April 2021 - “Almost” Business as usual
Words from Robert
“Almost” business as usual - what does this even mean? For most of you it means that you are still waiting patiently for your order to be shipped and while I am incredibly grateful for your patience, understanding and kind words, there isn’t a day when I don’t think of how to turn this situation around. For 3 years now we are trying to catch up with this incredible demand, not just for the stock on hand, but also for new and exciting modules. We have grown from just myself to a team of three truly dedicated staff and while that helps, it also means that if one of us gets sick, production goes down by 30%! We encountered this painfully the last weeks - but now we are complete again. It is a fact of and reality of any small business and while we’re trying to improve processes, it’s not that easy like “simply hire more staff”.... All this might sound as if I’m a bit weary, maybe worn out from the double demands of getting out orders every day while trying to innovate and design new modules at night….
But - NO! In fact the opposite is true: I’m feeling more energised and more alive than ever! This work has been a true blessing in my life, not just because I can finally support myself and my family with work that I truly love, but also because of you, the incredible community which gives me so much inspiration and support and makes everything we do here in the shop meaningful and worthwhile doing! Due to the workload in the production I don’t get to read all of the posts on the forum and don’t get to watch all of the amazing jams and music videos that are coming out almost every day now, so I’m always happy when Carsten creates these blog posts with an overview of what happened and what was discussed in the community each month. Also reading some of the older blog posts shows just how far we all have come and how this community has grown in leaps and bounds over only the last 3 years!
Thank you all for allowing me to be a part of this amazing journey!
A quad VCA, switchable DC/CV and Audio (same like 2VCA), and a mix output! So it is also a 4-channel CV controllable mixer!
You can buy this module in the shop now!
A dual bass-treble tone control, that is a quite useful companion for the MIXCONSOLE.
This module is now available in the shop!
The VMBRIDGE module offers all necessary level adaptations for cross-patching between Volca Modular and AE modular. It offers two audio and two CV connections for each direction (from/to Volca Modular), plus two minijack connections for the CV and Sync in/out connections of the Volca Modular.
You can find more info and purchase this module in the shop!
4 inputs, four outputs; you can make freely every connection between these, no matter if CV or audio signals. Each routing / connection setting can be stored in one of 64 preset memories. Selecting the presets is possible by up/down triggers, CV, and of course by two up/down buttons.
A performance mode makes it possible to switch between 16 presets by simply pressing one of the matrix buttons - quite handy for live use!
You can now buy this module in our shop!
The following modules have now been successfully prototyped and will soon go into production!
This module will allow a click-free muting of up to 6 audio channels with illuminated pushbuttons. It is a nice addition for the MIXCONSOLE and is perfect for live performances.
Think of those white fluffy water vapours in the sky and then think of the famous Eurorack module with a very similar name … This module is (for me) one of the most exciting additions to the AE palette!
Cable Holders by Flavorwave
This cable management attachment fits perfectly on all AE Modular racks and has already attracted much interest from the community. Check it out on Flavorwave's Online Shop.
There’s also a discussion thread on the forum: https://forum.aemodular.com/thread/1407/help-cable-management-kit-question
Music made by the Community
More and more fabulous tracks are being released into the AE Modular community. Each is a testament to the incredible creativity of these artists and how they use the modular synthesizer to express their visions of sound. Again the following list is only an excerpt of all the wonderful new tracks that have been posted. Please visit the forum for more!
Live Jam with Movie Comments by @lukylutte - It’s always so interesting to see how people use the AE Modular in live environments. https://forum.aemodular.com/thread/1430/kinda-house
Techno Jam with the new 555 Breadboard Oscillator - Keuerslager Kurt just can’t stop. After his recent success with his first new modules he’s already working on the next one and showing it off here with great aplomb!
