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Could someone explain these ambient patches to me?

#1

Hi,
Thank you for reading. I’m completely new to synths, literally know nothing and became interested after seeing/hearing some stuff posted on Instagram, and I was just wondering if anyone could possibly explain what’s going on in two patches posted there that utilize the ER-301, I tried sending the uploaders messages but I don’t think they saw them since we’re not following each other or however that works.

Link 1:

Link 2:

They are both very representative of the kind of modular sounds I’d like to create, meaning dense ambient soundscapes that in the first example are kind of like a pond with fish swimming around or something like that, lots of generative activity that kind of “flows together” and isn’t too super random like old school modular noise stuff, like the glitchy parts are kind of held together by a sort of gravitational pull that keeps everything in this subtle little rhythmic swing, almost like autotune but for the rhythm, like when your looking at a koi pond and the fish are kind of just going wherever in random directions but no matter what it looks nice because it all kind of flows together.

The second example reminds me of like a growing plant, where new stems/branches sort of grow out the original layer to create new interactions, but maintains the hypnotic ambient effect without too much rhythmic randomness, for lack of a better term. I guess I’m just wondering how to create sounds like this/how to stack them together to create dense soundscapes that have a level of biomimicry to them, and don’t just sound like random shortwave radio bursts like old school noise stuff. I know a lot of it is going to be personal feel/touch and actually just “figuring out what works for you" but I feel like there’s this sweet spot that some patchers figure out how to tap into where everything kind of flows together, so to speak, and I wonder if some of that comes from the modules themselves.

Thanks again for reading.

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#2

I suspect there’s more going on than the er301. It can be a fun challenge to reverse engineer a patch, but why don’t you just approach the people that made the two examples? I had these conversations lots of times on Instagram, in both directions, and it’s what I really like about the platform! Most people are more than willing to explain how they go about creating the things they post. It’s like the informal chat after the show between the artist and a fan. And next week, the artist may be the fan, and the fan the artist…

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#3

What I would do is ask for insight to the very @tangolima :slight_smile:
Will follow this thread with interest!

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#4

Oh woah that’s cool he posts here!

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#6

Hey! I’m so glad you like my patch! :slight_smile: It was a real treat to hear your interpretation of the music too. That is very much the way that I envision sounds in my head actually. Specifically this kind of chaotic harmony that exists in nature. I am always trying to capture that in my music.

As for the technical details, I’m pretty removed from that system now as I only have maybe 10% of those modules currently (including the 301 :wink:) and it’s been a while. But I vaguely remember how I generally approached patches in this period. There is indeed much more going on here than just the 301. The 301 I believe is doing 3 things primarily:

  1. Polyphonic sample playback of a one shot kalimba (or something like that) recording via the manual grains unit. Similar to a Mellotron or rompler.
  2. Mixing / panning all audio sources (internal and external) into one stereo out.
  3. Live granulization of all audio via recording into a looping buffer, and rearranging the playback of the audio in interesting ways via the manual grains unit (this is making all the reverse like sounds)

Everything else is coming from the other modules in the case. The voices are Mutable Instruments’ Plaits and Rings, and Intellijel’s Plonk. As for the “gravitational pull” that’s basically all coming from Pamela’s New Workout. It’s producing euclidean gate sequences (basically poly rhythmic patterns) that are triggering the different voices in the patch. So everything shares the same clock, but is dancing around it in interesting ways. What’s making it less repetitive is the gates all have a certain probability of firing. So say 70% of the time the gate will fire, but the other 30% it will be skipped, giving it a certain randomness that makes it feel more alive.

The melodic aspect is coming from the Voltage Block, which is looping CV gestures that are being quantized to a unifying musical scale in the Ornament and Crime. The sequences for the different voices are all different lengths too (8 steps, 9 steps, 12 steps, etc) which keeps the melodies constantly shifting and interacting with eachother in different ways. And with any of my patches there’s always a ton of modulation going to anything with an input. Lots of random voltages, phasing LFO’s, envelopes with randomized stages, etc.

Lots to unpack here haha. But I hope this answers some of your questions or at least gives you a better idea about what’s possible with eurorack and the 301. If you are indeed totally new to synths, this is definitely a very complex place to start. It could be a good idea to get something simple and open ended like a Korg Minilogue (I just got one the other week and am supremely impressed with it!) to learn the basics and expand from there. Or if you want to get right into eurorack a semi modular like the Mother 32, Lifeforms SV-1, or Make Noise 0-Coast would also be a great place to start. But don’t let me tell you what to do, follow your ears! :slight_smile:

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#7

Also I just happened to stumble upon this picture the other day and it’s the exact setup I used for this patch. Sharing for educational and sentimental purposes. :blush:

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#8

Thank you so much for the thoughtful and informative reply!! Man this is like genius level stuff. The way you are able to take all of the theory make it all sound so organic, is mind blowing. I feel like it’s the true potential of these instruments, to bridge that gap and create sounds that feel like they’re living or something, vs just noisy or whatever (although a little noise can’t hurt).

I’m definitely gonna do some serious studying, and like you said take things incrementally. And most important take these doors and walk through them to find my own sound. Thanks so much again man, it means a lot. Man the internet is cool! It’s like a nervous system for humanity, lots of nice humans out there.

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#9

If I can offer one bit of (hard-won) advice, I’d recommend that you balance serious studying with free play. It’s astounding how much you learn from actually doing, and how familiarity with an instrument makes learning more real.

I was delighted by your question and all that followed, I wish you great joy in your new adventure(s).

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