Dave Venom Music - Latest: Sunday Matinee with Kate "Pen Bleeds" Buckholdt

Here is the result of my first experiment with the fixed rack for this year’s Day of the Dead contest. It only uses two uOpulus and a self oscillating Lateralus as noise sources, and a fairly limited amount of modulation. But I really like the atmosphere.

I’ve never used any of the Geodesics collection except for Fate in last year’s contest. And I haven’t used the Vult uOpulus or Flux either. So this is a massive learning curve for me. There is so much more to explore!

I may never get a patch I feel is worthy to submit to the competition, but this is fun and educational either way.

I’m not making the patch available for now. If anyone wants it, I can upload it after the contest is over.

Sounds great Dave, is the fixed rack available or do we assemble it ourselves this year?

Follow the Day of the Dead contest link in my post, which takes you to Omri’s YouTube announcement. That video description has a link to the rules, which in turn has a link to the fixed rack.

Thanks, didn’t want to sound like a spoilt kid!

A Universe of Endless Possibilities

This conceptually simple piece is composed entirely from the first 8 partials of the harmonic series, rooted in D. The inspiration for the patch came from this post:

My patch has four voices. The first three simply fade in/out from one partial to the next, never playing more than two partials at a time. Each droning voice moves back and forth through the three octave series at different rates:

  • Triangle wave, rooted in D2, at the fastest master tempo
  • Square wave at 1/4 speed, with pulse width modulation, also rooted in D2
  • Complex voice at 1/12 speed, with three components
    • Triangle wave rooted in D2
    • Saw wave rooted in D1
    • Saw wave D1 drone

The fourth bell voice (sine) rings out at random times, randomly selecting pitches from the 8 note series rooted in D4.

Here is a 1/2 hour drone-scape showing the patch in action:

The name of the piece stems from a comment made during this live virtual open mic performance where I improvise with flutes and voice alongside the patch.

And here is the patch:


Nice. I love it.

Can I ask you quick, off topic question? How did you get the lights to fade out without adjusting it in the view menu?

You can use a construct like the following offscreen in your patch to turn the lights on/off via a keyboard press.

As shown, pressing either Alt key will toggle the lights on and off as long as VCV Rack has the focus. The lights will fade in over 1 second, and fade out over 10 seconds.

My setup was more complex, using multiple Count Modula Countdown timers, plus a Submarine NOT gate module, plus Stoermelder uMap, etc. to automate my entire recording sequence, all offscreen. The only visual evidence is the cable patched to the Recorder Gate input.

It takes a bit of setup and finagling each time the patch is loaded, but a single press of the Alt key would:

  • Start recording & fade both audio and record volumes in over 4 seconds
  • At 30 seconds fade the lights out over 10 seconds
  • At 29:50 fade both volumes off over 10 seconds
  • At 30:02 stop recording and fade the lights back in over 1 second

I did not include that setup in the patch on Patch Storage


Wow, that’s really cool. Thank you so much.


Single VCO, level of all harmonic levels individually controllable. zero CPU.


A fine module - not at all what I wanted for my patch.

I’m using saw, triangle, and square with PWM - no sine to be found other than the bell tones (yes, normally sines are used for the harmonic series, but not the sound I wanted)

Even if I were to use Chebyshev sines, I am running through the 8 pitch series at three different rates and two different root octaves, so I would need 4 Chebyshevs.

Plus I rather like the pictorial representation of the partial amplitudes that the VCV VCA provides.

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oh, I get it. But you would only need 2 chebys, one at each of two root octaves. You can modulate the harmonics any way you like, at as many rates as you want. If I were still making modules I would be happy to incorporate your feedback, as I did with the ill-fated Harmony module. but, so it goes…

Reminder - I’ll be joining my friends Rob and Kristen from ilyAIMY this Wednesday, November 9 from 7-9 pm for another Live From the Lair session.

Plenty of madness and magic from Rob and Kristen to go along with VCV Rack, flutes, djembe, and maybe even singing from me.

Streamed live on YouTube:

Also streamed live on the ilyAIMY Facebook and Twitch sites.


Cool gig Dave!

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I just watched the vid and noticed your comment at the beginning. Thanks so much for tuning in to the live stream!

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My pleasure. I also commented that I tried to make a PVC flute like the one you played and got close but finally wasn’t really successful.

Cool - I just now read those comments as well. Before I had just watched the replay, ignoring the comments, and Kristen had pushed your first comment into the live stream.

