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What's your favorite module for generative patches?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author What's your favorite module for generative patches?
Naenyn
My original intent when getting in to Eurorack was to just build myself a nice little modular analog synth to use with my DAW. While that is certainly still a priority, I am quickly gaining interest in generative music, too .. thanks in no small part to the Music Thing Modular Turing Machine, which is simply fantastic fun to use (as well as to build!). As a result, I'm reworking my rack a bit, trying to squeeze in things that'd help with generative patches. So, I figured I'd start a thread here and poll the experts:

What are your favorite modules for generative patches? What would you say is the best bang for the buck/hp, if you had very limited space?

For example, I'm looking for suggestions along the lines of the modules described in mylarmelodies' awesome video here.

Let the generative awesomeness.. commence! screaming goo yo
Keltie
It’s a bit of a nooby shortcut I guess, but I find Marbles awesome for adding some generative elements in. Self patching or sending mods to its inputs gets you a lot of controlled, but not absolutely defined variation....
cptnal
As well as all the stuff MM mentions in his video you want things that will take outputs from your patch and give you something you can route back into it. Things like function generators with end-of-whatever gates, envelope followers, comparators... These are all the boring things, but without them everything just happens at once.

Modules that do these things in a limited space? I think I'd start with at least one each of a quad VCA and a Disting. And you could do a lot of damage with a Stages in a small case too.

(Disclaimer: I am not one of these "experts" you mention, and I'd treat the advice of anyone claiming to be one with suspicion.)
Naenyn
Thanks for the good start!

Stages and Marbles are both on the list, for sure... and I've got a Veils and a Disting MkIV already .. with a second Disting on the to-buy-eventually list (they're so powerful!).

cptnal wrote:
As well as all the stuff MM mentions in his video you want things that will take outputs from your patch and give you something you can route back into it. Things like function generators with end-of-whatever gates, envelope followers, comparators... These are all the boring things, but without them everything just happens at once.

This is the exact kind of stuff I'm looking for. I feel like I need advice on the "boring" things .. good/popular/useful examples of function generators, etc.

Oh and by "experts" .. I really just meant mostly anyone who has dabbled with generative patching. I'm definitely a noob, so everyone is an expert in comparison. hihi
wechard
For comparator and logic types of modules, Ladik is really good. They offer a few things that are hard to get elsewhere (like the Derivator and Joystick Math), and their take on standard modules is often more complete than others (like their Comparator, which includes gates for all the possible x y relationships, and their Sequential Logic module).
Foghorn
Both Grids and Tuesday add some powerful functionality to a generative patch.
They contain real world examples of melody and rhythm.
.
Then take them one step further and add some random with modules like Branches that make somewhat random decisions.
.
Also S&H modules (Erica Pico RND - 2HP RND) which can add random voltages to be mixed with CV's.
I mean here not necessarily mixed with a mixer but used to make decisions that effect other CV's.

Also I really like using burst generators, they can make fast (brrpps) or slow trigger sequences that last a half minute.
.
Also Radio Music (or other sample players) can add quite a bit to any patch.

Foghorn
starthief
Marbles is my favorite overall.

Teletype (I lean more toward rhythm than CV with it, but there's no particular reason to).

Marbles and Teletype together. hihi

Addressing Mimetic Digitalis with an LFO or two is cool too.
cptnal
Naenyn wrote:
Thanks for the good start!

Stages and Marbles are both on the list, for sure... and I've got a Veils and a Disting MkIV already .. with a second Disting on the to-buy-eventually list (they're so powerful!).

cptnal wrote:
As well as all the stuff MM mentions in his video you want things that will take outputs from your patch and give you something you can route back into it. Things like function generators with end-of-whatever gates, envelope followers, comparators... These are all the boring things, but without them everything just happens at once.

This is the exact kind of stuff I'm looking for. I feel like I need advice on the "boring" things .. good/popular/useful examples of function generators, etc.

Oh and by "experts" .. I really just meant mostly anyone who has dabbled with generative patching. I'm definitely a noob, so everyone is an expert in comparison. hihi


FWIE I'll give you my current thoughts on the subject. Other opinions are available. oops

Eurorack isn't terribly well served for this kind of thing. There are notable exceptions, but a lot of videos either focus on one module (reviews and demos) or are wide shots of a whole patch with little explanation of how and why they're doing what they're doing. To be fair I think many content providers are realising there's this gap and are rising to it, but for the moment I think it exists.

