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Hands on Erica Synths Techno, a dream industrial modular

Hands on Erica Synths Techno, a dream industrial modular

The modular world is filled with concepts – but what can be the right modular idea? The Erica Synths Techno System is simply such a rare concept, modular, made on a dance flooring as a jaw for scratching, and a full vision only for elements. So we thought it deserved a true techno check drive.

Technical Module

We are one yr after the Techno debut on the Superbooth present in Berlin last yr. But when this yr's edition has brought recent fishing – just from Eric – it appears to be the correct time to take a step backwards.

As a way to really ship a know-how system, I merged with the producer Jamaica Suk. Not only has he accomplished his personal Gradient, Jamaica is a rising star on the technical scene and a place of residence within the inconceivable Pornceptual queer get together collection. (Full disclosure: we additionally share the studio. Pornceptual is scorching sufficient for its boiler room to blow out – not a joke – in Pornhub after YouTube has dropped it.)

Techno is Eurorack modular, so both are good a system you can purchase within the case we tested and a number of modules. In other phrases, you could not be capable of drop four huge gamers at this good stage, but at the similar time the Techno system shall be a nice demo for all particular person modules.

Making a "Techno System" isn’t just a advertising software. Know-how – and the associated business and EBM – may be stated to be protected behind modular progress. Modular days which are nearly noodling and jaw scratching are over; These machines pound dance floors and prime charts. And while DJs at the moment are turning to gigs with only USB sticks, the professional techno circuit, particularly in Europe, is such that at a sure point it is sensible to modify to something that looks like a real device.

Elephant Room – The Techno system is admittedly not low cost for about four giant methods. It's a steep question compared to the desktop, despite the fact that Jamaica identified to me, it compares favorably with the price of constructing my own machine – typically unloading with out something that’s terribly useful. And a few artists pay at the very least for the machine gig

For Jamaica this meant that even a small module filled with modules already value about half the worth of the Techno System. And Erica's hardware gives escape from the earlier hardware workflow – doing a lot of dive within the menu. (Jamaica in contrast the experience with the menu-oriented work that he does with the electron gear.) The one menu in the Erica rack is with the Drum sequence; this rack is greatest outfitted with knobs. And it hides repair factors, which suggests you can also make dynamic and natural and bizarre and sudden voices

So let's see if this technique has met its objectives – and if there are particular person modules, be careful on the ship

To set the temper right here dysfunction in the system like Jamaica and I met it in the studio. (My arm, if the hair did not give it away.) Mayhem and destruction? Oh yes. Wait more; I had shortly crammed my position with songs. Perhaps I'll put them out anonymously. "DEATHBL0GG3R?" "D0RKDUSTRIAL?" No?

Good System

Techno System is a set of modules for "rhythm-based music production" – think of technometers, but in fact what you do with it’s your job. On the surface, it seems quite obvious: you get the bass module, the percussion elements (kick bike, snare, Toms, clap, hats, cymbals). There are processors (two-in-one results, two-part drive). And there’s stuff to compose and put it together: a modulator, a broad sequencer, mixers and outside connectors.

As you anticipate at this worth, you get every thing – a useful patch and guide, a set of good patches, a energy supply and a fantastic rugged case. (You need to pay for an additional leather strap; we left it a bit out.) The case is strong and surprisingly convenient – you possibly can undoubtedly take it on and get round with it. (About God's love, avoiding baggage.)

The factor is that the description feels like vanilla – and this beast is the other of vanilla. The Latvian builder, Erica, has penetrated into this widespread, raging, violent aesthetic of the Soviet Union. Listed here are simply a lot of technical details that give this module a unique character.

And it's clear immediately. For the primary time I noticed it alive, as a result of the sweaty Erica subsidiary and the producer Kodek in Riga destroyed the dance flooring with it. It's not just an emergency – there's a particular purpose why Erica has acquired this voice. Module by module (and admittedly I looked at this after enjoying with it – like "why the cage sounds crazy!":

Heart of sound: distinctive, brutal mixture of bass and drums

Bassline. The oscillator is a new model of Doug Curtis' legendary CEM3340 analog oscillator, recognized for its basic Oberheim, Korg Mono / Poly and Poly synthesizers, Roland SH-101 and Jupiter-6. Alfa, who has made his personal version in Latvia

Erica's genius stroke combines this three-wave oscillator with a transistor-based alioscillator, extra bass and their very violent Acidbox-style filter, in addition to a detune that isn’t really a detune, however two buckets Bringing the brigade into the brigade, what you get from the robust brewing leads to j a bass strains that can go into full spectrum from melody to noise, and a filter / detune mixture that makes it an absolute piercing for individuals in the intestine. And it is sensible in a modular sense, because all that insanity permits itself to repair, from the enter of the frequency modulation to the filter modulation

Nevertheless, I need to speak concerning the different module.

