I usually don’t review stuff here on Progsounds but, believe me, this deserve it and here is why.
Whoever is into modular programming on Clavia synthesizers already knows the name of Roland Kuit for his great contribution to patchers community. He is one of few Top Programmers around the world, able to push both generations of Nord Modular synths to their limits. The first eBook (or Patchbook) Roland published was SoundLab I, with over 650 patches, followed by SoundLab II with over 750 patches.
Laboratory of Patching is a sort of beefed up bundle of both SoundLab providing more than 1700 patches, interactive tutorials and a big collection of tricks. This is a work of a lifetime!
Let’s take a closer look
Laboratory of Patching is an interactive HTML Patchbook, meaning that you will need your browser to navigate through the content. Every time you’ll see a screenshot of a patch, simply click on it and your Nord Modular G2 Editor (or Demo, once installed) will open the selected patch.
Basics of the electronic studio
Amplitude and Ring Modulation
Sample & Hold
Audio Processing I
Tips & Tricks
Creating House, Techno and Glitch
Creating Experimental Music
Electronic Music History
New Oscillator Design
New Filter Design
Shapers and Audio
Patterns and Sequencers
Audio Processing II
Laboratory of Patching: Part I (Basic – Intermediate)
This part begins with a brief history of electronic music, focusing on experiments made by pioneers like Stockhausen, Ligeti, Berio and so on. The two Synthesis chapters will explain basics of several sound synthesis techniques, from subtractive to physical modeling with tons of examples. A lot of unconventional and low-level techniques has been used to show the full potential of Clavia modular environment.
Next two chapters show how to build massive patches for Dance and Techno electronic music, with an extended use of sequencer modules. Individual chapters are dedicated to explore specific techniques such as Amp/Ring modulation, Sample&Hold, use and abuse of Logic modules (this is one of my favorite chapters), Audio Processing and Experimental stuff. The final chapter of this first part is a collection of tricks and worths the whole ebook to me since it contains all that “secret magics” a programmer would learn across his life.
Laboratory of Patching: Part II (Advanced)
Second part of this eBook is a collection of advanced techniques, tricks and examples for building exotic patches. Just open Oscillators chapter and you could play with it for years: advanced formant techniques, vocal oscillators, strange PWMs, Wavetables are only few examples of what expects you on this single chapter. Filters chapter is very tasty, since you can find here something like a complex equalizer built around Serge modular techniques or filters made with logic modules (!!!), FIR filters, wave scanners and much more. As I already stated for Part I, Logic section is one of my favorite. On Part II of this book there is another chapter dedicated to abuse of Logic modules that extends the juice you met on Part I with more advanced techniques like Logic Ring Modulation, advanced rhythms and sequencers and even oscillators. Talking of sequencers, there is a dedicated chapter that explores new ways of triggering, sequencing and pattern generation. Next chapter, Miscellaneous, is another impressive collection of tricks spacing from new sync techniques to advanced Phase Locked Loop examples. Next chapter digs into shapers and audio modifiers, from pseudo-stereo to digital emulation of Bode phaser, passing through granular processors, asymmetric signal shaping and other juicy wizardries. Last chapter goes even deeper into sound mangling, leaving you speechless: resonant neurons, coefficient based filterbanks, unconventional bitcrushers are only few examples.
As stated before, this is a work of a lifetime and requires a lifetime to fully explore and understand all the experience Roland put into his amazing book. Every synth programmer, beginner or advanced, will benefit from Laboratory of Patching since it is more a compendium of new ideas than a standard “tutorial like” eBook. Perhaps this is the only downside of this work: while Part I contains brief description of what is going on, Part II only contains patches with their titles. Advanced programmers will not suffer from that, since they can easily understand the whole process while programming, but beginners and intermediate users will be scared at first even if, in my opinion, this is a stimulus to experiment and learn new techniques thinking out of all programming conventions. To me, as programmer, Roland Kuit just created a masterpiece and I can feel the love and even a little of humor behind this work.
Laboratory of Patching will be available for download from September 2012 on rolandkuit.com at the price of €210. Discounts are available for SoundLab customers (15% discount), College/University students (10% discount) and College/University bulk orders (25% discount for 10 copies or more). Furthermore, you can also join on of his online Masterclass. Just prepare your modular and a lot of coffee!