On the other hand this might be deliberate, because an alternative point of view is that you should learn this stuff yourself and develop your own "voice". Otherwise you're just repeating what everyone else has done already. This is just as valid. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

So what to do? Read the manuals. They'll often have patch suggestions in them. Check out the Serge/Buchla sub-forum. Those guys know how to patch. (And remember that Euro is just one format and the same rules apply to all of them.) Look at what you're already doing with a more critical eye and tackle one challenge at a time - "I'd like this to happen, but only when that isn't happening," so maybe use a logic module or VCAs with a gate and its inverse.... And on and on... For me the fun is finding these things out, regardless of whether they actually get used. This is fun!

(Kinda went on a bit there, soz. Did most of my thinking on the hoof.)
Drakhe
There's lots to choose, here's some of my favorites:

sequencers with probability options (Eloquencer, Gatestorm)
weird sequencers (Rene, Klee)
random generators (URA, Zorlon Canon, Turing Machine, Marbles, Tuesday, Grids, Knights Gallop)
routing jumblers (SSM, Matrixarchate, boss bow tie)
logic (plog)
CV manipulation (gate delay, compare2)
Mixers with CV control (PM, Praga, RxMx)
complex envelopes (stages, VC EG, Batumi)

Here's an interesting video by Mylar Melodies, that talks about potential tools to use in generative patching:

Apfelmann
Döpfer A-149 1/2, grids, marbles, döpfer A - 155/154

These are in all my generative patches, marbles, beeing the latest addition, pferfect for generative stuff
Dcramer
cptnal wrote:
Naenyn wrote:
Thanks for the good start!

Stages and Marbles are both on the list, for sure... and I've got a Veils and a Disting MkIV already .. with a second Disting on the to-buy-eventually list (they're so powerful!).

cptnal wrote:
As well as all the stuff MM mentions in his video you want things that will take outputs from your patch and give you something you can route back into it. Things like function generators with end-of-whatever gates, envelope followers, comparators... These are all the boring things, but without them everything just happens at once.

This is the exact kind of stuff I'm looking for. I feel like I need advice on the "boring" things .. good/popular/useful examples of function generators, etc.

Oh and by "experts" .. I really just meant mostly anyone who has dabbled with generative patching. I'm definitely a noob, so everyone is an expert in comparison. hihi


FWIE I'll give you my current thoughts on the subject. Other opinions are available. oops

Eurorack isn't terribly well served for this kind of thing. There are notable exceptions, but a lot of videos either focus on one module (reviews and demos) or are wide shots of a whole patch with little explanation of how and why they're doing what they're doing. To be fair I think many content providers are realising there's this gap and are rising to it, but for the moment I think it exists.

On the other hand this might be deliberate, because an alternative point of view is that you should learn this stuff yourself and develop your own "voice". Otherwise you're just repeating what everyone else has done already. This is just as valid. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

So what to do? Read the manuals. They'll often have patch suggestions in them. Check out the Serge/Buchla sub-forum. Those guys know how to patch. (And remember that Euro is just one format and the same rules apply to all of them.) Look at what you're already doing with a more critical eye and tackle one challenge at a time - "I'd like this to happen, but only when that isn't happening," so maybe use a logic module or VCAs with a gate and its inverse.... And on and on... For me the fun is finding these things out, regardless of whether they actually get used. This is fun!

(Kinda went on a bit there, soz. Did most of my thinking on the hoof.)


Cptnal is on to something.
It really is kinda difficult to make a video that really delves deeply into a Modular patch. There’s just so much more going on than one module being demoed that it’s hard to keep it short enough to be watchable.
I pride myself on trying my best to document the most complex of patches, often with 150 cables and weeks worth of work in them but getting to every detail can be impossible. woah

Having demonstrated these big patches to people I always get a chuckle when they seem so surprised that I actually know what every module and cable is doing! hihi

Cptnal is also spot on when describing the need to generate events on multiple timelines. One of the mistakes I’ll see new users do while patching is that they focus all their energy and modules on a patch that’s generating 10-30 seconds of material, with little thought to how that material needs to be changed over longer time frames, like a whole piece.

I’m working on a thread that gives a detailed description of my recent Netherlands ‘Exodus’ patch and should have videos and descriptions up over the next few weeks:

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=202135

I’m breaking it into separate parts to get more depth but in the meantime here’s an example of a rather complicated Generative patch, designed to alter itself over longer time frames:

autopoiesis
the one single most useful eurorack module for generative patching is IMO ornament and crime. quantermain with its internal cv sources and clock division, just needs a single clock source and some self-patching and you'll be good.
grep
I like my patches to sound musical so a quantizer is essential. My choice is the Intellijel µScale II. It offers a lot of interesting functions in 6hp. Check it out.
novim
I found this video early on and it's still one of the best I've seen on generative patching. There's an explanation of Plog and then a methodical walk-through of a self-generating system with Plog and Dr. Octature pulling the strings.

fritzmartin
Apfelmann wrote:
Döpfer A-149 1/2, grids, marbles, döpfer A - 155/154

These are in all my generative patches, marbles, beeing the latest addition, pferfect for generative stuff


Thanks for this!
hermbot
Naenyn wrote:
What are your favorite modules for generative patches? What would you say is the best bang for the buck/hp, if you had very limited space?


