m enlisting a guest host for each month, both to ask me questions and also to add to the discussion with the live attendees.

Last month, Trovarsi (pictured above, sitting in my studio) was the guest host; a private link to the recorded session will be posted soon for subscribers. On September 19, the guest host will be Todd Barton. Learning Modular Patreon subscribers of all levels are invited to participate. Note that you will need to register for this event; details will be sent out in the next couple of weeks.

Upcoming Events

September 19, 11 AM PDT / 2 PM EDT / 8 PM CEST: Learning Modular Patreon subscriber “Ask Me Anything” Zoom session, with guest host Todd Barton. These sessions last roughly an hour and a half, where you get to ask me anything you like. Todd will also be prodding the conversation along; we’ve already had some great chats ahead of time comparing our composition techniques that we look forward to discussing with you.

To participate, you must be a subscriber to either my or Todd’s Patreon channels, and register at the link that will be provided. All levels of my subscribers are welcome.

As many of you know, in July I broke a leg, which has greatly hampered my ability to get around – including down the stairs to my studio. Well, last month we had a motorized chair lift installed to make that possible, and I cannot express how happy I am to be sitting in my studio again (which is where I am now, writing this). It’s still challenging to stand in front of my modular for more than a few minutes, so I’m easing back into things by organizing patches on some of my poly synths – and that has already spawned several melodic ideas for new compositions. I expect to be back to near full functioning in my studio before the end of October, with new music to follow. And of course, I’ll be sharing with you what I come up with. Thank you again for your support.

warmest regards –