Here is another improv alongside a different patch based on the same Subharmonicon emulator patch. This time I am performing during the 2 year anniversary of Rob’s Virtual Open Mic (VOM 104), from March 21, 2022. This is the first piece from my two song set. I’ll post the second piece in a few days.
In this patch the VCF cutoff envelope is applied positively and has a fast attack and slow decay. The VCA envelope is applied negatively to the VCF resonance, and has a slow attack and fast decay. I like the rhythm that the opposing envelopes create.
2022-04-23 Update: The patch and description are now available
Here is the second and last piece from my VOM 2 year anniversary performance. I resurrect my drone patch that I used in December last year. But I use a different set of flutes this time.
I was thinking “who doesn’t use Plateau these days”, especially for a wooden flute
Then I saw SuperMassive ^^
I have to get Host, but I want to test every free module first, before beginning to use my VSTs.
Peaceful yet melancholic music, feels good
For my flutes I have settled into using Acon Digital Reverb Solo - a free VST with a dead simple interface that gives consistently good results. I don’t think I would use it for other applications - but it works great with my flutes.
But for the synths I typically use either Plateau or SuperMassive.
Life is too short! You definitely want SuperMassive for your journeys into the void. So if you need Host to access SuperMassive - then do it! If you have the discipline to hold off buying Host, then I’m sure you can restrict your use of Host and continue to explore the endless VCV possibilities without resorting to VST instruments.
I run everything through Reaper. The Reaper ReaRoute ASIO “device” is great for getting VCV into the DAW. So typically I don’t really need VCV Host - I can just add Supermassive to my synth track in Reaper. But Host-FX is nice for when I want to share patches and include my 'verb. Also I sometimes use CV to automate SuperMassive parameters for different scenes. I’m not sure how it works, but you can even select presets with CV.
I bought VCV Rack Pro to support the project, but I haven’t really used VCV as a VST yet.
Thanks! I actually use the phrase “introspective melancholic music” on my business card. I branch out into some other vibes, but that is my bread and butter, which is what drew me to the Native American flute.
Beautiful piece as always, Dave. I still have a little cash saved away in my (imaginary) BandCamp wallet, earmarked for your first release…
Also, I really love how you always credit the makers of your flutes in these videos. Very prosocial
Here is an epic performance, again using my most recent Subharmonicon emulator, paired with four different flutes. I’m still waiting for one of the modules to be published before sharing the patch.
The Plains of Arrakis
The patch uses sequence 2 to modulate the pitch of sequence 1. So instead of just a pair of 4 step sequences, it effectively has a 16 step sequence paired with a 4 step sequence. The polymeters are all prime numbers - (3, 7), and (11,13). It takes 12,012 beats to cycle around to the starting point. At 30 BPM, that becomes 6.67 hours to cycle.
The main “Subharmonicon” output passes through Host-FX with the Valhalla Supermassive plugin using the Planetarium preset. But you don’t hear this until halfway through the piece.
The intro uses the raw saw wave output of Sub 1B and Sub 2B, and filters them recursively with an LFO slowly sweeping the cutoff frequency to pick off clusters of harmonics. The Squinky Labs F2 filter does a wonderful job with this - I need to create a video about it.
The percussion is all produced by the VCV Drums plugin - I love the sound. I use docB HexSeq and Sha#Bang! Stochastic Sequencer Grid to sequence the drums.
2022-04-23 Update - The patch and description are now available
Thanks Drew. I’ve actually got a title and concept for the album - “Fundamental Air”. It will be a collection of my favorite and/or best recorded performances from the Virtual Open Mic that was so important to my mental health during the isolation of the pandemic. I’m gathering the material, and working on getting the pieces remixed and mastered. Pretty much all of them will feature both flutes and VCV Rack. Some may use some other electronic music that I used prior to discovering VCV Rack, but I’m not sure I have good enough quality recordings for those performances.
This may be my favorite one yet, Dave.
Are you applying reverb to the flutes, either by bringing them into VCV Rack, or by some other method (like playing in a desert cave temple)?
You keep outdoing yourself with all them flutes! Excellent and masterful stuff.
I talk about my flute reverb and general setup with Reaper in the 1st two responses here: Dave Venom music and patches - Latest: The Plains of Arrakis - #44 by DaveVenom
Funny you should ask that. I first discovered the Native American flute in December 2009 when my wife and I travelled to Santa Fe, New Mexico for our 20th anniversary. One of our excursions was a visit to the Bandelier National Monument where there are ancient cliff dwellings. I brought my newly acquired flute, and played it inside one of the hand carved caves (called a cavate). It was about 10 feet in diameter, and the circular walls amplified and focused all the sound out the entrance. My wife was outside, and she said the sound filled the entire canyon. Truly a magical spiritual moment.
