This week, we ask the question, “What exactly does it mean to be ‘stereo’?” and come up with a weird answer. See, the Morphagene is a cool stereo module, but sometimes (a lot of times, TBH) I don’t really need a stereo signal. So, use it in mono? I do that sometimes. And other times, I do something creative. Like here!
Since my sample source (a microcassette full of 3-7 second snippets of random shit recorded from YouTube) was very mono, I turned to a technique I have used a couple of times now: using the left channel as a dry channel, while the right channel records a heavily effected version — in this case, a version transformed through the Panharmonium.
Setup for that was simple! I just put the microcassette output into the amplifier in the 4ms Listen IO, then split the signal out of it: one side into Morphagene, one side into Panharmonium. Then the Panharmonium’s 100% wet output went into the right side input of Morphagene, and while recording I played with various Panharmonium controls. The result is the left side is more-or-less comprehensible speech, while the right side is some degree of weird, chimey, robot-speak/additive synthesis sounding stuff. Neat.
(An aside: one neat trick to do while recording Mimeophon reels from a source with multispeed is to record it at a very slow speed, since you can pitch it up to 2x easily in the Morphagene — gives you the smeary transients and somewhat magical effects of half-speed tape but you can still play it at full speed if needed!)
That done, it was time to patch the actual Morphagene patch. As I said, I don’t need stereo in the traditional sense (i.e. one sound on one die, the other on the opposite side) so I took the two channels and ran them into a switch. Then the switch is controlled with the XOR output of the Benjolin. This effectively makes a single audio channel that switches somewhat unpredictably between the normal voice and the weird Panharmoniumed version. The effect is pretty cool!
To make it cooler, I added the Mimeophon, and it turned it from an interesting sound effect to something musical (which is what it usually does). Then it goes straight to the system’s outs. Pretty easy!
Controlwise, it’s nearly as simple. The Planar 2 controls the pitch (X axis, +/- 5 volts, so it can go full speed in either direction) and the Slide control (i.e. the sample start point) (Y axis, 0-10 volts). I hand control the Gene Size, Morph and Organize controls — I might add some additional controls there before it’s all said and done, but this is where we are at now.
And here’s a short sample of it, so you can enjoy it yourself. It starts with the dry (no Mimeophon) signal, then the delay kicks in about halfway thru so you can see how it changes the sound/vibe: