[audio] Mathesis (early edit)

Posted in Documentation on June 13th, 2011 by admin

Mathesis (early edit) by macumbista

Recorded Dec 2009 at the CEM studio in WORM, Rotterdam NL with their Serge modular and ARP2500 synthesizers, my own pedals and a nice big mixing console. Edited in Ardour. An early sketch, which may be returned to at a later date.

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Live Jerusalem, 25.05.11 (edit)

Posted in Documentation on June 6th, 2011 by admin

Derek Holzer live at Musrara Mix #11 Festival, Jerusalem, IL 25.05.11 (edit) by macumbista

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Live @ UH Fest mp3

Posted in Documentation on November 9th, 2010 by admin

Although this sounds absolutely nothing like what people in the room actually experienced, I’m posting this mixing desk recording of my set at the UH Fest just to give an idea. Get ready for slooooooow development…


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mv & eebollywoe[2010 child of microtone]
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Tuned City Tallin on Touch Radio

Posted in Documentation on September 30th, 2010 by admin

Touch Radio 56 | Thomas Ankersmit

29.09.10 – Hangar Performance, Tallinn, May 29th 2010 – 19:02 – 192 kbps

Solo saxophone performance inside abandoned seaplane hangar, Tallinn harbour, Estonia. Recorded by John Grzinich, May 29 2010, at the introduction event for Tuned City Tallinn 2011.

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Testing for Chaos

Posted in Announcement on August 9th, 2010 by admin

The following are tests of the chaotic synthesis system I’m working on, and in no way should be considered “finished pieces”:



Modules used in these recordings:

Thomas Henry XR-2206 VCO (Bugbrand PCB layout)(VCO range)
Thomas Henry XR-2206 VCO (Bugbrand PCB layout)(LFO range)
Ian Fritz EZ Chaos (Uncle Krunkus stripboard layout)

In the first example, chaos01.mp3, the triangle waveform of the LFO drives the EZ Chaos. The Z (marked NL on schematic) output of the EZ Chaos drives the 1V/Oct input of the VCO. Both Drive and Rate pots are set about at the middle, and the Damping is totally turned down. As you can hear, it maintains a very steady modulation. The changes in modulation pattern only come from my manually adjusting the LFO.

In the second example, chaos02.mp3, the poti settings and routing remain the same from chaos01.mp3. However, I have routed the Y output to the Linear FM of the LFO, and the X output to the Exponential FM of the LFO. The modulations become much more chaotic in this setup. Through the clip, I adjust the depth of the LinFM, ExpFM and the general rate of the LFO. Better, don’t you think?

For me, the modulation patterns in chaos01.mp3 sound to me like a non-linear transfer function, but don’t sound chaotic at all in the sense that the transfer function remains almost identical for every cycle of the LFO at any frequency tested.

My understanding of chaotic synthesis usually involves feedback between at least two–but in my experiments up to 8–cross-modulated VCOs with a non-linear function in the feedback loop. The results tend towards certain attractors, but every cycle is distinct from the previous one, even if after 3 or 7 or 15 cycles you might return to a common origin.

Assuming that my EZ Chaos circuit functions as it should, the benefit I see out of it would be the ability to make chaotic patterns from a single LFO through the feedback. Normally I would have to use 2 or more LFOs to get the same kind of chaotic oscillations.

However, by itself I don’t hear chaos coming from this circuit, only non-linearity. It’s the feedback in chaos02.mp3 that makes it chaotic for me. Looking at a double well attractor on the scope is one thing, but hearing it is the proof…

Updated info on the chaos circuit as well as some tuning tips can be found on the Elby Designs page for their ED108-ChaQuO module.

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Formanta Drone [surface noise]

Posted in Documentation on June 25th, 2010 by admin

Formanta Drone [surface noise] by macumbista

An older track from 2003, but one that I still appreciate. It uses the sample-and-hold noise-driven LFO of a Soviet-era Formanta EMS-01 synthesizer, digitally cross-bred with the surface noise at the end of a scratchy old Russian vinyl. Reflecting on this piece, I can see the start of a deep interest in automatic, generative and self-modulating processes taking shape. Thanks to Maksim Borisov for use of his amazing electronic museum piece! Originally released as part of the Karosta Project.

