Hey all, really excited to be getting into analog and modular after many years working in largely in DAWs as an experimental music hobbyist, because like many, all my initial experiences fiddling around with music and noise-making were analog. Feels great to get back to manipulating sound so directly. I finally have my first skiff set up, but I figured this might also be a place to share my compilation "Sorceress" of my past work, which has been free for a while in both truncated and extended versions on my website. Over the past year I compiled about 235 tracks I had laying around -- some on old cassettes, some on various PC hard-drives, some on CDRs -- for personal archival. Then I put together I think 50 of them for the purposes of a compilation called Sorceress and made it available on my website's blog, with a roughly 20 track version you can stream directly from the site. Been meaning to upload it to one of my Soundcloud accounts, where I have other unrelated material from recent years, but I don't think I ever got around to that.

Tucked up 19 track version here:

https://www.edwardewald.com/sorceress

Full 50 track version is a free download here:

https://www.edwardewald.com/blog/sorceress
(updated dl links)-
https://www.solidfiles.com/v/kX3xRDvqv3MPy
https://www.solidfiles.com/v/kX3xRK6AP3Qnn

The content is a pretty wide gamut, with tracks recorded in 1996 all the way up to 2020. Here's the original blurb about it from the blogpost:


Edward Ewald . Sorceress

(Selected Tracks, 1996-2020)

In 1996, when I was 17, I began fiddling around with a Radio Shack 4-channel mixer, a boombox stereo, a Sony dual cassette deck, a microphone, and a cheap Yamaha keyboard. I had no idea what I was doing and no real musical ability, but I was getting into experimental and electronic music of various kinds, and the desire to do something creative with sound was absolutely overwhelming. So I patched together the little equipment I had on a large table in my family's basement, and set to making a variety of music and noise. The first real "track" I recorded (retroactively titled "FM/AM" and appearing as track #47 on this comp) was basically just a meditative blend of FM and AM radio noise I'd taped, layered with some gentle keyboard drones. I received some positive feedback on the effort from a friend who was into ambient music, and I pressed on with more ambition.

By '97 I was listening to a lot of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher, and I wanted to make something with the rapid, chaotic percussion they tended to employ. I had no idea how to use computers to make music yet, no drum machine, no FX machines -- nothing that would be of any real use to emulating their style of music. So I improvised by simply recording very, very slowly played layers of percussion, and layering them atop each other (via cassette) piece by piece, with layers of melody woven in every other pass or so. I liked things to sound a bit strange, so I did a lot of ... creative EQ-ing, let's say ... and when I felt I had enough, I would dub the resulting, intentionally super-slow mix from one cassette to another at double-speed on the dual cassette deck, while recording the output to a third cassette. This double-speed recording would either become the final mix, or a pre-final mix that I would then mix together with another layer or two of non-sped-up material.

The results were certainly not what I would call objectively good -- I wasn't even using a metronome, and I have a terrible sense of rhythm -- but they were certainly interesting, and I still enjoy some of these wonky little homespun efforts to this day. There is a 2x album on Bandcamp called "Mother's Basement," somewhere, and that is the most comprehensive collection of this specific early period of music-making that I have organized. But a few tracks from that initial era appear here also -- primarily "Falcons" (track 33), and "The Mack" (track 24). "Pac-Man," "Energy Theme," "My Ghetto Bitch, Yo," "Bryan Was a Warm Sun," and of course "FM/AM" are also from this same general very early period. ("Keyboard Music Demo Track 1," while created much later, was also recorded using the same lo-fi, cassette-based mixing method I'd used in '96, as well as the same keyboard -- it was part of a nostalgic attempt to revisit that early process).

