Time flies. I feel like I just joined this forum and dipped my toe in the modular ocean. I've been sharing rack updates a few times a year since I posted my initial noob "Help Me" plan. I was sort of an old-school synth guy who got disillusioned with making music and sold all my gear years ago. I happened upon some interviews with Genesis P-Orridge and the Cabaret Voltaire guys back in 2019 and got the itch to incorporate synths into an art project that I had been thinking about. The rest is a whirlwind of noise, fun, and an empty wallet.
My initial rack plan was about half the size of my current setup below (still need to buy the Vortices and LRMSMSLR in the picture). The plan was to build something for repetitive noise and abrasive glitchy techno-ish sounds. Somewhere along the way I remembered that I actually enjoy making music in a bunch of different genres. Some days I'm fascinated with Merzbow, other days I'm fascinated with Depeche Mode, or Fad Gadget, or Drexciya, or Boards of Canada, or Japan, or Oren Ambarchi, or Kraftwerk, or Can, or Surgeon, or Prefuse 73, or... you get the picture. So, my rack grew until space and money ran out. And I'm happy.
What I've discovered that I can share with the other noobs is there are a lot of well-intentioned but rigid folks who will tell you how you should do things, but rarely are they right beyond some very simple guidance (buy a bigger rack, don't overlook utilities, etc.). Everyone will do this differently, and what works for someone else will not work for you. Don't run out and buy a dual comparator, Maths, or an analog frequency shifter because someone else says you need those modules. I bought Clouds and hated it. I bought a Disting and hate it (though it still sits mostly unpatched in my rack, just in case).
You will know what you need when you need it. When you reach for something that is not there, that's the next module you should buy, whatever it is. If someone tells you that you are doing it wrong, whether it's because of a tiny case, or not enough VCAs, or too many filters, or whatever, don't worry about it. You'll figure out the direction you are heading along the way. I'm sure there is someone out there having a blast with nothing more than a Basimilus Iteritas Alter and a Pamela's New Workout. And that's all that matters in the grand scheme of things: FUN. No need to suffer for your art like some frustrated Nietzschean hermit. Just have fun with it all.
Buy a few modules that look like fun and see if you can figure out how to make them work. Do the research yourself. Read manuals, watch DivKid/MylarMelodies/etc. videos until your brain starts to think in a British accent. Plug something into something else and see if it sounds cool. Then sell what isn't working to get the next module that will help you achieve the sound you are looking for. It's really that simple. I wasted some money doing this, but I learned a lot along the way and I actually have what I need now. The GAS is gone. Now I'm just tweaking my layout here and there so everything makes sense to ME. It's all a personal journey, not what some random dude on the internet (like myself) tells you is the "right" way. Don't get me wrong, forums are super helpful, but mostly as a way to make sense of what you are experimenting with and experiencing along the way.
Anyway, happy holidays to you all. Thanks for following along with my updates over the past few years. I hope you all are happy, healthy, and having fun!