Todd Barton

music, composition, buchla synthesis

4 — Spectrum: Do The Opposite

Welcome to my fourth post.  I am slowly unfolding concepts based on my previous posts so you might what to take a moment and check them out.

When I first met Alex at BEMI (Buchla Electronic Musical Instruments) we would spend a lot of time exploring patching philosophy.  One comment I made that has stayed with Alex, and he quotes it often in many circumstances, is “Do the Opposite!” So. . .I am now calling it The Alex Mantra.

How does this play out in patching a Buchla system? (or any system for that matter). Simple, take a patch and either:

1) slowly turn or move pots and sliders and flip switches to their opposite position listening along the way for new and interesting permutations. Or…

2) immediately move the pots, sliders and switches to their opposite place and slowly work backwards toward the original settings.

Along the way you will find a variety of useful and not-so-useful sounds.  If you’re working with a 200e system that has a 225e or 206e you can, of course, save each interesting sound as a preset. Before you know it you’ll have a useable set of presets!   And pretty soon the iProgramCard will be available for the Music Easel which will also allow you to save your preset explorations.

This technique encourages you to explore the full spectrum or range (from 0-10 et al) of each knob, dial, slider and switch.  Sometimes this process will take some serious patience as you listen to a 20 second envelope rise for 10 seconds and fall for 10. At this point you might take 3-5 minutes to incrementally move the attack backwards towards 0.  Of course, if this envelope is shaping a timbre or modulation circuit you will definitely be finding some amazing sounds along the way from a 10 second attack to 0.  Take the time.

Spectrum, n. a range: a continuous, infinite, one-dimensional set, possibly bounded by extremes.

Here is a video of two different “spectrum” explorations.  Enjoy!


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