In 1998 I'd finally transition to making music on a computer, using a very cheap off-brand DAW called Digital Orchestrator. It crashed often, my grasp of MIDI and mixing principles were poor, and it was years before I realized something as simple as the fact that I could set the sample rate to something higher than 22,500. Many tracks from this era are rather tedious; some have been lost, some I keep ambivalently shelved; but, there are nevertheless more than a few tracks from this era that I still enjoy, too. Of this compilation, tracks from that period would include "Nighthawk," "Leap Frog," "Gloomy Firecracker," "In the Beginning," "Ghost of Memory," "Ghost of Hydrogen," and a personal favorite, "Your Heart is Also Here," which for me subjectively captures the emotional atmosphere of my early twenties in a very personal way. The rest of the tracks range from the mid-aughts all the way up to 2019. I think the most recent track in this compilation is probably "Water Spirit (2nd movement)" from an abandoned ambient EP I was working on a little in 2019. The songs featuring the slightly sped-up/pitch-shifted vocals -- "Princess," "Bill & Sue," "Phantoms," "Pitchforks" and "Magic Trick" -- were supposed to be tracks for a demo album I was putting together called "Suicide Songs," sometime around 2015. "Shortcuts," "Like Magic," "Slice of Night," and the partial "Lady in Red" cover are also from this general period. I know I have a lousy singing voice -- for some reason speeding it up makes it slightly more palatable for me. It gives me permission to not take it very seriously, I suppose, and I've always just enjoyed the slightly weird effect of it (cf. the much, much older "Bryan Was a Warm Sun," which was made with a microcassette recorder microphone only).

Anyway -- recently I set to organizing and revisiting some of my large, disheveled archive, and managed to compile 235 tracks. This was by no means an exhaustive count, just the ones I was able to easily identify and catalog with the time I had. Of those 235, I've winnowed it down to a selection of 50 for the purposes of this 3 hour compilation.

EE

2020



Nicely spacey and playful and peaceful.


Yeah, as I look into it more (and now that I have my actual skiff today) I'm realizing I'm overworrying a bit. I know I'm a little out of my depth with the technical side of electronics, so I'm being super cautious in making sure I'm not overlooking something. Thanks for the link, I will indeed be bookmarking that.


I too wonder if this is a UK/US thing. I've never known anyone to take particular offense to the word 'rube' (in the US). Well ... at least not in any sense relating to xenophobia. And Lugia didn't even use it as an insult ... he used it to mean someone not educated or cultured enough to see through the marketing buzz and snakeoil. Which is what the word means. What would be a better word to use in this context?


My first skiff should arrive tomorrow, and while I've been doing the math to ensure I won't be overdrawing from my available onboard power, one thing I hadn't given much thought to were my surge protectors and keeping the PSU itself powered properly. I've seen uninterruptible power supplies online; is that worth considering, or are there other surge protector related tips/advice people have? I'm just getting into learning this stuff and don't have an especially technical background, so my knowledge of household electrical is pretty limited. I'll be moving into my own house soon, but currently I've got a near-always-running window AC, a high-end windows PC w 1000w psu, 3 external HD hubs (connecting 6 extra hard drives), two 2k monitors, a large Yamaha stereo receiver, a Yamaha MG10xu mixer, a Moog DFAM, Moog Werkstatt, and a few other miscellaneous 9V devices all going in the same small room, not to mention a space heater that occasionally is running (from its own outlet), and obviously a few lamps. Besides the AC/space heater, all this is pretty much connected via a trio of surge protectors across two or three outlets, I think they are pretty decent models and I've had them for years, but I don't know the specs on them offhand.

Is this something I should be thinking about more? I have an 84 hp Synthrotek 3u skiff coming tomorrow, and a double 3u in a couple weeks (though I'll be moving around then), so that's at least 2 modular PSUs added into what already feels like quite a bit of equipment for my little apartment room. Haven't had any problems thus far, I vaguely remember my landlord telling me the electrical for our place (shared multi-unit with his place) was pretty robust, but, trying to make sure I'm covering all my bases here.


As for the $5k QMMG...clearly, this derp hasn't quite picked up on the fact that Make Noise's MMG is NOT discontinued
-- Lugia

Ah yes, but the CURRENTLY available ones don't have the ugly color scheme or the "good" vactrols.


Thanks for the tips, I hadn't yet heard about keeping to < 75% draw, I'd been planning to ramp it closer to full. I'll avoid that.


What do you do when you run out of connections for a skiff (you have power to spare but more modules than connectors)? Is it simple to add or daisy chain on extras? Those 2hps save a lot of space but seem to add up quick where # modules-to-connectors go.


