February 2022 - Make Synths not War!!
These are strange times and as I’m writing this, my heart goes out to all the people who fear for their life and their loved ones as they are being dragged into war and violence. The current crisis in the Ukraine is a terrible situation and I don’t want to make light of that at all, but it has also, to some extent, affected the release of one of our new products. Let me explain …
For a few years now, as I’ve been dreaming up new modules and researching electronic music circuitry, I’ve been inspired by the invention of one man who created a beautiful filter with a very distinct sound. This filter, and the whole synthesizer it was part of, was designed and built in 1982 in the USSR at a time when the country was mostly shut off from the western world. Some of western music did find its way behind the iron curtain though and the inventor of this filter wanted to create an instrument that gave his fellow countrymen (and women) the same sounds as what the Beatles and other western bands had. This synthesizer was called POLIVOKS which in Russian means multi timbres and although it could only be played duo-phonically, it was revolutionary for an electronic instrument built in the Soviet Union at the time. Some people even called the POLIVOKS the Russian Minimoog, because of its sound even though it’s circuitry was very unique and not at all like the Moog or any other analog synth.
So I became fascinated by this synth, the unique and unorthodox design of the filter and its inventor Vladimir Kuzmin. For the last few months I’ve been designing a filter module for the AE Modular system which is based on this vintage design which is nowadays in very high regard and has come to a kind of renaissance as lovers of electronic instruments are rediscovering the roots of these circuits.
Finally, just about two weeks ago, the filter was finished, ready for a production run and ready to be announced to the world. I thought I would call it “VLADIMIR” to honour its original inventor (who is still alive and currently working with Behringer to bring the full Polivoks experience back to the masses).
Then, Russia decided to invade Ukraine and suddenly current affairs mingled with our beautiful cloistered world of electronic music which is usually free from politics. I did not feel confident about the name anymore as it could now very easily be misunderstood for the name of the current president of Russia and that man and his government does not currently appear in a good light in most parts of the world. It might be easy to explain to anyone who asks, which Vladimir the filter is named after and that it’s not in any way an expression of support for a regime which is inflicting such pain not only on the Ukrainians but also on its own people. But sometimes people just make up their own minds and turn their backs and don’t ask to understand the finer points. As a small business owner I feel that I can’t risk being caught in a political debate or having customers turn their backs on my products just because of politics and a misunderstanding. I have to think of my business on which my and my employees' livelihood depends. So I’m not risking it. I also can’t name it ‘Polivoks’ as this is now a trademark owned by Behringer. (see this article here)
So here we are. I have a beautiful filter for you, which has no name. What do you think it should be called? Please let me know in this thread on the forum:
If there’s a good suggestion that is free from political dangers I’ll definitely release the filter under this new name. In case you would like to know more about the Polivoks synth and its inventor Vladimir Kuzmin you should read the following article which also includes an interview:
T-Shirts and Hoodies
Many of you asked for it time and time again. And finally I was able to find the right supplier for the shirts and the print. They are unisex and available in all standard sizes.
You can order them in our online shop here: T-Shirts and Hoodies.
VMIX-10 a standalone mixer made for Volcas!
As I was working on the MIXCONSOLE and the VM-BRIDGE I was thinking of those little Volcas which were my initial inspiration for the design of the AE Modular system a few years ago. I also noticed that there isn’t a suitable mixer available which fits into this Volca ecosystem. So I decided to build one. This mixer is made especially with Volcas in mind, but can be used with any audio device and is completely standalone. It allows the connection of up to 6 mono and 2 stereo sources with line/synth levels, meaning 10 channels in total. It offers level, pan and two FX sends per channel; plus a stereo headphone output The VMIX-10 has exactly the size of a Volca, therefore should fit perfectly in Volca stands that are available. It also has power out connections so that up to 4 Volcas can be powered directly from the mixer.
You can now purchase this product in our online shop.
(Volca Modular shown only for size comparison. Volca is a trademark owned by Korg.)
This is the same design as theVMIX-10, but made to fit into an AE Modular rack. Instead of the power connectors it features both 3.5mm minijack and AE patch points so you can use this mixer just like the MIXCONSOLE but with the added benefit that each channel can now be patched in also from an external device, and of course, the integrated headphone amplifier.
You can order this product in our online shop, shipping will start in 2-3 weeks
Music made by the Community
If you are considering buying any of the the albums below, on Friday, 04 March 2022, Bandcamp will waive their revenue share to better help support the artists. For more information read here: daily.bandcamp.com/features/bandcamp-fridays-update
Other music on the forum
You may nod your head to these tracks by @p3r https://forum.aemodular.com/thread/1953/head-nod-ahead
Some interesting tracks by @101 https://forum.aemodular.com/thread/1942/new-release-goldair-aa
Foxermod aka @anachronmaker released a few tracks on Spotify: https://forum.aemodular.com/thread/1946/foxermod-1-released
And just last minute @dmoney2000 posted his latest YouTube track as usual with very cool animations https://forum.aemodular.com/thread/1971/hey-everybody-neforum.aemodular.com/thread/1971/hey-everybody-neww
Do-it-yourself doesn’t always mean that you have to be an electronic wiz, sometimes it’s just as well to exchange the solder iron for a hand saw and the solder for glue. These self made wooden cabinets for the AE Modular look fantastic and they are all as unique as their makers.
Website for Patching Inspirations
Sometimes an unpatched modular synth can be just as intimidating to a musician as a blank sheet of paper is to a writer or painter. This new website can help you overcome the initial moment of indecision by providing you with randomised prompts about which module to patch with another. It has been designed and developed by @timothyjackman, a relatively new user on the forum. It’s simple, easy to use and absolutely brilliant, please check it out!
You can access the website directly here:
And you can leave comments and words of thanks in the following thread:
Electronic Music Documentaries on TV
The European TV channel Arte has a few interesting pieces about electronic music, its artists and inventors. Check out the following programmes:
Sisters with Transistors (viewable in Europe only)
Electronic Vibrations (this seems to be viewable from anywhere)
The following is a British documentary about various prominent inventors of electronic instruments. Luckily it’s available on YouTube.
Bright Sparks - A Side
Bright Sparks - B Side
Meetups and Events
Superbooth is not far off and will hopefully still go ahead from May 12th to May 14th in Berlin. Tickets are now available from the website:
A few AE forum members have already indicated that they are planning to come to the event and that they would be interested in meeting up more formally. Please let us know if you’re also planning to come along and whether you’re interested in an AE Modular meetup at or outside Superbooth.
Comments are closed.
Robert Langer, founder of tangible waves. Here, I will share some thoughts, background infos and news about AE modular and tangible waves.