Tocante

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dunc_county
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Tocante

Post by dunc_county » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:19 pm

Hello, recently got a Deerhorn organ and love the hand-on (or really hands-off) nature of it and have been looking to add another intuitive instrument, for lack of a better word. I have a few patch-and-turn-knobs type synths, with the Deerhorn somewhat being the middle ground. Lately, I can't stop thinking about the Tocante series, as it requires actual touch input to make it come alive, and it feels rather parallel with acoustic instruments like guitar, and it seems to bridge the gap between my love for electronics and more "classic" instruments with a touch of esoterica; however, I've never been super drawn towards traditional keyboards, having owned some mono-synths in the past. Sorry if this is a longwinded-fawning over the Tocantes, but there's something mystifying about their independent nature and uniqueness, as well as pride and beauty in what they are, including the solar-powered aspect and definitive capacitor tuning.

That being said, their aren't a ton of isolated videos with them, including without effects (I only use a touch of real spring reverb, recently sold nearly all my pedals, but that's a whole philosophical thing). I also wish there was a side by side comparison of the Redd and Green tunings, or does someone have a list of the roughly corresponding notes / frequency values for each? Among the two colors, bass types, and various shapes, there's a lot to choose from and I wish I could just sit down with each of them to see what I'm most drawn to! In the end, though, I'm prolly just going to pounce on whatever one comes up for sale first just to get the experience.

Any lasting love for the Tocantes to hype me up on them? Any insights as to Redd vs Green (more neutral / minor / major / other descriptors of tunings)?

What are some other favorite non-traditional keyboard synths, such a touch capacitive or resistive interfaces? I'm also thinking of a Tetrax down the line as I'd like to try the squish, with the fine-tuning and patching as perks; the integration with the Deerhorn could be interesting as well, although I'm fine with letting each of my instruments do their own thing and "duet."

Sorry for the ramble, would just like to open another discussion, so any other thoughts on Tocantes are appreciated!

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Noctopolis
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Re: Tocante

Post by Noctopolis » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:23 pm

I have a Tocante Bistab and it’s definitely the most ”hands on” instrument in my setup. I couldn’t resist the curiosity even though I was more interested in the Tocante Phashi.
I haven’t tried any Redd version (mine is green) but from what I’ve understood the Redds are a third lower in tonal range (I might be wrong here).
The Bistab is special for sure. The lower notes sometimes sound kind of like a bass clarinet while the middle’s not too far from accordion/melodica and the high pitches have a shrill and almost bowed quality to the sound. I guess you already know about the very special scale. It’s possible to bend individual notes out of it (it’s very sensitive) and interacting with the sandrodes is where the real noise starts. Blowing or breathing over a broader section can make the Tocante sound almost alive (or rather quite often like an animal dying in agony).
It’s a very special instrument, really a handful, and although I like it in itself I’ve found my music probably relies a bit too much on traditional scales which so far has made it pretty hard to integrate it with other instruments. I find the Bistab quite abrasive but it can sound beautiful too. From what I’ve understood, ground hum is often a real issue with the Tocantes, but on mine it’s completely eliminated with a small wire loop between audio out and one of the brass screws.
Your reflections about the Tocante actually kind of inspires me to try and do an individual recording/video! If so I’ll post here. There really aren’t a lot of videos out there with these (but there’s a good one with the Bistab on Bastl’s channel).
Recent album: Perelandra https://noctopolis.bandcamp.com/

