An important job for the Cinematic Laboratory is the live creation of soundscapes from strange new worlds. This case is designed to do just that, but I have to admit that this case is one big happy accident. I didn’t like the Elements module a lot. I found it too limited and to thin compared to, lets say, the Prism VST from Native Instruments. I was looking for big horns screaming through a dark sky, with thunder in the distance. I was looking for an OMG experience, but Elements didn’t deliver. So I kept Elements in its beautifully crafted bag for a long time. I almost wanted to trade the Tiptop Z-DSP for a Make Noise Erbe-Verb, because I already had a microClouds and how many reverbs does one need? The Phonogene was also upgraded to a Morphagene and sold on a second hand marketplace. The Phonogene was too much ‘monogene’ for me while my goal was to go stereo.
The craziest module on the planet
The first step to this case was the completely crazy Tropical Noise module from Error Instruments. It looks and feels handmade in a chop shop, and it probably is. It’s basically a DIY Arduino board with soldered wires and chewing gum. The knobs feel like they’re glued to the panel, the panel is too thick (doesn’t fit in a Shared System case from Make Noise because the screws are too short). And finally, it’s designed to make the weirdest possible sounds by patching ‘tropical fish capacitors’ into its patch bays. But there’s no other hardware on this planet that can sound like this crazy module. It’s designed to be unpredictable and it makes more noise than all MakeNoise modules together. But, as with many Eurorack, this module sounds best when connected and processed to something else. And in this case (literally) it’s main companion is the Phonogene. Yes, I sold it and then I decided to buy it back. The P is simple and an excellent live tool.
Stereo on steroids
Both the Tropical Noise and the Phonogene are mono. Even though they are able to create the weirdest sounds together, they are unable to create a stage you can vanish into. The excellent Z-DSP is designed for stereo, but is unable to sum a mono input until a second source is patched. Weird. I solved the problem by using a drum mixer from Erica, which also adds CV panning. Perfect. However, an OMG accident happened when I connected the Phonogene to a Mutable Instruments Warps with ‘parasite’ firmware. I will add a demo asap so you can judge for yourself.
Big horns screaming through a dark sky, with thunder in the distance
I was wrong. Elements is a great, great, great sounding module. I judged it without understanding it. The main reason why Kinks and Plaits are in this case, is because the module comes to life (or should I say, explodes with life) when you feed it a different sound source. Even simple noise becomes a magical experience. You need to give it dynamics (velocity) and movement (Tides) to get the most of it. And you need to like big cinematic sounds 🙂