Exploring the Creative Possibilities: A Review of the Nonlinear Circuits Cellular Automata Eurorack Module

If you are looking for a versatile pattern generator that can produce unique musical patterns, the Nonlinear Circuits Cellular Automata Eurorack Module is definitely worth considering. This module is a 16-cell gate and pattern generator that uses cellular automata rules 90 and 150 and requires a clock signal and a signal on one of the seed inputs to start a new process or modify the current one.

One of the most fascinating things about this module is its creative potential. The Cellular Automata module comes with three CV outputs, two of which are based on what is happening on each half of the circuit, while the other reflects the pattern created by the active cells. Each cell also has its gate output, providing even more possibilities.

Admittedly, the Cellular Automata module is a challenging build, and it doesn't use microprocessors. Instead, it relies on CMOS chips and op amps, making this module a delightful choice for those who are interested in old-school electronics. The modules come in two versions, the fully assembled one priced at USD 280 and the partially assembled PCB set priced at USD 25.

While the Cellular Automata module requires some effort to build, the results are worth it. This module is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a pattern generator that provides myriad creative possibilities. It is a unique and useful module that can add depth and complexity to any setup.

Example Usage

If you're new to the Nonlinear Circuits Cellular Automata Eurorack module, a great way to start exploring its creative possibilities is to use it as a gate sequencer. Connect a clock source to the clock input, and start experimenting with the seed inputs to create different patterns on the 16 cell grid. Each active cell will send a gate signal, so you can use those outputs to trigger other modules in your system. You can also use the CV outputs to modulate other parameters based on the active cells' patterns. Don't be afraid to try out different clock rates and seed inputs to discover new and interesting rhythmic sequences!

An intermediate-level usage example of the Nonlinear Circuits Cellular Automata Eurorack module is using it to create complex and evolving drum patterns. By connecting the gate outputs of each cell to different drum modules, such as a kick, snare, and hi-hat, and setting the clock rate to a moderately fast tempo, you can create intricate and constantly changing drum patterns that add depth and interest to your electronic compositions. Using the CV outputs to modulate parameters of other modules, such as the filter cutoff or oscillator pitch, can further expand the creative possibilities of this module.

Further Thoughts

The Nonlinear Circuits Cellular Automata Eurorack module is a powerful pattern generator module that allows for the creation of complex and evolving patterns through the use of cellular automata rules 90 & 150. One creative way to use this module is to use it as a source of rhythmic variation. By assigning each cell to a different rhythm or pattern, you can create unique rhythmic variations that evolve over time, adding interest and complexity to your tracks. Additionally, the module's three CV outputs allow for further modulation possibilities, so you can further customize and tweak your patterns to suit your needs. This module's versatility and creative potential make it a must-have for any eurorack system.