It’s been a while since I really dug into the modular synth (I’ve been busy working on finishing up my upcoming album, and there hasn’t been much call for the modular) so when I finished up the primary writing phase for that album and needed a couple days to let it marinate before I moved into the final production phase, I decided it was time. I considered a few different options before landing on what’s become my go-to patch starter: the Benjolin.

There are 3 elements to this patch, and they all originate in the Benjolin. The first, and main, bit was made by sending all 3 filter outputs (lowpass, highpass, bandpass) of the Benjolin into the Doepfer switch. Then I operated the switch with one of the gate outputs of the Benjolin gate expander. When the Benjolin was operating relatively slowly, the tone would shift slowly, making for intermittent shifts in tone, and when it was going fast, it acted more like a waveshaper, spitting out a combined tone of sorts from the output (note: this is a really cool way to use switches in your patches; LMK if you are interested in more on this topic).

The Benjolin itself was modulated by the “fast” side of the Triple Sloth into the filter CV control, which in turn was being driven by the clock/pulse 2 output of the Benjolin. Otherwise, it was just doing its regular, weird-ass Benjolin thing and being played/manipulated in real time by my own two hands.

The second voice element comes from Panharmonium, the input of which is also fed by the output of the switch, split off via a mult cable (I use Hosa pigtails rather than stackable cables; YMMV). The Panharmonium was set to output a couple octaves down, to thicken the patch up and give it a little more body, as well as create an accompaniment of sorts that would always be related to whatever the Benjolin was doing. No modulation patched into it, but I did a fair bit of realtime tweaking as I played the patch, focusing on the feedback, glide, and analyzer speed controls, with occasional tweaks to the oscillator type and numbers, the blur control, and the analyzer bandwidth and center frequency.

The final voice element came from the Morphagene. As I was building and tweaking the patch, I ran the headphone output of the 4ms Listen Four mixer into the Morphagene and recorded five or six splices of the Benjolin madness. The Morphagene output ran into the WMDevices C4RBN filter, whose cutoff was modulated by the Benjolin’s Triangle 2 output, then into the mixer and voila, our third voice element — again, an element related to what the Benjoilin was doing, tho separated in time and heavily modified thru the Morphagene and filter. No other modulation used, just my hands on the controls on both the filter (some) and Morphagene (plenty, mostly of the Gene Size and Slide controls).

All 3 of those elements went into the 4ms mixer and then into Mimeophon. The Mimeophon was modulated by something called a Wobble Box ( a little boutique CV controller that generates CV via a contact mic when you squeeze it) into its rate input, and the Flip switch was controlled by one of the Benjolin’s gate expander outputs for some semi random backwards delay effects. And like every other element, I played the Mimeophon controls manually as I performed the patch, focusing on the Zone controls.

That’s it on the modular side. After a handful of test performances (and let me tell you, I can get lost in playing the Benjolin for hours, so it was a day or so of fucking around) I recorded two long takes of the patch (about 35 minutes worth total), imported both takes into Ableton Live and cut them into pieces there. Then I assembled the best moments into the ~7 minute version you hear on the album, added a touch of compression and EQ, and ran it thru the AKAI tape deck for mastering. And that’s it. That’s the patch and that’s the track.

One final note, about the name. Turns out when you call an album Metaphysical Shitposting, some percentage of your audience will read that as a reference to Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti (especially if there’s also a vague resemblance between the cover art, at least in approach). They’ll ask you about that connection, and maybe be slightly disappointed to find that no, it wasn’t intentional although there may have been something subconscious at work there. That led me to the name “Led Astray by the Title” and then I wracked my brain to come up with a way to work Zeppelin onto the end of that and came up with the “Cloud Mistaken for Zeppelin” bit (which is itself a pseudo reference to yet another band that has no actual connection to this other than a vague connection to my previous life as a full time music journalist; I’ll send you a DL code for the album if you can name the band).

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