I agree with that in theory, but I think degree and seller intent are important. (And again I'd stress I'm not talking about legality here, just personal ethics).

Say I bought a Moog DFAM new from Moog for $650, which is about the price brand new through a typical retailer. I decide I don't want it and I sell it as an open-box item for $750 and someone buys it. Fair enough. I'd say that the buyer got kind of a poor deal, as it's not too hard to find a used DFAM in near-mint condition for $500-600 (I paid $480 for mine); but hey, it's certainly no seller's responsibility to offer the lowest or fairest possible price imaginable every time they sell something. People offer to sell things above their average market value all the time, and I don't think they're all doing something bad or unreasonable.

But in terms of personal ethics, to me, there's a range that's conscionable, and that range is based on the seller's knowledge of the generally conceded value of the item he/she is selling. If I take my Moog DFAM and price it at $2500, purely staking my hopes to sell it on the notion that someone will buy it simply not knowing any better ... to me, that's really slimy. If someone does that and can just murmur "buyer beware, buyer beware" to themselves and sleep okay at night, so be it. Personally, I couldn't.

That being said, in all transparency and fairness, I took another closer look at the listing I originally mentioned at the start of the thread as I got to thinking more about this, and it appears to be for a version of the module that's now discontinued, which I didn't initially realize. Combine that with the fact that Make Noise seems to be a hot manufacturer in modular right now, and that puts the listing in a different and much more understandable context, where they're pricing it for hardcore collectors who want something no longer available through the normal channels. I still think it's a greedy mark-up, but since it's an "out of print" unit, so to speak, I've actually no issue w/ it.


(Shrug) ... it sounds like you're trying to convince yourself. I'm not saying it should be illegal, but there are many things that I don't think are a good thing to do that I don't necessarily think should be illegal. This is one of them. To me Reverb is a place to buy/sell used gear at a bit of a discount, because it's used and being passed on. Let's just say it's not something I would do, and that I hope you find other ways to improve your situation (and maybe even be able to keep your gear) than knowingly selling it for an inflated price. Look at it this way: you yourself say "sorry you got ripped off," which implies you agree that I was ripped off. The guy was just doing what you're describing doing, basically.

Like I say, I don't think it's morally the worst thing in the universe, and the buyer does have some responsibility to look out for themselves here. With my example, I feel I was kind of ripped off (or would have been -- I was able to back out of the sale, as it happened, at the cost of a "restocking fee") ... but I also accept that it was partly on me for not shopping with more care. But personally I'd just prefer to be able to trust that sellers are offering me a reasonably fair price. What is reasonably fair is admittedly going to be a little subjective. But, I'm only just getting into modular, and I can already tell it's a very addictive hobby, and it's certainly easy to get a little carried away clicking the "buy" button on sites like Reverb -- even with non-inflated prices.


I do get that I have way more sound sources than I need, there were a couple things I happened to get a good deal on and just wanted to have them. I'll probably just work with one of the sound sources to start until I learn more.


OP: please post a link to the actual public rack - so we get click-through and infomatics - jpgs are next to useless - for helping us help you!

my basic thoughts echo @LYFoulidis

I would strongly suggest doing a lot more research before starting buying anything!!!!

at the very minimum: read through some other newbie threads - see what others have been advised in similar situations (there are thousands and thousands of these - you may be special, but you are not unique!)

-- JimHowell1970

Do I just copy/paste the URL? Guess we'll see if that works:
(Hmm... I can't get it to show the right one. It keeps showing an old version. I'll try again later.)
Actually the .jpg in the initial post is of an old version of it too, but ... I guess that's still the gist of it.


I don’t think you should see the Doepfer BBD as a normal BBD delay. If I’m right there is no filter for the BBD clock noise, which is an awfully harsh sound that lowers in frequency as you lengthen the delay time. So if you’re using it as a normal delay, make sure to add an extra lowpass filter just for the feedback path of the delay. It’s an amazing creative module for time-based fx and karplus strong synthesis, though - and if you decide to get the extra filter, it’ll be an extremely flexible delay!

