‘Speriments With Modular Synthesis and Acoustic Instruments

Update 1/17/23: The video is still available online at the following:

It is still viewable on Twitch until some time on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023 at https://www.twitch.tv/nicks_virtual_garage_2020

It is still viewable on Youtube (and will remain there as far as I know) at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw1zhjpH6eo

——- Original Post——–

I’ve been working for the past few months on a new music project with friend and multi-instrumentalist Ellen Cooper (https://flipmowse.bandcamp.com/music). We have just completed a video to be broadcast this Friday – Jan. 13 – at 8:00 PM EST. It is a one hour show. Details on how to view (free!) below.
This project incorporates acoustic instruments and voice with a modular synthesizer program called VCV Rack (https://vcvrack.com). I’ve always been interested in electronic music but previously the hardware was too expensive for me to explore much in that area. VCV Rack runs on your computer and is entirely free. There is a paid version (to help fund development) with extra features and some developers create paid modules but there is enough that is free to keep you exploring and creating for a very long time.
If you’re not familiar with modular synthesizers (you most likely have heard music created with it), this Wikipedia article is a good place to start – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modular_synthesizer and the summary there says: “Modular synthesizers are synthesizers composed of separate modules for different functions. The modules can be connected together by the user to create a patch. The outputs from the modules may include audio signals, analog control voltages, or digital signals for logic or timing conditions. Typical modules are voltage-controlled oscillators, voltage-controlled filters, voltage-controlled amplifiers and envelope generators.”
Ellen has been working with this software for about a year now. I am new to it but she has been creating patches for us to use (each patch a collection of modules that interact with each other and with us). In this show, each patch is for a specific piece. There are five pieces in the program. It’s been exciting for me to begin to learn to make use of this software but also to be able to expand the sonic possibilities of my instruments and to be able to interact or play with different kinds of sounds. This show is a beginning for us – a work in progress – that we hope to continue to expand on. I hope you’ll join us for the presentation on Friday or watch it later at your leisure. Comments are always appreciated!

How to view: The show is being put on by Nick Mellis’ “Nick’s International Virtual Garage Concert Series” (https://nivg.weebly.com) and will be simulcast to three different online venues so you can pick the one want. As far as I know, none of them require you to log in to view.
1.) Twitch – https://www.twitch.tv/nicks_virtual_garage_2020 Our event should show up if you go to that page at showtime and if you go after the show it should show up saying something like “view this broadcast from x days ago” until a new one appears the following week. If it appears in a small window, click on it and it should expand. Twitch is mostly known as a site for young (younger than me!) gamers who live-stream their video games but it has also started to become a site for musicians to stream their performances. This is the venue we will be watching on and participating in the live comments stream there (hopefully) moderated by Nick. You might have to be logged in to comment.
2.) Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw1zhjpH6eo This is the link for our video when it goes live. You should also be able to view it later from Nick’s library there at https://www.youtube.com/@nivgnet
3.) Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/2328062817343728/ This is the link to the event page for the broadcast. I don’t use Facebook so I’m not sure if that will take you to the video come show time or you may have to click somewhere to get to it.

For any of these good speakers or headphones will give you a vastly better listening experience. Also, keep an eye out for Mr. Potato Head.

OK – that’s it. Hope you’ll join us and let us know what you think.