Hola! I’m pleased to announce a new series of workshops, another sneak peak, new DIY and Eurorack builds, and a big move on the horizon. Read on.
I’m running another series of workshops. Some are the same as last year with some minor tweaks and improvements. Others are new. As always, no prior soldering experience is required as guidance will be on hand throughout. Times given for workshops are rough guides. Sometimes we’re a bit quicker and others a bit slower. Give yourself ample time for e.g., trains etc. Tickets are online via Bandcamp.
Frequency Central's FC Power is a power module for Eurorack (+/- 12V and 5V). It is a well designed, simple, and relatively inexpensive way to start a small Eurorack case. The workshop will take approximately 4 hours. An AC wall-wart power supply is also included in the cost along with a DIY busboard for easily powering multiple modules.
Ciat Lonbarde’s Nobsrine is a weird sounding dual oscillator controlled with 2 simple knobs and 2 portmanteau switches. It samples the turns and energy of knob twists to modulate triangle waves and you can get a shifting range of unusual moans, drones, and shrieks. We’ll make life easier and build on PCB (the original design is for a paper circuit) but it is still a fairly involved build so will take a full day (~8 hours with a break for lunch). We won’t be building a case. It will work without but you’ll want to find/make a permanent home for it afterwards.
Another of Ciat Lonbarde’s paper circuits (which we’ll make on PCB) which produces complex rhythmic pulses and has three different modules for turning these pulses into sounds. It’s like a cross between a reptile brain and a drum machine. This is a full weekend with 2 x ~8 hour days (don’t worry, we’ll break for lunch and tea and biscuits will be on tap). There’s nothing overly complicated in the build but with 5 x rhythm circuits and 5 x audio modules it’s not for the faint of heart either. Full support and guidance will be provided throughout. You’ll walk out with a fully functioning synth with an intimidating mess of wires which you will want to put inside a case of your choosing.
Classic Ciat Lonbarde touch-noise-synth. Originally a paper design but we’ll build on PCB to make life easier and within a ~4 hour window. We’ll explore some modifications to expand its sonic range and you’ll have a raw noise machine ready to put inside a case.
Music Thing Modular’s Mikrophonie is an open source microphone preamp with a piezo contact mic built into the panel. It has some high-gain chops so you can get pretty loud and feedbacky if wanted. It’s a great little starter module for Eurorack as you can use it straight away with nothing other than a power source (see FC Power above) and the physical world to stick a contact mic on. This is the last time I’ll be running this workshop as I’ve nearly exhausted my supply of PCB/Panels and don’t plan on getting any more.
I’ve had some more PCBs and a Panel design made and here’s a sneak peak. I’ll be starting to build these over the coming months. Both Chainlock and Spikering benefit from something to trigger them and these will include a couple of Rollz to generate asymmetrical rhythmic pulses.
I’ve been sporadically finishing stuff from the unfinished pile. I’ve also been trying to utilise a bunch of spare wood (leftover from building some storage for the studio). It’s mostly OSB/Chipboard so not the prettiest. Finally, I’ve also been using this as an opportunity to test and trial different approaches and ways of working - such as getting to grips with a CNC cutter. Pricing reflects these aspects, they’re a bit like prototypes and therefore a bit cheaper.
First off the blocks is this DDDm2. It’s a MengQi PCB of a Peter B/Ciat-Lonbarde instrument (DinDatinDudero) and I acquired it through trading a Nobsrine PCB. It’s got 72 touch points which I’ve soldered to brass m3 bolts. Some of these points could have been wired internally but I decided to keep them all as touch contacts. It’s pretty noisy, plenty of hiss and crackle. You can get quite staccato weirdness out of it, and some pretty deep drones too. On the drones especially, you’ll notice that in/de-creasing touch pressure will shift the tone around a little so there’s some great performance dynamics in there. Oh and also fun is just sticking something conductive on top of the bolts like a metal pan scrubber etc.
The case is assembled purely out of OSB offcuts, with supporting rails for the top inside, and a strip of aluminium for the output jacks. It’s got two 3.5mm outputs. It’s not exactly stereo, more dual mono, with some independence between the two outputs, though obviously all the bolts cross modulate each other. It’s 9V battery powered only (wall power and touch interfaces are scary business) and the battery snap hangs outside of the body. Simply plug a battery in to turn it on, and disconnect to turn it off. There’s an LED in the top panel so you know if it’s on or not.
Finally, the top panel has been milled with a CNC cutter. I’m not convinced that CNC designs and OSB are the best match but this was useful experimentation. I tried a narrow and a wide cutter to compare, and preferred the finer and more subtle effect you see here.
I’ve been exploring the world of Eurorack a bit more. I’m still super committed to DIY but I’ve been enjoying building some kits and exploring more complex modules. I’m also selling some fully built kits to help fund other projects. Seeing as Reverb seems to be a go to marketplace for Eurorack I’ve been exploring that with a little shop. So far it’s only Eurorack builds but I’m going to explore expanding that over the coming months. If you’re interested, check the shop out here - https://reverb.com/uk/shop/trippingonwires
I have mixed feelings but we’re leaving Sheffield, for Nottingham. I’m sad to be leaving Sheffield and my existing studio. We have some good friends here, we’re on the doorstep of some great dog walks in the peaks, I was looking forward to new opportunities now Covid isn’t exactly over but isn’t exactly the same barrier anymore either. I’m also very excited, Holly has a new job, I really like where we’re moving to, easy access to Nottingham Contemporary and Rammel Club, and, providing nothing falls through 🤞, I’m excited about building a home studio. There’s no firm date yet but it’s likely to be around September. I’ll be keeping the current studio, regardless, until after workshops have finished so these would be a great opportunity for a final visit.