Right. This started out with the intention to do a fairly straightforward demo of the Intellijel Atlantis, and using a technique I wanted to try out whereby 4 different random gate outputs of my Doepfer a149-2 were fed into a mixer and turned into a “pseudo-sequencer”, with the mixer’s output feeding various 1v/oct CV inputs. I also wanted to see how the Atlantis integrated with the rest of my Eurorack modular system. But you know how it is – things pretty quickly went in a fairly chaotic direction, with bags of processing applied in a variety of often unpleasant ways! It’s definitely very nice having what is essentially a monosynth in the middle of your system, but due to its immense patchability it begs to be abused. It is almost as if it is daring you to turn it into something that buries its traditional origins and takes it off in an altogether more experimental direction. I often used to find this with the MFB OSC02, and got some amazing sounds from it that belied its fairly limited user interface and synthesis options. So….what I’m trying to say is: don’t expect a clear and concise demo of the Atlantis in its naked glory! This is more a demonstration of how it can perform as the centerpiece to a rather more elaborate patch. The original patching was undertaken on the first day, but upon returning to it a second time I had almost completely forgotten the original purpose of the patch and decided to slow it all down to a crawl, adding various Slew Limiting to the main sequence.
DEMO 01 – Day One Experiments
1. A Random LFO wave was selected in Silent Way’s LFO plugin, offset so that it was positive-only, and used as a clock source for the a149-1 random module. It was also blended with one of the a149-2’s random gate outputs in an a166 Logic module, to provide an even MORE random stream of gates/ clocks for the Turing Machine and the Atlantis’ Envelope GATE input.
2. As mentioned earlier, I combined 4 random gate outputs from the a149-2 in a mixer, adjusting each channels level so that the output produced a random sequence when fed into an osc’s 1v/oct input. This gets pretty interesting with the a149-2, as the gates overlap at points, with the result that the voltages created by the mixer’s channel pots are summed together, adding more variety to the sequence. The use of this technique means that you gain control over the pitches output by the a149 combo, rather than them being completely random (as they are when using the a149-1’s main outputs). Hope that makes SOME sense!
3. The “pseudo-sequencer” outputted by the mixer was sent into a Makenoise Function to add voltage-controlled Slew Limiting to it. The Function’s RISE and FALL times were modulated by 2 different outputs from the erratically-clocked a149-1.
4. The output of the Function was fed – via a Buffered Multiple – to the following destinations: The Exp. CV input of a Pittsburgh Modulator Generator (modulating the PWM of the Atlantis); the 1v/oct inputs of the Atlantis’ main OSC and Modulator OSC; and the 1v/oct input of a WMD PDO mk.2, which is used as a modulation source for various parameters. The PDO was also SYNCED by a random gate output from the a149-2.
5. The output of the Pittsburgh Modulator Generator was sent into a VCA, whose level was swept up and down slowly by an Intellijel Quadra LFO, and on to the PWM CV input of the Atlantis. The Atlantis’ Pulse output was fed into a VCA, controlled by a wavering, modulated Maths LFO, and then into the right hand side of a WMD Multimode VCA. Here it was crossfaded with a second signal path from the Atlantis, which I will describe below:
6. The -2 OCT SUB was fed – via an attenuator – into the Pittsburgh Modular FIlter, and the L-H output was then fed into an RYO Optodist (to add distortion and limiting to the erratic levels of the Filter). This was then fed into the left hand side of the MMVCA, and crossfaded with the Atlantis’ Pulse signal by a slow LFO. The outputs of the MMVCA were both recorded separately, and panned to produce an “Autopan” effect. The Filter’s Resonance and Cutoff were modulated by different outputs from the WMD PDO.
7. The Atlantis’ Pulse channel – now located in the right hand side of the MMVCA – was fed via a Makenoise Echophon for further processing before recording, and the ECHO, PITCH and FEEDBACK were modulated by further LFOs from the WMD PDO and Quadra.
8. A third sound was created using the Atlantis exclusively: It was mainly a SINE wave from the main OSC, which was FM’d by the Modulator OSC (at audio rates) via a VCA. The VCA’s level was modulated by a slow Maths LFO, causing the FM to sweep in and out. The Lowpass filter was used on the Atlantis, controlled by Keyboard Tracking and its randomly-triggered, “pluck-like” envelope. The end result was not too dissimilar from a Lowpass Gate, as the Amplitude and Filter Cutoff were both being modulated in tandem. The Output VCA was set to its middle CLIP position, to add warmth and some soft limiting. At points the -2 OCT SUB was mixed in with the SINE at a low level.
SO….basically what we end up with is two autopanning, gnarly Pulse-based sounds stemming from the Atlantis – one through the Echophon at points, and the other filtered and distorted to oblivion, underpinned by a low, plucked “pseudo-LPG” sound.
During the recording various controls were manipulated – Atlantis: Mod OSC Frequency; PWM Amount; SUB OSC level; LPF Cutoff, Resonance, 1v/oct amount and ENV amount (going into enveloped self-oscillation towards the end to produce some nice, kick-like tones). PDO, Maths and Quadra: All their frequencies were manipulated at various points – often into audio rates – and the Maths LFOs were altered so that they became very sharp, exponential “plucks” which speed up and slow down gradually. Pittsburgh Filter: Cutoff, Mode (swept from LP to NP to HP), modulation amounts (Cutoff and Resonance), Resonance, along with attenuation on the way into it. Echophon: modulation intensities (ECHO, PITCH and FEEDBACK); and the main PITCH, and MIX were pushed into growly territory towards the very end of the recording. Pittsburgh Generator: the main pitch was altered at points, creating varied results on the Atlantis’ PWM.
Phew….that was complicated! Was it worth it? – you be the judge!