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Macumbista Mini Demo #1

Posted in Documentation on June 3rd, 2010 by admin

Macumbista Mini demo #1 by macumbista

This demo is an edit of three settings from the Macumbista Mini synthesizer: http://macumbista.net/?page_id=623 The Mac Mini uses two cross-modulated Voltage Controlled Slopes through an Analog Logic module and a pair of Polivoks Voltage Controlled Filters. Feedback from the audio mixer is returned to the control section of the VCS modules.

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yellow swans+devillocksplit 7″[2007 modern radio]

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Voltage Controlled Slope

Posted in Documentation on January 26th, 2010 by admin

Desperately trying to finish some new electronics before other tasks consume my attention… the latest module for my DIY synthesizer is something like a clone of the recently released Makenoise Maths, which is itself a riff on the Serge Dual Universal Slope Generator. I actually imagine it much more as a kind of analog computer to tell the truth.

It packs two Serge Voltage Controlled Slope Generators, a pair of bipolar “Attenuverters” with positive/negative offset and a series of “analog logic” functions behind a single panel.

In other words, it can create two different waveforms at low or audio rate, with voltage-controllable upwards and downwards slopes, and can perform a number of mathematical functions close to the original Serge “peak” and “trough” functions on these slopes. And yes, it can go into cycle mode by itself, to give me a basic LFO or VCO function.

First basic tests indicate it’s quite a monster! I tend to use one VCS to trigger the other, then cross-modulate the Exponential CV inputs through the Attenuverter, and use one of the Analog Logic outputs to drive a VCO. Instant chaos. It’s incredible to compare the very different flavors coming from the AND, NAND, OR or NOR outputs from the same two input voltages. This module and one or two VCOs would make a very complex little synth all by themselves.

A quick and dirty example of the above patch:

Voltage Controlled Slopes + Analog Logic test by macumbista

NAND drives one VCO, OR drives one LFO. LFO patched back to left-hand VCS “both” input, also to VCO FM, some other cross-modulations as well. Here’s a photo of the patch:


Rise CV / Fall CV / Both CV / Exp CV / Signal Input / Trigger Input


Rise Time / Fall Time / Rise CV / Fall CV / Linear-Exponential mode switch


End of Cycle Output / DC Output


DC Input


Positive-Negative Gain / Positive-Negative Offset


DC Out / Also linked to ANALOG LOGIC inputs


AND “tough” (lowest of two voltages) / NAND inverted “tough” / OR “peak” (highest of two voltages) / NOR inverted “peak” / Sum of two voltages / Inverted Sum of two voltages

The module was created using PCBs from Ken Stone/CGS synths. I love Ken’s boards to death. I used:

2 x CGS75 Voltage Controlled Slope

1 x CGS26 Analog Logic

3 x CGS04 DC Mixer

There’s really not much out there that can’t be self-built with them, if you’re clever with how you put them behind the panel. I’ll be putting a bunch of CMOS digital logic boards on order soon, and putting together a modular synthesizer super-computer in the spring! Hell, one could almost clone an original Serge with them.

Me, I’m not interested in “cloning” anything, thus the hand-stamped letters and general rough feel. Took some fiddling to get it running properly, but now that it does it’s fantastic.

I had a chance to play with a huge Serge system at CEM in Rotterdam a few months ago, and my main area of inquiry were the Dual Slope Generators there. Made some incredible feedback/chaotic synthesis stuff possible. Maybe I’ll find some audio examples from that session and post them later. Until then…

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4 tracks from the past

Posted in Documentation on January 24th, 2010 by admin

I moved the following tracks over to my Soundcloud account this morning. These four are ones that I’m particularly interested in, as they (mostly) combine electronics and field recordings. Gongs and bells as well, although I never realized I was so obsessed with them before! I’ll try to get some takes from the new DIY synth up soon. Until then, enjoy…

Derek Holzer-Untitled [boiler room] by macumbista

Multichannel recording of furnace in Karosta, Latvia (January 2003), processed shortwave radio in Mooste, Estonia (September 2004). Released as part of Untitled Songs: 49 Years from Gesang der Jünglinge 2005-1956 2xCD compilation by Sirr.ecords in 2005.

