Happy accidents are a must in any Fluxic production. So I experiment a lot with setting up systems that facilitate those. And nothing is better for that than a giant modular synthesizer, and tools like the Logic Pro environment, Native Instruments Reaktor and Ableton’s Max for Live.
This approach shines through in many areas – from the unpredictability of modular synthesizer, to the controlled randomness of the digital world. Both in the creation and performance of Fluxic, there will be elements of chance and the risk of chaos.
Follow these pages to see some of the ways to obstruct yourself with happy accidents.
There are countless ways you can make random things happen on a modular synthesizer.
The only problem is that it often sounds … well, random. Without any meaningful context or artistic idea. “Bleeps & Farts” are one of the most commonly used negative terms for that phenomenon, which the Internet is filled with.
But it is not just a matter of throwing in a lot of cables and turn the knobs. It pays to pay attention towards creating small ecosystems in the modular where interesting random stuff can happen.
What do you want to randomise? Is it perhaps the rhythm, the timbre, the pitch, the envelope…? Or all of those?
The controllable parameters in a module have their strengths and sweet spots, and often it pays to lean towards those when using it. But it can also be rewarding NOT to go for the obvious. It may yield unexplored grounds.
Another form of randomisation is when you let randomness pick your sound sources.
This can yield interesting results – especially if you force yourself to use whatever you are presented with.
Most major DAWs allows you to create a macro or a script that can randomize the patches on a synth, and thus maybe present you with stuff you had not chosen yourself. The random program changes can be sequenced – a simple form of Wave Sequencing – to create a lot of mileage even from older synths.
However, many synths have a reaction time and maybe some audible “gargle” when the patch is changed during playback. You will then have to add longer space between the events to allow the sound to stabilise.