dunc_county
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Re: Tocante

Post by dunc_county » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:28 pm

Noctopolis wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:23 pm
I haven’t tried any Redd version (mine is green) but from what I’ve understood the Redds are a third lower in tonal range (I might be wrong here).
The Bistab is special for sure. The lower notes sometimes sound kind of like a bass clarinet while the middle’s not too far from accordion/melodica and the high pitches have a shrill and almost bowed quality to the sound. I guess you already know about the very special scale. It’s possible to bend individual notes out of it (it’s very sensitive) and interacting with the sandrodes is where the real noise starts. Blowing or breathing over a broader section can make the Tocante sound almost alive (or rather quite often like an animal dying in agony).
Yes! I'm amazed by how naturally they resemble other sounds such as various reeded and bowed instrument; really puts the concepts of sound and timbre in perspective, as it doesn't use a filter or ADSR section, just based on how your fingers touch. Both, my father and brother play accordion, and the former plays bagpipes, recorders, and a bit of clarinet and although Tocantes employ a different scale, I feel like they somehow continue in that musical-familial lineage but with a dash of my interest in synths. There's something folky about them, compounded by the fact that they were meant to be played in nature; such a deep philosophical context for something so seemingly simple, but all of Peter's instruments provide a platform to go deep than just sounds.
Noctopolis wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:23 pm
Your reflections about the Tocante actually kind of inspires me to try and do an individual recording/video! If so I’ll post here. There really aren’t a lot of videos out there with these (but there’s a good one with the Bistab on Bastl’s channel).
I would love to see any upcoming videos of yours with a Bistab solo! And that one on the Bastl channel is so beautiful, such a simple earworm melody.

odeland
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Re: Tocante

Post by odeland » Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:30 am



I have a few test videoes that shows the Green Thyris tonality. It sound like a strange string instrument, sometimes a bit cello, sometimes violin, sometimes even more

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TheArpEffect
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Re: Tocante

Post by TheArpEffect » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:14 am

They are super interesting instruments for sure, although the limited/specific scale and different versions (and the cost) has put me off a little bit. I'm also not convinced on how easy they'd be to integrate with other equipment. I've opted for a hyvve synth for a tactile synth option and just seen it may get delivered today...exciting times!

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Noctopolis
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Re: Tocante

Post by Noctopolis » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:43 pm

Ok, here’s a jam with four short sequences. It’s not exactly art :-) but I guess the timbres come across kind of OK. There’s a bit of plate reverb (a little too much maybe) but otherwise is just the Tocante lined into my DAW:
Recent album: Perelandra https://noctopolis.bandcamp.com/

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d42kn355
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Re: Tocante

Post by d42kn355 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:45 pm

Awesome! Thanks for posting a Test video :D
I have the 3 Tocante Studworth boards - but i havent been studworthy enough to build them yet.

dunc_county
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Re: Tocante

Post by dunc_county » Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:32 am

TheArpEffect wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:14 am
They are super interesting instruments for sure, although the limited/specific scale and different versions (and the cost) has put me off a little bit. I'm also not convinced on how easy they'd be to integrate with other equipment. I've opted for a hyvve synth for a tactile synth option and just seen it may get delivered today...exciting times!
The Hyve seems very similar in concept cuz I believe it too is all individual oscillators as well? It's the more "practical" version I reckon; also the upper layout is really well thought-out with groupings of fifths and thirds and such, as well as the expression on the keyboard. Did it arrive? How's it been?

dunc_county
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Re: Tocante

Post by dunc_county » Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:34 am

Noctopolis wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:43 pm
Ok, here’s a jam with four short sequences. It’s not exactly art :-) but I guess the timbres come across kind of OK. There’s a bit of plate reverb (a little too much maybe) but otherwise is just the Tocante lined into my DAW:
Perfect demo! I think that's plenty of art, nice melodies you got going on in there. Thanks for that, just what I like to hear!

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TheArpEffect
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Re: Tocante

Post by TheArpEffect » Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:30 am

dunc_county wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:32 am

The Hyve seems very similar in concept cuz I believe it too is all individual oscillators as well? It's the more "practical" version I reckon; also the upper layout is really well thought-out with groupings of fifths and thirds and such, as well as the expression on the keyboard. Did it arrive? How's it been?
Yes a "safer" choice I thought... Nope it's not arrived yet...not for lack of me refreshing the Tracking page over and over...

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Noctopolis
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Re: Tocante

Post by Noctopolis » Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:32 pm

dunc_county wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:34 am

Perfect demo! I think that's plenty of art, nice melodies you got going on in there. Thanks for that, just what I like to hear!
Thank you!

Apropos the Hyve: I’ve got that one too and although the core sound is not that far from the Bistab they really are very different as instruments, because of the scales and layout. I think The Hyve synth is lovely and it can sound huge - especially with fx!
Recent album: Perelandra https://noctopolis.bandcamp.com/

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