Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Erthenvar Patch Chord

I have been wanting to write a post about this module ever since I bought one 3 years ago.  From the time I first saw one at my friend Ben Vehorn's studio, I couldn't imagine an electronic music studio without one.  For a while, I was waiting until I made a video to demonstrate its features, but I wanted to make the video after the software had been updated - which I finally did last November...  and then I got super busy with other things (as usual)... I will edit that video and post it when I find time.  in the meantime, here is a post about it...
Where to begin?  I think that this is one of the most important modules in the modern production of modular synthesizers.  It is one of the most underrated, most powerful modules available. In fact, I was not planning on buying into Eurorack, already having 4 formats (Modcan series B,, Aries, and Monolyth)… but this came along and brought me into the world of Eurorack.  If it weren’t for this module, I am not sure that I would think that Eurorack was even “necessary”.
So what does it do?  The Patch Chord takes in a waveform from an oscillator, analyzes is, and digitally makes a whole series of related waveforms available, each having their own separate output.  This module has two modes – each are equally useful – one is a chromatic mode, where each of the outputs gives you frequencies for the 12 half steps above and 12 half steps below the pitch/frequency of the input signal; the other mode gives you the first 12 harmonics available in the top 12 jacks, and some sub octave dividers in the lower 12 jacks.  
Besides analyzing the pitch, the Patch Chord also can check the duty cycle of the waveform, and the waveforms of its outputs can change shape based on this duty cycle.  There are 3 waveforms available, selectable by a switch: sine, saw, and pulse.  If pulse is selected, the duty cycle will affect the pulse width.  If sine is selected, then the duty cycle will skew and squish the sine wave into an asymmetric waveform.  If saw is selected, then the duty cycle will morph between a triangle wave and a saw wave. 
One application for this is to simply change your pulse wave into a waveform that can morph between triangle and saw. 

My favorite applications are
A)    Mixing the outputs into various VCA’s and making complex melodies (in chromatic mode) where the notes of the sequence fade in and out. 
B)    Mixing the outputs of the harmonics into various VCA’s to control the harmonic content of a complex waveform.
In both of these applications, my Roland CPE-800 is an ideal controller to work with because you can “play” the levels manually using the faders or automatically using the recorded memory.   Other favorite controller/VCA’s is the 4MS VCA matrix coupled with a quadrature or octature LFO.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

More information on the COLUMBUS SHOW!!! THIS FRIDAY!!!

Here is some more info for the Columbus, OH show.  If you are in the area, please come to the show!  Hope to see you there!


This is the first digital reissue of my work with Pivot Clowj.  I will be also posting some live albums and unreleased tracks in the near future.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016


I am pleased to announce that I will be playing next month in Columbus, OH at the Fuse Factory!  this will be part of their Frequency Fridays series.  More information can be found at

Albums that will be available online

albums online
I have had several requests over the years to put the following albums online.
The Winter EP
Telegraph EP
It's not as if it were the end of the world... that was yesterday
I am pleased to announce that I am in the process of uploading these.  I know that it has been a long time since I talked about some of these - and I apologize for the wait.  As soon as I get all the lyrics, descriptions, etc up, I will start putting links to these digital releases.  I hope to finish this by the end of Spring Break.
I will also be releasing live albums of Pivot Clowj from 1994-1996 as well as many previously unreleased tracks from the studio archives.
I will also eventually be posting The Noise is only Temporary, Imaginary Hospitals, and Art of Conversation as well.
These will be on the Travelogue and Pivot Clowj  Band Camp pages.

update on technology... and computers

So sometimes you can get away with using the same technology for years and years without any problems.  Sometimes things start failing and you have to move on. 
An update on my computer:  After trying to troubleshoot through the problems of my computer and several friends trying to help with the issues (thank you Jake, Erich, and David!), I was able to reinstall Windows and repair the non functioning computer, but after weeks of this being down and frustrated with the possibility that this would not be resurrected, I bought a Mac Pro and Pro Tools 12 to keep the studio running for another eon (hopefully at least another 10 year run with the new computer). 
I still am using the computer strictly as a multitrack recording device.  After some work-a-rounds, I was able to get my Mixed Logic M24 control surface to work with OS10.9.5 and the HUI protocol in Pro Tools. 
The best part about this is that I didn't lose any of my work.  I have it all backed up and all the PTS sessions open in Pro Tools 12.  The only thing that I lost was a few plugins, but I have been accustom to only using compressor, EQ, and gate plug ins.  Most heavily processed sounds are printed to a track and use outboard effects.  I also don' use virtual instruments and in the few instances that I did, I ended up printing them to an audio track.  This way, the sessions and stems are transferrable to any platform and not limited to a specific version of a program or system.
So now, I am transferring all of the working sessions of unfinished work into the new system and adding new compressors, EQ, and gates, where needed.