Derek holzer-metallophone drift by macumbista

Burmese gongs, ice field recording, mixer feedback. Recorded 30 July 2005, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Released as part of the Connected Dots.Connected Ideas compilation CD on the Frozen Elephants Music label, 2007.

Macumbista-hollow space capacitance discharge by macumbista

Japanese temple bell belonging to Jeroen Beets recorded 19 December 2006 @ STEIM, Amsterdam. Analog synthesizer recorded 2006-7, Berlin. Mixed 11-14 November 2007 @ RSS82, Berlin. Released as part of the {Autumn Soundscapes} collection on the Madorla netlabel, 2008.

Derek holzer-matrix events(skinned teeth) by macumbista

Self-made 8×8 matrix mixer, Cwejman/Analogue Systems/Doepfer oscillators, digital delay, joystick control voltage, mixer feedback. Recorded with a case of mild food poisoning (thus the “skinned teeth” feeling) January 25th, 2009. Unreleased.

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Sveta Troitsa, Bansko, Bulgaria

Posted in Announcement on January 3rd, 2010 by admin

Sveta Troitsa (or the Church of the Holy Trinity) was built in Bansko, Bulgaria, between 1810 and 1850. During this time, the Blagoevgrad Province remained under Turkish rule, and the founders of the church could only build it through a combination of diplomacy and heavy fees payed to the Turks. The four bells heard in these recordings were cast in 1855 by the Veleganovi brothers, who inscribed the name of the Turkish sultan on them so that they would not be thrown from the tower.

Reading through R. Murray Schafer’s The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World (1977, Destiny Books) the other night, I came across his discussion of church bells. He describes the church bell as a signal delineating the boundaries of a human habitation, as well as bringing its occupants together:

The most salient sound in the Christian community is the church bell. In a very real sense it defines the community, for the parish is an acoustic space, circumscribed by the range of the church bell. The church bell is a centripetal sound; it attracts and unifies the community in a social sense…

These bells were recorded on the rainy morning of 27 December, 2009–a setting which somehow reminds me of Yasushi Utsunomia’s incredible recordings of the concerts he organized in the Koukiji temple in Japan during a damp summer afternoon (Kougezan Koukiji – The Live [11th] Final Hyakusenmansyuuraku, 2002 Horen Records). And true to Schafer’s words, these bells reside directly in the middle of the acoustic space of the town–no efforts were made (or were even possible) to separate the sounds of the bells from the life both within the church and outside its walls. Why should life stop just because I want to record something?

In the first track, we hear two klepalo (solid idiophones) played by Ivan Todorov Hadjipopov (wood) and George Lazarov Pitsin (metal). Ivan Hadjipopov then plays a solo on the four church bells in the second track, followed by George Pitsin in the third. The overtones heard during these solos defy description, and only the sounds of the town and the church-goers sporadically remind you that what you are listening to actually occurred on Earth. The final track is a solo played by Boris Ivanov Hadjipopov, and then we return to the rain…

The entire session was recorded in a single, continuous take, using two DPA 4060 capsules (mounted in my trusty Latvian mink-fur ushanka) and a Sound Devices 722 recorder, standing in the courtyard below the bell tower. My gratitude goes to Boris “Bobi” Hadjipopov, who organized the occasion, and to Elena Kaludova for her translation (and so much more). Photo by lite.

The entire collection can be downloaded as high-quality MP3s at: http://macumbista.net/files/sveta_troitsa.zip

These recordings can be shared and reused under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

The Bells of Sveta Troitsa

01.i.hadjipopov+g.pitsin-klepalo by macumbista

02.i.hadjipopov-bells by macumbista

03.g.pitsin-bells by macumbista

04.b.hadjipopov-bells by macumbista

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