Resolution: Appreciating the little things

Gearing up for this Make Noise system has been an education in itself. Part of my goal is to offer up some options, from starting with a solid foundation, to absolute minimalism. But how can I really claim that an almost unspeakably minimal system is worth your time and money? Well, in my eyes, I’d have to build such a system and spend enough time with it for my wife to start getting jealous. Preposterous, right? But, that’s what I’ve been doing.

What am I working with?
Mystic Circuits 0hp LPG
Make Noise STO
Make Noise Contour
Pulp Logic Atten-B
Korg SQ-1
A Handful of Patch Cables

Yes… I know there’s a Warps in the case, but it’s not powered right now. It’s just filling in for a 10hp blank (hey, I’m poor I couldn’t afford another proper blank panel).

It all started off ever so predictably… SQ-1 to drive the 1v/Oct and feed gates into the Contour. The 0hp LPG did its job admirably and a completely predictable sequence bleeped and blooped its way through the speakers. It’d all be terribly charming if I hadn’t done any of this before. But, I have done this all before, and there’s no new left to wear off. Yawn.

“Well, at least there are still the knobs,” I thought. So, I started wiggling. STO’s Shape knob, is a perennial favorite of mine, so I gave it a vicious wiggling. Contour is also an extremely wiggle friendly little guy. The sustain knob isn’t usually terribly exciting, but the other three are gold. That was fun…

“I could use that second channel on the SQ-1.” And so I did. Eight steps for the sequence, but I can modulate Shape or Decay on channel two. I can set-up a separate groove for the S-Gate on STO and run the Sub out into the Mix on the 0hp LPG. Eh, it’s more than I had a minute ago.

“That LPG’s vactrol based, I don’t technically need an envelope, do I?” Indeed, the vactrol has a nice way of giving the gate signals from the SQ-1 a bit of shape. And the SQ-1 has a gate length knob (hey another knob to wiggle) so I have a good bit of control still. But now what to do with Contour? Lets turn it into an LFO! Slow modulate FM and Shape, sweet. Set it off at a ripping pace and just start plugging it in wherever, audio-rate FM isn’t bad, and… “Oh, right, SYNC!” Y’know this little rig is getting kinda wild!

“Didn’t I use the SQ-1 as a keyboard/arp a while back?” Yes, yes I did, I think I even blogged about it. So, lets set up channel one to sequence the Shape (we’ll set it for 5v). Then we’ll turn off all the steps on channel two, switch to Step Jump, plug it to the 1v/Oct on STO and use it to jam. And while we’re at it, lets use the channel two gate out to feed the S-Gate. Awwww yeah… now we are absolutely jamming!

Let me encourage you to make a new years resolution. At least once this coming year, limit yourself drastically and force yourself to remain within those confines for a while. Do all the things until you get bored. Then keep on, until you start doing things you never thought of doing before. By all rights, I should have a boring, uninteresting and mundane rig right here. But let me tell you, it’s fun. It’s a lot of fun. But it can take a while to appreciate just how good the little bit here in front of me is, and just how much it can do, and how to make it do it. The process, though challenging has been incredibly rewarding, and has grown my respect for each of these tools tremendously. It has also reminded me just how wonderful this little world of ours is, where so much possibility can be found in so meager a system.

Wiggle on in 2018, but resolve to challenge yourself, at least once this coming year, to try to wiggle using only the barest of necessities, and discover afresh the wonder of our art!

Honorable Mentions
Mystic Circuits 0hp LPG
Make Noise STO
Make Noise Contour
Korg SQ-1

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