June was one of those “swan” months where above the water, I may have appeared to be serene and unhurried (and to be not creating a lot of content) … but below the water, my webbed feet were paddling furiously as I moved my studio, rebuilt the power supply in my performance case, started a new web mini-series, and tried to make progress on a number of other tasks. Here is a summary of what I accomplished “above the water”, plus a couple of plans for July:

 

  • featured article: rebuilding my live performance case, The Tardis
  • new videos & posts: a pair of videos on the Elby/Ian Fritz ChaQuO and a quick start video manual for the SynthTech E520
  • course updates: I’d like to give you a course for free this month (and no, it’s not the Basic Concepts of Synthesis, which is already free)
  • Patreon updates: including more details on the ChaQuO and E520, plus an informal video review of most of the filters in my “Monster” studio case
  • upcoming events: the thrilling(!) conclusion to the Tardis series, plus a (virtual) appearance at the Colorado Modular Synth Fest
  • one more thing: helping others get a start in modular

New Videos & Blog Posts

As a follow-up to the Periodic vs. Chaotic vs. Random video I created last month, I uploaded a pair of videos on the Ian Fritz/Elby ChaQuO. They were previously “unlisted”, but I’ve worked out a deal with Elby to make them public now.

I also created a “quickstart” video manual for the new Synthesis Technology E520 Hyperion Processor. Alongside this, I wrote a review of the E520 for Synth & Software. It’s not a normal reverb or mult-effects (and I’ve kept my Happy Nerding FX Aid, which now sits next to the E520 in my Monster studio system), so I wouldn’t sell your favorite versions of those to make room for it. But if you do have room, I feel it adds considerably to the vocabulary of sounds one can create with a modular system.

Modular Courses Updates

The largest online course I’ve created so far is called Eurorack Expansion, and is focused on how you would choose and add modules to a small core modular or semi-modular system. As it is so big, it is also the most expensive course I offer. I created a special version of the course with just those movies, but I think it got lost in all of the other announcements around moving my courses to a new online training platform.

I want to make the “essential” information inside of it more accessible, as I think it contains a lot of practical patching information on how to go about adding another sound source, filter, modulator, mixer, VCA, etc. to your system – as well as what these additions might give you.

Therefore, for the month of July, my Eurorack Expansion: The Essentials course will be free to those who follow this link. You won’t lose access to the course at the end of the month; sign up now using this special discount link, and it will stay in your account. Consider it a “thank you” for supporting me, and also an attempt to share some information during what is a difficult time for many.

Patreon Updates

As I’ve mentioned before, my Patreon supporters get the extended version/director’s cut of whatever I am working on or thinking. For subscribers who have not had a chance to keep up with the recent posts, here’s what I posted:

Upcoming Events

On Wednesday July 8, DivKid and I will present Patching the Tardis, where I explain its “backbone patch” that I leave intact between gigs, and then demonstrate its major sections. As with the other two installments, it will start at noon PDT/3 PM EDT in the US, 8 PM (20:00) BST, and 9 PM (21:00) CEST. We had a very active live chat for the second “feeding” episode in particular, and I look forward to answering questions about how I use this instrument live.

Then on Saturday July 11 I will be giving an online session as part of the Colorado Modular Synth Festival. My exact time slot is to be announced; keep an eye on their site. In the meantime, enter their awesome CMSF Giveaway.

One More Thing…

You have probably seen a lot of posts over the past several weeks supporting Black Lives Matter. Rather than just repeat them, I – as well as other manufacturers and modular retailers – have been asking our fellow modular musicians to do something: support Afrorack.org, who are “committed to providing children and young adults of color access to modular synthesizers and sound design tools.”

If you want to donate some much-needed funds, go to their GoFundMe page. If you have equipment you could donate, email support@afrorack.org.

There’s a story behind the name “Afrorack” – and I think it’s important for some to hear it, because many of us are in the fortunate position where we assume everything is available to us, and don’t realize something as simple as a couple of words can be read as a coded message that might exclude others.

Take the name “Eurorack”: Many of us know it started as a European standard for mounting electronics and computer gear. But others – who sadly are used to having to sniff out signs that they may not be welcome – wonder if the name is a subtle hint that it was created by white Europeans just for them to use.

Think that sounds ridiculous? Go look at typical photos of Eurorack musicians: Despite many wonderful exceptions, you still see primarily white males, seemingly confirming that bias (as well as gender bias: my various site statistics say only 1% of my audience is female, and there are a whole lot more female and non-binary musicians out there than that). This is one of the many subtle ways that “white privilege” permeates our culture without many of us noticing it, as it’s not overt racism or even bad intentions. So to overcome this suspected barrier, Aaron Guice ingeniously created the name Afrorack to let a different audience know that they were included, as well.

We also know that modular is not a cheap game to get into, with a high initial price of entry. Afrorack.org therefore needs your help to get this gear into the hands of other creative beings who may not be able to climb over that first step right now, so they can decide if this is a route they want to take to express themselves in the future. I’ve met and had several conversations with Aaron – an accomplished sound designer and producer in his own right – and fully believe in what he’s doing, having donated money, modules, books, and courses to his cause. Aaron has given a lot of himself to this effort; let’s help him by giving him a little bit of ourselves as well.

I’m safely moved into my new studio now, and am loving the space. I have just a bit of wiring to finish, and then I can start shooting videos again. But first, I need to finish the Tardis and demonstrate it – which means getting to play again! I hope your summer also full of creative promise.

warmest regards –
Chris