North Coast News

Live-coding a permutation-based fugue
2018 Jan 28th

Live-coding a permutation-based fugue

If you've been following North Coast for a long time, you may remember the live video streams I did back in 2016. This week I spent some time getting the software and hardware set up to do that again, which pretty much meant starting over from…

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Modular synthesis intro, part 5: Saving money
2018 Jan 21st

Modular synthesis intro, part 5: Saving money

This is Part 5 in a series that started with Part 1.Back in Part 3 of the "intro to modular" series I said it would cost about US$1000 to US$2000 to get started in modular synthesis, and I said that although there are ways to economize, they are real…

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Random thoughts on negative resistance
2018 Jan 14th

Random thoughts on negative resistance

It's been an exciting week here at North Coast. Since selling out the first batch of Leapfrog filters, I've been busy making more. That's still in progress. Then just yesterday I gave a talk at Frequency Freaks, here in Toronto, and that seemed…

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2018 Jan 7th

Modular synthesis intro, part 4: Some pitfalls

This is Part 4 in a series that started with Part 1.This week I continue the series on how to get started with modular synthesis by looking at some common pitfalls beginners encounter, and mistakes I hope you can avoid making.Beware of "passive" modu…

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Listening to the Mandelbrot set
2017 Dec 31st

Listening to the Mandelbrot set

Okay, it's New Year's Eve, I'm overdue to write this week's Web log entry, and the topic I wanted to write about is held up because of (among other things) a package that apparently was stolen from my front porch after it was "delivered" during my…

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Maximizing inharmonicity
2017 Dec 17th

Maximizing inharmonicity

As I've said before, I'm interested in slow ambient drones - sounds that smoothly change their texture over a period of time without any sharp boundaries or beats. If you have something like this playing in the background, I want for it to never…

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Modular synthesis intro, part 2:  Don't do it!
2017 Dec 10th

Modular synthesis intro, part 2: Don't do it!

This is Part 2 in a series that started with Part 1. When I started the market research for my business, I put together a profile of who'd be buying my products. I imagined my customers as the kind of people I've met in the modular synthesis hob…

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Modular Gift-Giving Guide 2017
2017 Dec 3rd

Modular Gift-Giving Guide 2017

The Solstice is rapidly approaching and I'm doing my usual routine of putting off making any plans until the very last moment, then panicking, buying a bunch of random gifts, and handing them out with little regard to who's receiving what. I've c…

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2017 Nov 26th

Modular synthesis intro, part 1: What is it?

My mother asked me to explain what I'm up to in one sentence, for inclusion in the annual Christmas Letter, and I said that I'm making electronic musical instruments. That's a pretty good summary as far as it goes. But people often want more detai…

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Free MIDI software rundown
2017 Nov 19th

Free MIDI software rundown

Modular synthesis involves a lot of on-the-fly experimentation with the hardware, but if you're going to make music in a preplanned way, there's a good chance you will end up involving a computer and connecting it to your modular via MIDI. Here a…

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Ribbet!
2017 Nov 12th

Ribbet!

The Leapfrog VCF does not actually go "ribbet," at least not without some effort. But after being told by one friend I showed it to that most people don't want to make real music with their modulars but just want something that goes "uuuuuuuuu…

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