Experimental Soundscapes: A Guide to Creative Eurorack Patching

If you're looking to create experimental soundscapes and push the boundaries of what's possible with your Eurorack setup, then you'll want to combine some of the most interesting and versatile modules available. In this guide, we're going to explore how to use five unique modules - the Xaoc Devices Poczdam, Noise Engineering Lacrima Versio, Noise Engineering Melotus Versio, Toppobrillo Multifilter 2, and Big T Music Beehive - to generate a wide range of sonic textures and effects.

First up is the Xaoc Devices Poczdam, a binary data routing solution that allows manual and remote switching between two data sources. While it's designed for complex Leibniz setups, it can also be employed in small creative patches, such as waveform splicing, disrupting rhythmic loops, and generating digital chaos. Poczdam can be used creatively to disrupt and glitch audio signals, generating unique textures and patterns.

Next, let's consider the Noise Engineering Lacrima Versio. This module is a take on the classic analog autowah pedal, but it goes far beyond that. It features an envelope follower that controls a high-resonance filter, allowing you to morph the filter between lowpass, bandpass, and highpass slopes. You can also route an adjustable distortion pre, post, or pre+post filter for some saturation crunch, and add width and motion with a stereo chorus. The Mod parameter can also be used to add audio rate modulation and octavizing to the signal. With all of these features, Lacrima Versio can be used to create a huge range of interesting and creative effects.

Moving on, the Noise Engineering Melotus Versio is a stereo texturizer that uses granular processing to transform and reshape sound. It can act as everything from a grain delay to a completely transformative texturizer, with extensive grain control and manipulation of triggering, direction, and randomness. You can filter audio with a lowpass/highpass combo filter that adds haunting shimmers and subharmonics. Plus, grains can be frozen by hand or with triggers and gates, or clocked to create rhythmic effects. Melotus Versio is a DSP platform, so it can be transformed into a completely different effect by loading alternate firmware, or you can program your own firmware using the open-source documentation.

The Toppobrillo Multifilter 2 provides a whole range of filter functionality in a single module. The newly redesigned module adds a ton of new functionality to the old version. It now includes a dual-input crossfading mixer with voltage controlled gain, a variable Mode output with continuously-variable voltage controlled response (Lowpass-Bandpass(or Notch)-Highpass), which can track filter frequency for some unique effects. The Multifilter 2 features a dedicated "Ping" input which percusses the filter at the input voltage. The module is 12HP, has a shallow form-factor, and a low noise design.

Last but not least, the Big T Music Beehive is a new 8hp version of the incredibly versatile Plaits module by Mutable Instruments. It features black and gold styling to fit in with the existing Big T Music Ltd range. The module comes with anodised aluminum knobs, steel shaft potentiometers with center detent pots for attenuverters. This module is perfect for creating all kinds of soundscapes.

By patching together these five modules in creative ways, you can generate an endless range of experimental soundscapes. Try manipulating the audio signals by using various controls such as voltage-controlled gain, filter frequency, and modulation parameters to see what kinds of unique sounds you can create.

Example Usage

As a novice, you can experiment with creating experimental soundscapes by combining the Poczdam module with the Lacrima Versio and Melotus Versio modules. Try feeding an audio source into the Poczdam, then route it to the input of the Lacrima Versio. Adjust the envelope follower and filter to create a unique texture. Route the output of the Lacrima Versio into the Melotus Versio, experiment with the granular processing and adjustable distortion to create spacey, otherworldly sounds. The Multifilter 2 and Beehive can also be used to shape the sound even further. Don't be afraid to explore and try different patching combinations!

Intermediate-level example:

For this intermediate-level patch, we will be combining the Xaoc Devices Poczdam, Noise Engineering Lacrima Versio, and Toppobrillo Multifilter 2 modules to create an experimental soundscape.

First, connect the output of a sound source to the input of Poczdam. Use the Leibniz data routing solution to manually switch between two Leibniz data sources while modifying individual bits of the data stream. Then, re-clock the data using the onboard voltage-controlled wideband oscillator.

Next, route the output of Poczdam to the input of Lacrima Versio. Use the envelope follower to control a high-resonance filter, morphing the filter between lowpass, bandpass, and highpass slopes. You can also add saturation crunch by routing the adjustable distortion pre, post, or pre+post filter. Use the stereo chorus to add width and motion to your sounds, and the Mod parameter to add audio-rate modulation and octavizing to your signal.

Finally, route the output of Lacrima Versio to the input of Toppobrillo Multifilter 2. Use the dual-input crossfading mixer with voltage-controlled gain to mix two signals. Set the Mode output to continuously-variable voltage-controlled response, switching between lowpass, bandpass (or notch), and highpass filters. Experiment with the filter frequency tracking for interesting effects, and use the dedicated "Ping" input to percuss the filter.

Playing with the parameters of these modules will allow you to create an otherworldly and unique soundscape perfect for experimental music.

Further Thoughts

To create a unique experimental soundscape, start by taking the output from the Xaoc Devices Poczdam module and using it to modulate the filter cutoff frequency on the Noise Engineering Lacrima Versio module. Use the filter's modulation parameter to add random audio-rate modulation to the signal. Next, route the output of the Lacrima Versio into the granular processor of the Noise Engineering Melotus Versio module. Use the grain control parameters to create a textured and rhythmic micro-loop. Finally, route the output of the Melotus Versio module into the Toppobrillo Multifilter 2 module's ping input to percussively filter the granular texture. Use the Multifilter 2's variable mode output to control the frequency response of the filter and experiment with different filter responses to create unique effects.