Studio Blog, 2019-11-14

The STG Envelope Generator. Deep, yet accessible.

Tonight’s studio time was split between putting the Rubicon II through its paces and attempting to put together and play a set of live music. It was a good night, all in all. I’m really looking forward to putting it all together.

As I’ve commented before, I am not a fan of the way some Eurorack manufactures have decided to attack the second hand market by releasing MKII and even MKIII versions of their products. This has an effect of devaluing their earlier versions on the second hand market and making it near impossible to sell a MKI version unless you let it go at a ridiculous price. This is shortsighted, I think, because while the manufacture gets new product buzz with minimal effort, it also sticks a lot of users of the old version with the old piece and they may not be willing to dump at a low price to upgrade.

I’m mentioning this because the module I was testing tonight is the Rubicon II, which has been out for a while. I had the original Intellijel Rubicon, and it’s in the top 5 as far as eurorack oscillators go, in my opinion. I hesitated to sell it to get the Rubicon II for a long, long time because, well…see all I stated above. The over night depreciation caused by the Rubicon II meant I wanted to get more time out of my investment before flipping it at that kind of a loss. So now, a couple years after the Rubicon II was released, I finally bit the bullet and bought it.

Overall, I really like the Rubicon II, except for one really annoying ‘feature’. Instead of having a continuous course pitch knob, they have implemented an octave switch and a course knob that gives over about an octave or so range. I *hate* this arrangement. I can see its convenience for some, but being able to sweep the pitch by hand is something I actually do when I’m performing on the modular.

Aside from that, the things they added are nice. I haven’t gotten to deep dive into the more esoteric corners of its capabilities, but I can say it sounds damn good and the panel layout makes sense.

…But I’m still not sure I’ll sell the Rubicon I.

Live set.

The second part of the evening was spent trying to run through a live set on the MPC Live and Force. For the most part, it went pretty smoothly. I identified problems in the second track, and I’ll probably try to go for a fourth. I’m not sure I need to bring the modular/satellite rig after all, since the MPC and Force seem to have plenty to keep the ears interested. I am considering trying to take a track or two from the Dust album and see I can find a way to perform them that makes sense.

The first track is, right now, the best of the set. It was the first in the series that I wrote on the MPC Live, and it’s one of my stronger pieces.

I am trying to figure out what it is this second track needs. I keep thinking ‘voices’ as the answer, but I am not sure what form those should take. The song as a title and a theme, so I’d have to find something consistent with that them (and, as usually, my theme is dark and obscure).

The third track is written entirely on the Force and I’m not sure how well it goes with the first two. It’s much more structured and ‘industrial’ sounding. I need to pair that one down a bit. I think it runs the risk of being to…composed..if that’s the right word. My work sounds best to me when I focus on the interplay of sounds rather than try to construct sophisticated melodies. I need work with that strength and stay focused.

Over the weekend, I’m going to sit down and think about how to make the second two tracks better. Maybe I should go dust off my bass?

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