Psychedelic Video by @101 - There are a few really interesting music videos now posted on the forum with very artistic graphics. This one also features a nice psychedelic guitar:
Aphex Twin inspired Jam and showing off yet another Breadboard Design - We just can’t keep Keuerslager Kurt quiet! Does he ever sleep? This jam shows off his arpeggiator prototype on a breadboard:
And this is another jam with that same arpeggiator. This is more ambient:
First Jam and it rocks! - New to AE and new to the forum, but this track makes us want to see and hear more of user @maydonpoliris:
First Ambient Track with Drone38 and DronX - Ambient master Moruial puts the new drone modules to work in this slow and meditative track:
Ambience and Swirling Video - user @dmoney2000 (UY Scuti) achieves a very captivating symbiosis between his ambient soundscapes and the swirling video structures:
Ambient Solina - @lorizon doesn’t post very often, but when he does the tracks are just absolutely excellent. This dreamy piece is another one of these marvels:
Video Synthesis and AE Modular - This is a faster track by Uy Scuti featuring video synthesis and a techno track made with the AE and other synths
A Volley of Ambient and Droney Pieces - are coming from user @pt3r who creates these amazing sound and video scapes with only a Starter Rack 2 and some FX. And lately he has even released an album on Bandcamp which might or not be your “Cup of tAE”
New AE Modular Podcast
This is an initiative of The Tuesday Night Machines, Slowscape and The 5th Volt with the goal to meet once every month over Zoom and just talk about various topics concerning the AE Modular community. We are thinking of inviting guests in the future, so if you would like to be part of one of the next episodes, please contact @admin via the forum! All episodes will be listed in the forum thread below.
As usual, the DIY projects have bloomed in April. No wonder since it’s Spring in the northern hemisphere where most of AE’s fans live! The following is an excerpt of what our genius inventors have posted to the forum. However please check out the DIY board yourself and also go on to our Discord server where you can participate in real-time chat and discuss your next DIY project.
Free 3D printed AE Modular stand
Posted by user @lillyschwartz this looks like a great way to prop up a one case system. Thanks to Lilly for also posting the model files on Thingiverse so that anyone with a 3D Printer can make this stand!
Double Rack Stand
This is another 3D printed rack mount and holds together the cutest little AE setup that we’ve ever seen. Check it out in all its cuteness:
“Legendary” 555 VCO by Thomas Henry
In his typical Lab Notebook fashion, Zeno aka Keuerslager Kurt has presented his experiments with turning the good old 555 timer chip into a wonderfully tracking VCO. The design has been out for a number of years and was only waiting for someone dedicated enough to port it to the AE. However for now it only lives on Zeno’s breadboard even though it already makes amazingly good sounds.
And because Zeno can’t stop inventing new things he’s also presented us with a breadboard prototype of a new arpeggiator module that allows for CV controlled transposition of the root note. Check out his detailed report:
Chaos aka Sloth
This module is yet another project by Zeno and is a clone of the Sloth Eurorack module made by Nonlinear Circuits. It is a source of slow moving chaotic CV and great for drones and ambient things. Check out the progress here:
Powering your AE directly via Micro USB 5V
Felix aka TheTuesdayNightmachines wanted a super compact Drone Rack and found a way to get the modules powered without losing 1U to a Power module! This is a great hack for those small, battery powered rigs.
Other Forum Topics
The AE Modular forum is a safe space for musicians and allround creative souls and in the Lounge we can discuss many other topics that aren’t directly related to hardware, software or even music making. It allows us to come together as people and as creatives and share our thoughts, philosophies and dreams. I think that it’s this opening up and sharing more personally our thoughts on our journey as artists that makes this community so incredibly fun and rewarding.
How the modular synth has kindled my creativity!
User @johnpg “broke cover” and wrote a long and very important piece on the forum about his new creative process and he states that “Your mistakes and errors are not mistakes and errors - they are your STYLE.”
I think this is such an important message especially for beginners as it will help to overcome the “fear of not being good enough” that might hold some people back from ever discovering and fulfilling their creative potential.
Tell Me About Jazz
This has become one of the most frequented threads in April and has definitely struck a chord in many of our members. What is Jazz? How do you make Jazz? How (if at all) can we make Jazz with our modular synths? Even if you never thought about or particularly liked Jazz, reading the posts in this thread will give more insight and most likely an appreciation of the influences that Jazz had and still has on all music and why not also on our electronic music?
Sisters with Transistors
If you haven’t yet seen this new documentary about some of the pioneering women who have contributed hugely to the development of synthesizers and electronic music, then you should definitely give this a go. Here is a good writeup to whet your appetite before you buy the incredibly cheap ticket to see this movie!
Robert Langer, founder of tangible waves. Here, I will share some thoughts, background infos and news about AE modular and tangible waves.