I heard something about this, but ... we'll see how it goes I guess. I'm more interested in experimental and interesting sounds than standard FX, so it should be fine. I've actually tried to sort of order more than I may need in some respects while I have the opportunity to do so, figuring some will be traded or sold off depending on what kind of workflow I find myself falling into and which units I enjoy the character of the most. Polished certainly isn't always my pref. I had a Korg SQ-1 sequencer, and a Rucci 16 step sequencer, and recently had to trade one off ... I opted to part with the SQ-1. It does way more than the Rucci, which is purely CV and a little wonky, but I just enjoy working with the Rucci, it does what I want and has character and charm.

Apart from that, the usual stuff people forget: attenuators, mixers, VCAs. There are quite a few sound sources in this rack, you’ll need ways to control them. I have only 3 monophonic sources in my current rack, and about 10 VCAs, 4 mixers and 3 attenuators. But if you start with purchasing the voice that interests you the most, you’ll find out on the way! Just don’t buy too quick and take the time to get to know your modules :)
-- LYFoulidis

Hmm, thanks for the tip. Those are startling numbers to be sure. I've heard people tend to underestimate the VCAs they need, but I thought between the Quad VCA, ADDAC unit, and the Mixer I might actually be overdoing it. I might have to reprioritize a bit.


I'm just getting into modular for the first time and have been fishing around in regards to this topic myself. It's kind of pleasant how little negativity there is towards the variety of modular brands out there, probably because many of them are relatively small operations who genuinely love what they're doing/making. I've made a personal decision to avoid Behringer modules, because I've had pretty mediocre experiences with their products, their reputation where craftsmanship is concerned isn't the highest, and their company seems to be ethically pretty sketchy. Their units are dirt cheap for what you get, but I'd rather get that money into the hands of a smaller more dedicated outfit like Instruo or 4MS or Folktek or whatever, where they're not making a billion of the units and seem to really care about what they make.


Well, I certainly don't wish any ill on you Kel, but I guess I'm just coming from having been on the other end of that transaction. In fact it happened not that long ago when I first joined Reverb and I was just super excited and discovering how much weird, varied analog gear was out there for sale. I got a little excited and in the excitement committed to purchase an FX unit for which the seller was charging about 3x the cost you could easily get it elsewhere.

Now I get "buyer beware" and all that, it was somewhat my own fault for not doing my research more carefully. But if you are selling an item with a hugely inflated cost and you are hoping for/counting on the ignorance of potential buyers in regards to its fair value to score extra money, then yeah, I think that is a really slimy thing to do. I hope things turn around for you, but not at the expense of ripping off some excited young kid who doesn't know better.


Advice? Feedback?

I've done patching in software programs and some semi-modular with a Moog DFAM and Werkstatt, but that's about it. I'm familiar enough to find my way around with a little elbow grease and googling, have learned a bit about how CVs work vs audio, gates and triggers, etc. -- but def. still amateur enough to expect some weird hiccups and things I didn't consider.

https://cdn.modulargrid.net/img/racks/modulargrid_1532287.jpg

I figure I'll work mostly with the Doepfer modules initially and probably the 2hps, as I get a better feel for how to patch everything effectively, along with the the 3 VCA/mixing and attenuator type units. Once I feel confident with my understanding of those, I'll start to pepper in the fancy lads one at a time, like the MS Ensemble VCO, Mind Phaser, Rampage, and Typhoon.

Anything you feel is missing or will be problematic or that I might prioritize? My goal, long term, is to explore pretty experimental meandering noise-meets-IDM type stuff. Like Autechre but more fun, say. Structured, playful, a little dramatic. Old material can be found in my blog at https://www.edwardewald.com/blog/

Thanks for taking a peek. Components broken out below. I'd love some on board sequencing and logic, that will probably come in the coming months, but I do have a DFAM, Werkstatt, an EM Clockworks, and a Rucci 16 step sequencer to work with externally, not to mention my PC, and an old Yamaha keyboard that has a MIDI sequencer, so I figured that'd be plenty to start in terms of just getting some things happening. I'd also like a dedicated white/colored noise source, but I figure I can snatch one pretty cheap on Reverb at some point. Beyond that I'll definitely be gravitating towards things like Pachinko and Chance (Qu-Bit), things that facilitate randomness and chaos, but in a controllable way.

