A New Modular Electronic Music SystemTheseus is a modular platform for generating musical and visual compositions. Building on the Eurorack analog synthesizer standard, the platform uses 3.5mm patch cables to interconnect modules. However, unlike the Eurorack standard, Theseus is entirely digital and produces MIDI/OSC control messages rather than CV signals. This simplification in fidelity greatly reduces the cost and complexity of the electronic circuits, making patch cable systems more accessible to users. Thirteen modules were designed to demonstrate the potential of such a platform.
Life OrangesLife Oranges is the main trigger and gate signal generator for Theseus. The module produces five square waves. The topmost controller determines a main frequency. The remaining four channels produce signals at varying divided rates of the main frequency. The value of the divisor is set by a corresponding rotary controller.
Divided signals are crucial in developing rhythmic patterns, syncing modules, and offsetting sequences. Life Oranges works well with the Muxquencer, Boolean Logic Matrix, and Mandalatron modules.
Don’t Care NowDon't Care Now is a three channel square wave generator with inputs for frequency modulation. The switch located on each channel toggles between coarse and fine frequency adjustments.
Wavefriends & FriendshaperWavefriends takes the four output channels of Friendshaper and pairs them together. These paired signals are averaged or multiplied to create a summed waveform as an output. The final rotary controller determines the ratio of how much either waveform is present. This can be used to create interesting waveforms or as a mixing tool to smoothly transition between two waveforms.
Ripple Me TimbersRipple Me Timbers is one of the more complex modules in Theseus. It records incoming waveforms and plays them back at a reduced speed. The playback speed is determined by a divided frequency rate. The result is a rhythmic harmonic of the input signal. An offset controller on each channel sets the starting point of each sample in relation to the original.
MuxquencerThe Muxquencer is a union between a step sequencer and a multiplexer. Four binary selection bits are used to pick one of the sixteen steps to be routed to the module’s output. The order of the selection inputs can be permutated. Blue LEDs indicate the original selection while green LEDs represent the permutation. This allows the same information to create two entirely different pattern sets. The permutation controller is also voltage controllable; feedback from the Muxquencer's values can be used to alter its own pattern.
MandalatronMandalatron is a four channel ten step sequencer. Each channel possesses the same values set by the ten central rotary controllers, but with isolated clocks and sequence lengths. When the clock input is triggered, the sequence will advance by one step and reset to the first step at the point designated by the sequence length controller.
EyesFire Emblem, a 2003 Gameboy Advance Game from Nintendo and Intelligent Systems, features a collection of heavily armored warriors engaging in combat to save their world from the forces of evil. In cut scenes between combat events, four characters are presented from the chest up with text bubbles above whoever is speaking. During these scenes, characters will blink intermittently. These blinking events are the driving force behind the Eyes modules.
An hour long portion of the game was recorded using screen capture software. Processing was then used to count the milliseconds between each character's blinks to produce a data table. This data table was then uploaded as firmware to the Eyes module. The blinking LEDs are perfect copies of the original blinks found in the game.