For me it's the Wogglebug, the random nature of it really gets you to interesting places in a generative patch.

The voltage controlled clock, random gates, and control over "how" random something is ends up being key for me. I'll usually tie those controls to a common source so that there is another "state".

That was a big one for me - recognizing that one source of voltage could indicate a system "state" that gets broadcast to the rest of the rack. Think of the voltage from a sequencer: that doesn't need to control pitch, it could control timbre, tempo, anything. So as you move through the sequence (perhaps in a random direction or a random inverval cough wogglebug), you move into a different state.

Then if you have another state source, like a different sequencer, you have another state. Then interweave those, so they play off of each other. If you have two four-step sequences, now your system has 16 states to move through!

I should make a video on that...
lisa

I’d say MI Warps. Silence is important. Generative patches that doesn’t take a breath now and then will feel a bit simulated.
hermbot
lisa wrote:
Generative patches that doesn’t take a breath now and then will feel a bit simulated.


Very true!
tonymatte
As wechard mentioned there are a lot of basic-seeming utility-like modules out there that will ultimately provide the most joy and satisfaction with this sort of patching.

lots of cheap simple LFO's, some cycling slew-limiters, plenty of logic gates, VCA's aplenty, COMPARATORS, S&H's, switches will provide you endless possibilities and crazy, complex, deep patch ideas that have their roots in simple components, and its never truly random just chaotic. Just like mathematics - With enough basic operators you end up with a powerful complex (sound) calculator.

You will probably want a quantizer in the end to run all that complexity through, to get a melody that sounds right to our ears.

Don't get a O&C at first IMO, you will create beautiful generative music with it, and will probably have no fun doing it.. waah
dubonaire
Dcramer wrote:

It really is kinda difficult to make a video that really delves deeply into a Modular patch. There’s just so much more going on than one module being demoed that it’s hard to keep it short enough to be watchable.
I pride myself on trying my best to document the most complex of patches, often with 150 cables and weeks worth of work in them but getting to every detail can be impossible. woah

Having demonstrated these big patches to people I always get a chuckle when they seem so surprised that I actually know what every module and cable is doing! hihi

Cptnal is also spot on when describing the need to generate events on multiple timelines. One of the mistakes I’ll see new users do while patching is that they focus all their energy and modules on a patch that’s generating 10-30 seconds of material, with little thought to how that material needs to be changed over longer time frames, like a whole piece.

I’m working on a thread that gives a detailed description of my recent Netherlands ‘Exodus’ patch and should have videos and descriptions up over the next few weeks:

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=202135

I’m breaking it into separate parts to get more depth but in the meantime here’s an example of a rather complicated Generative patch, designed to alter itself over longer time frames:



Take the time to watch Dcramer's videos. He has a lot going on, explains things, and they are always well resolved pieces.

Really, unless you are doing very simple things, even the most deterministic patches tend to have 'generative' elements in them. That's one of the defining benefits of modular, it's so easy to make the variations that can make music interesting, but it's also so easy to lose control and lose that sweet spot forever too. This is the skill that Dcramer obviously has.

With any set of simple modules that are CV-able and include function generators, triggers, random/noise, S&H and LFOs you can go generative. One particular capacity to have is attenuation, either at the CV input, or by using modules like attenuverters.
pugix
I think that generative patching is more about patching and less about finding just the right modules. For my 'automatic' music I tend to use a lot of small modules in the control section, connected in complex feedback routings. I based a lot of it on the Cocoquantus oscillators (not Eurorack or modular). In Euro I build up a control patch out of a collection of LFOs, EGs, Sample and Holds, and VCAs. A lot of my automatic music uses no random source. It's all the complex interaction of the modules.

So what I've gone for is small modules, such as Bastl Tromso that combines a VCO/LFO, a comparator, and a sample & hold. I have four Tromsos. My latest add to this sort of module is M.I. Stages, which I blogged about.

http://pugix.com/synth/tag/automatic-music/
franman69
Turing Machine.. O_C in Quartermain (turing machines)... then I add in a second Turing machine.. but that's me.
captjrab
Triple Sloth. I dont oen it yet, but it looks good for this. O&C has the Low Rents which does similar chaos generation.
Naenyn
Thanks so much for all of the great ideas! Please do keep them coming. You guys are giving me a lot to think about.. and more motivation to experiment! applause
tau_seti
The 8 hp Sloths is fabulous. It has replaced most LFOs in my system. Triggering Maths with it works so well.
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