I was very disappointed I was unable to play that bad boy flute the way I wanted. I was playing through two Surge XT Treemonsters - one down 1 octave, the other 2 octaves. Natively the flute’s fundamental is B2. So with Surge it was playing B0 and B1 - a totally killer sound. Solo it was sounding great before the broadcast, but in that basement and with the other instruments it just became mud. Plus I think I was getting destructive interference in my corner of the basement, making it even harder for me to hear. So I quickly gave up and switched to the djembe.

Someday I may make a video showing how the flute is constructed. The design borrows some ideas from others, and then I throw my own tweaks to get more power from the flute.

I used the following for design inspiration:

But that design has much too small a sound hole for my taste - it chokes off the sound. For my sound hole I wanted 1" wide and 1/2" tall, which required a significant design change. I cannot simply shave off just the inner tube for the flue and get that width.

My flute head has a 1.5" coupler and a 3" coupler acting as outer sleeves, with a ~2.25" long inner section mating them together. The sound hole is cut through both the lower coupler and the inner tube, giving me much more thickness to work with. For the flue I not only shaved off the top of the inner tube, but also took away material from the inside of the coupler. And the fipple is angled on both the outer and inner surfaces - shallow on the outside, steep on the inside. It ends up looking more like a pipe organ.

The bocal construction is basically as Blue Bear shows, and I also used a test cap to divide the slow air chamber from the body of the flute as he shows.

Of course my finger holes are totally different - lots of educated guesswork and undercutting. The holes are so far spread apart I must use both thumbs, plus my index and ring fingers, with huge offsets to match the curve of my hand.

I don’t know how I would have made the flute without my Dremmel.

Somehow I managed to make it all work my first try (though I did fill in some finger holes and re-drill a few times until I got the tuning right). I haven’t made another one since.

I had dreams of a more massive flute one octave lower, using 3" PVC. The flute head turned out fantastic - it provided a gorgeous powerful tone with a 4 foot pipe body. But when I add pipe to the desired length it just becomes too much air to move. By the time the sound stabilizes, I am out of breath. So I gave up on that design.


That sounds pretty much identical to my methodology, including the inspiration video. I came close, but in trying to fine-tune it to actually sound like a scale, I was spending more and more time on it and not getting the desired outcome. I thought yours sounded pretty cool, but I can understand it being a difficult space to play in, especially if you’re not hearing it sound good so you start second-guessing yourself.

I have a considerable backlog of performances I’d like to clean up and post. Here is a start - Halloween Waltz from the October 31, 2022 VOM. I love the melody, and I think the patch is really cool. It features a number of VCV Fundamental Constructs using Rack 2 modules. Of particular note is a hybrid polyphonic Attack Decay Envelope Generator, Voltage Controlled Amplifier, and Wave Shaper - all constructed from a WT LFO (Wave Table Low Frequency Oscillator) using a morphing saw to triangle to ramp wave table from Jens Peter Nielson

The patch does not have any traditional envelope generator, or VCA, or delay, or reverb - yet I think it sounds really lush and dynamic.

The patch below randomly alternates the number of note repeats between 2, 3, or 4. But for the performance I forced the patch to always play triplets - I thought that worked better with my flute improvisation.

I also created a long tutorial video showing how I constructed the hybrid AD EG / VCA / Wave Shaper.

And I created standalone selections using the WT LFO that can easily be included in your own patch.

I don’t know of any single module that can create the same effect. The Audible Instruments Tidal Modulator can do something similar, but the Slope modulation input uses a slow sample rate, so the resulting sound is much coarser. Perhaps the Shape Master Pro might be able to also do something similar.

I have begun creating my own plugin, and hope to create a dedicated module to implement this technique. But that will not be available for the initial release.

I also hope to soon start a new Fundamental Constructs post that features new constructs that use the new Rack 2 Fundamental Modules. This performance includes three new constructs. Just too damn much to do, and not enough time…


Here are two songs I performed using my updated emulation of the Xaos Devices Sofia oscillator

Sofia on a Sunny Day

Sofia After Dark


Well here is something different than everything else I have posted. I’ve been performing with Kate “Pen Bleeds” Buckholdt - a spoken word artist that raps to various beats. I accompany her with my flutes and or djembe, and on a few songs we have used one of my VCV Rack patches.

This last Sunday we appeared on Jon Patton’s “Midway Fair Sunday Matinee” stream. We didn’t use any of my patches this time, though I did do one solo synth and flute piece. So I’m pushing the boundary of VCV relevance a bit :shushing_face:

The video is timestamped for each song, in case you want to skip the copious amount of talking. We alternate performers, starting with Jon, then Kate and me, back to Jon, etc.

So if you are curious about some of the other music I do - here you go.