After a patient six week wait, the rather unfortunately named Rossum Assimil8or arrived!
Having tracked its travels I was ready for its arrival and had carved a space for it, playing ‘module tetris’ between cases with the aim of creating a playable self contained instrument… But also pulling together all the modules that involve programming, so the case can split its time between sitting beside my computer getting loaded, and over with my main modular, being assimilated and modulated… (Cirklon is still in transit, on some kind of world tour – it left Berlin, transited Shenzhen, China and is now resting at Changi, Singapore)
The realm of modular regularly blows my mind – every time I engage, it feels a little like jumping into some kind of swimming pool of infinite creative potential, where I could stay underwater, doing nothing other than messing with my modular and a few decades could pass without ever reaching any limits in possibility… I used to think that was primarily due to scale i.e. my modular growing past the point of predictable or knowable outcomes… Of course taste, aesthetics, intent all steer whatever experimention and creative process is occurring but the creative power contained in even just this little 6U case is really freaking unreal!
For a composer, the choice of instrumentation and associated performances are in effect the realisation of their musical art form. Accordingly for a classical composer, having regular access to an orchestra or ensemble must enable a profound cycle of creative feedback – writing for specific performers. Hearing the results. Iterating.
For many decades electronic instruments have been accessible, but now – right now – we are truly in a golden age of evolution. Whether you are a ten year old kid who just got a Volca sample, or some middle aged geezer who just got an Assimil8or, all benefit from the confluence of decades of creative evolution and the current mass rapid growth in production of music/sound hardware and software.
I wonder when we will see entirely new forms of music based on this evolutionary leap? Do you feel you have heard it yet, because I sure don’t. One of the biggest creative issues I have with a lot/most music produced with modular is due to maximalism. Almost every piece starts, gets denser, and denser, louder and louder… until it ends. Why is it so hard to turn off? or even just turn down? Is it simply due to the newly found skill or pleasure of making sound? More is more is more is more is more, until… the end?
There is an ongoing joke/meme that ‘you can never have enough VCAs’and that may be a potential source of the issue. Due to cost and space limitations many people work with small cases such as this 6U. But when it comes to priorities, generating sound/music is often high on the list – voices, followed closely by a means to play or trigger those voices. But unless for every sound source there is a means of controlling its volume (a VCA or filter, controlled by an envelope) then those sounds are going to start, play and keep playing… More and more and more… until… the end?