If the Doepfer VCO and the MS VCO prove repetitive -- especially with the Mini Shimmery and Mind Phaser in there -- I might sell off one or two of those. I might also pawn off the BBD delay if the Typhoon covers everything for me, though I'm not amiss to the idea of playing with multiple delays, so... have to see.....

Anyway, all thoughts welcome thanks for looking/reading.

Mazzatron Testy Mazzatron Testy
Patch Cable Tester 1 2 HP 21 mm 1 mA 0 mA 0 mA

Mutable instruments Ears Mutable instruments Ears
Contact Microphone 1 4 HP 25 mm 5 mA 5 mA 0 mA

Doepfer A-111-2v Doepfer A-111-2v
High end VCO (Vintage edition) 1 14 HP 55 mm 70 mA 50 mA ?

4ms Company Ensemble Oscillator (Black Panel) 4ms Company Ensemble Oscillator (Black Panel)
Black panel for the Ensemble Oscillator 1 16 HP 25 mm 114 mA 45 mA 0 mA

2hp Brst (Black Panel) 2hp Brst (Black Panel)
Voltage Controlled Burst Generator and Trigger Delay 1 2 HP 42 mm 26 mA 7 mA 0 mA

Doepfer A-121-2v Doepfer A-121-2v
12dB Multimode Filter (Vintage edition) 1 8 HP 50 mm 40 mA 40 mA 0 mA

Doepfer A-141-2v Doepfer A-141-2v
Vintage edition panel version of the A-141-2 ADSR/LFO 1 14 HP 70 mm 40 mA 30 mA ?

Doepfer A-188-1v Doepfer A-188-1v
Bucket Brigade Delay Module (Vintage edition) 1 14 HP 60 mm 80 mA 50 mA 0 mA

ADDAC System ADDAC216 ADDAC System ADDAC216
Sum & Difference 1 8 HP ? ? ? ?

Blue Lantern Modules Mini Shimmery MK2 Blue Lantern Modules Mini Shimmery MK2
Percussive Metallic Generator 2 10 HP 64 mm ? ? ?

Hexinverter Électronique Mindphaser Hexinverter Électronique Mindphaser
next-gen analog complex oscillator || thru-zero phase modulation in the analog realm 2 30 HP 24 mm 110 mA 100 mA 0 mA

2hp S+H (Black Panel) 2hp S+H (Black Panel)
Dual Analog Sample and Hold 2 2 HP 42 mm 5 mA 5 mA ?

Befaco Rampage Befaco Rampage
Dual Sergesque Slope Generator with Logical Crossfading 2 18 HP 30 mm 110 mA 90 mA 0 mA

CalSynth Typhoon - Black aluminum CalSynth Typhoon - Black aluminum
Expanded Clouds with sliders 2 16 HP 25 mm 160 mA 35 mA 0 mA

Doepfer A-135-2v Doepfer A-135-2v
Quad VCA / VC Mixer (Vintage Edition) 2 8 HP 45 mm 40 mA 40 mA 0 mA

Doepfer A-138sV Doepfer A-138sV
Mini Stereo Mixer 3 8 HP 30 mm 10 mA 10 mA 0 mA


Guy listed it for $5000, now down to $3500. Sold "as is." How do these people sleep at night?


Lol good idea not sure why I didn't think of that. :D


I upgraded to Unicorn and was kind of hoping there would be a way to "save" my arrangement of modules. I like to sort of space out various modules that I'm plugging/swapping around on the outside of and all around the rack itself, so I can drag them in and out while seeing everything I've made available to myself, trying different arrangements, etc. ... so the feature where they "auto-arrange" along the bottom anytime you do anything involving a screen refresh (stacked on top of each other in an orderly but completely indecipherable and hard-to-navigate way) is actually pretty annoying.

Since this is all in a browser, I can understand why it'd be hard to implement saving the user's arrangement of modules outside the gridded space, but that said, if by chance I've overlooked something and there IS a way to do it ... please please please let me know!


I'd still like a way to disable the cat for real tbh.