I think that particular cavate was called Cave Kiva - Main Loop Trail Stop 15 - Bandelier National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)
If not there, then here - Main Loop Trail Stop 11 - Bandelier National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)
I actually had the Bandelier cavate in mind when I was developing and performing The Plains of Arrakis. The Bandelier cliff dwellings overlook a desert canyon. And the Fremen of Arrakis lived in cave warrens that overlook the desert dunes.
Unlike many people, I do not see images when I perform or listen to music. Rather I get a feeling of pure, physical emotion. There are definitely a lot of feelings from my Bandelier experience in that piece.
Caves of Arrakis imagery reminds me of this old recording:, not sure why
Now that docB Formula One has been released to the library, I feel I can finally share my Subharmonicon emulator version 5 patch for Rack 2. I created three versions, each using a different polyphonic VCO:
- Befaco Even VCO
- Bogaudio VCO
- VCV Fundamental VCO - On balance, this version is my favorite
The PatchStorage post includes details about the changes made for version 5.
The emulator only uses free plugins. However, the patch relies heavily on Stoermelder Pack One Glue for labels, and that is not in the library yet. But the plugin is available at Release Development build · stoermelder/vcvrack-packone · GitHub. The plugin works great as long as you stick with the standalone version of VCV Rack. My patch also uses the Stoermelder uMap, I don’t know if that is one of the modules that has problems in the VST version.
I am really enjoying the new version 5. I don’t use it so much as a fixed rack, but rather as the centerpiece of a larger patch. I can very quickly start with the emulator, dial in a new sequence, maybe patch in some modulation in the patch bay, get inspired, and build from there. I’m finding the new Unison feature with detune incredibly useful. And it is really handy to be able to dynamically see the harmonic divisor used by each sub voice.
I’ve updated these posts to include links for the patch used by each piece:
Lastly - I went in an entirely new direction with the emulator and explored what I could do with lots of feedback routing in the patch bay. I didn’t worry about musicality, and I was excited to discover a restrained chaotic soundscape:
Here are 3 pieces from a recent Virtual Open Mic performance on May 16.
“Dreams Among Clouds” uses my Subharmonicon emulator yet again - with no virtual patch bay usage other than to add delay and reverb.
For my second I resurrected “Chaotic Alien Jungle”, but added some flutes to the mix.
And my final piece is a quick improv on a double flute - no synth on this one. Just thought I would share a bit of what I do without any electronic music.
Hello Dave, are you ok if I sample these wonderful flutes, I would credit you as the original creator/musician.
I’m not normally into sampled sounds, but I am curious about what you might create. So go for it.
Thanks Dave, I’ll see what sonic mayhem I can produce. Much appreciated.
Here is “113 Steps Toward the Prime Directive” from my May 23 Virtual Open Mic performance. The patch is based on prime numbers to commemorate VOM #113, as requested by Rob Hinkal, the VOM founder.
That kosmische + flute is an unusual and quite pleasing combo, there Dave. I don’t know that I would have called that one. Kudos to you for continuing to explore beyond the well-trodden path.
Also, nice shirt!
Ever since I discovered the Native American flute in 2009, I’ve been interested in combining its expressiveness with all manner of eclectic instruments. Some of my most memorable live music making moments are spontaneous jams with whatever instrumentalists I could coerce to join me at an open mic. I’ve been able to perform with cello, violin, double bass, electric bass, fretless electric bass, guitars, mandolins, harmonica, steel pans, all manner of drums and percussion, trombone, sax, Chinese erhu, harp …
Then there has also been semi regular groups with interesting lineups:
- Drifting Spirits (cello, hand percussion, bass, flutes)
- Fablelore (baritone guitar and voice, cello, mellotron, flutes and djembe)
- Chuck the MaddOx (spoken word, beatbox, electric cello, flutes)
My interest in synths arose from this live jam with Astronauto (John Velsor) back in 2016
Ever since then I had been wanting to explore the combination of flute with synthesizer, but never really found the opportunity. Then the pandemic hit, and the isolation took away all avenues of shared music making. It prompted me to start exploring synths on my own, and when I found VCV Rack - it clicked for me, and I have been hooked. The random elements that are frequently in patches satisfy my craving for “bandmates” that always provide something new to inspire my flute improvisations.
All that in Baltimore? Man, I shoulda got out more back in the beforetimes!