Massive Modular Meets Minsky Muse

Two primal sonic threads gestated at MIT - Joe Paradiso's massive modular synthesizer and the Minsky/Fredkin Triadex Muse - were weaved together in this installation, where synthesizer and Muse were intimately joined in a patch that brought out the best of both - the timbral complexity of the modular entwined with the melodic intricacies of the Muse. This installation was launched at the informal Art/Design event held at the MIT Media Lab on April 21, 2013 and ran through April 25. A custom interface module was designed for the Muse, allowing me to pull all of its note gates into the synth, while also sending logic signals from the synth into the Muse's pseudorandom ring counter, which generated its melody. I could also voltage-control the Muse's pitch and clock rate, or drive the Muse with my own clock signal.

In the patch that I composed for this installation, essentially everything is driven off the Muse. I clock it externally, but essentially all triggers and sequences come from bits derived from the Muse. Occasionally I feed bits from the synth into the Muse's sequencer to complexify or change its melody. The Muse's own audio also comes in and out of the mix (octave-fattened via a binary counter and filtered by a sweeping resonant lowpass), and someties appears additionally via a stereo-panned pair of not-entirey-stable phase-locked loops tracking the Muse output. The Mini-Moog here makes the somewhat ostinato plucky voice in classic 70s Berlin Style, the Radio Shack MG1 makes the deep bass swell that occasionally comes in, and the Moog Satellite (not seen, at left) makes the yangy glissando wail that periodically fades up. Many other sounds come from varied sources within the synths and the two interconnected vintage Casio keyboards.

I link below to two stereo audio excerpts recorded live at this installation. Note that no manual intervention appears in these recordings - all control and 'sequencing' comes directly from the synth-Muse hybrid running autonomously.

The first exerpt is from my initial, well-tuned patch, recorded on the second day of the installation.

The second excerpt was recorded a coupe of days later - here I periodically hold the master clock so that simple sounds sometime hang suspended for several seconds. As the Muse and some synth settings had been messed with overnight by curious onlookers, this excerpt isn't as nailed down and well tuned as I'd like, but it does hint at having a different nature than the earlier recording.

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