During 2018 I will be collaborating with Kim Bjørn of PUSH TURN MOVE to create PATCH & TWEAK: a new book dedicated to modular synthesizers, including those who create modules and those who create music using these glorious beasts. Modular synth pioneer and “Diva of the Diode” Suzanne Ciani will be writing the forward.
PATCH & TWEAK will include an introduction to modular synthesis, followed by descriptions of a wide range of modules including how they work as well as you would put them to work to create the sounds in your head. This will be supplemented by interviews with a great selection of module manufacturers, including Verbos Electronics, Frap Tools, Mutable Instruments, WMD, Make Noise Music, Intellijel, Endorphin.es, 4ms Company, Noise Engineering, Rossum Electro-Music, Erica Synths, and Music Thing Modular.
But don’t think this is just a hardware book! Gear lust is fun, but we also want you to be inspired to create music. Therefore, all that technical content is balanced with interviews with a wide range of modular musicians, including Hans Zimmer, Robert Rich, Bana Haffar (Modular on the Spot), Caterina Barbieri, Russell E. L. Butler, Ian Boddy (DiN; Red Shift), Node, Robin Rimbaud (Scanner), Hataken, Colleen Martin (Lady Starlight), Andrew Huang, and more.
PATCH & TWEAK will not teach you how to patch a perfect trumpet sound, or imitate that bass riff in your favorite Future Dub song. Instead, it will teach you how to create new sounds – your own sounds – from scratch. It will not teach you how to use that module everybody said you should buy; instead, it will make you aware of hundreds of other modules that are available, and teach you what to look for in a module and what new capabilities it will give you. Below is a live webcast Kim and I did with “DivKid” Ben Wilson about the book:
PATCH & TWEAK was initially available through a Kickstarter campaign starting May 1 2018; it will ship well before the end of this year. Now that the Kickstarter campaign has ended, you can still pre-order a book from the PATCH & TWEAK web page. Many, many thanks to all of you who made the Kickstarter campaign a success and who otherwise pre-ordered the book – we’re working hard to make it a worthwhile purchase.
Videos, or Book?
I believe you will find this book is an excellent compliment to my online modular synth video courses: A print book is the ideal format to discuss history, list modules, and illustrate common patches; videos are the ideal format to show both your eyes and your ears what happens when you use certain modules in certain ways.
My recommended order would be to watch my original Learning Modular Synthesis course (perhaps in parallel with reading in the “intro to modular synthesis” chapter in the book), followed by reading PATCH & TWEAK. Then keep what you learned in the book in mind while watching many of those modules in action in my ever-growing Eurorack Expansion course. If you happen to be a Moog Mother-32 user, you can watch that course before or in place of my original Learning Modular Synthesis course.