Bass Drum. Briefly "ass drum." Freudian slip. Sure, this provides you the basic pot sounds. Again, Erica worked right here magically here – depth of tuning and tuning guides are very satisfying, you get Drive, if this factor isn't dirty enough for you, and loads of CV.

snare. Snare is probably not a hero on this rack – Jamaica has even put it on hats. So although Erica calls this "909-inspired", it's really fun to make full use of the noise and "Snappy" management and patch in the CV, which makes this a more versatile impression module.

clap. In truth, Toms and Clap are the only specific vanilla modules – they are typical toms and clap circuits, just filled with loadability, including accents. However right here's the advantage of modular buying – you don't have to go away them usually. Each sound good; I simply hope that Toms had some more control or selection, perhaps more of the chosen analogue toms. (Decay is 370 ms – 955 ms, which in apply means you don't contact this button much.) Place it and overlook the modules, however they are great.

Hi-Hats D, Cymbals. These are PCM-based, however they move by means of a voltage-controlled amplifier that has a darkish, aggressive Erica envelope sound again. This time, Erica is working again with the Latvian producer Alfari for the 3330 VCA circuit model – and then adds their "I is a sweaty warehouse rave" body. (Perhaps I'll predict.) For those who depart them normal and don't dig them, they will additionally go for a little vanilla. But each have a twist. The hat module opens the sleeves that may virtually sound like a unique degeneration. There are ten customized collision and driving samples in the Kymbals – and mixed with CV-patching and decay controls, comparable to a lanyard, you possibly can abuse cymbals as a module for things that sound like nothing like driving.

Sample drum. We’ve acquired our Techno system for supply without Sample Drumia, but it’s a valid module inside or outdoors this technique – a fairly primary instance of sample repetition in Eurorack. There’s a hole in our system … however greater than a pattern drum is a place the place you possibly can add unique Erica sound together with your further instruments.

The sequencer acts as the guts of the system – quick-start controls with push sensors and buttons and plenty of repair points

Sequencing and workflow

So it covers the sound – and you may choose solely your favorite modules and drop them into the rack. But the Techno system part is actually to persistently combine the sound engine for modulation, mixing, and sequencing

The drum sequencer is generally placed on the stroke elements inside the rack, so when you’ll be able to repair the drum shortly once more.

Drum Sequencer. One Erica concept I needed to think about – a sequencer makes use of a numeric keypad that looks like a basic IBM keyboard with LED indicators behind – an immediate four × four grid. No velocity sensitivity, nevertheless it's not likely what this brutal machine is. Every little thing else is selectable with some (principally) intuitive set off buttons and two push sensors. After you’ve gotten gone by means of the enclosed guide, you will discover the job actually quick, all of the expected primary figures – set the last step per poly, set the sequence play modes (again / ahead / pingpong / random), copy

Thus far this seems like a common sequence, however Drum The modular aspect of Sequencer provides you 16 full-featured triggers and 12 accents. Highlights are literally what it takes to make more dynamic productions – so that Erica can even ask you within the documentation to not overlook them.

There’s also a personal CV / gate. You possibly can map the quantity to one of many fastened levels and modes, play or play melodies at the gate. It might be a melody to Bassline or one thing else. (Typically I discovered myself utilizing the Bassline CV modulator.)

Erica has additionally included two LFO modules that add LFO outputs of the modulator module. These LFOs are optionally tempo-synchronized, so you’ll be able to shortly create rhythmic LFOs instantly from the sequence. It is hidden in some menus behind the encoders.

If all of those triggers are smart in case you are on the lookout for it in a modular equipment larger than the drum sequence, however it seems a little unbalanced with the Techno system. I might love to sacrifice some of these sixteen launchers and twelve accents for one CV / gateway or other LFO.

All in all, nevertheless, working in this unit could be very fast and pleasant

Finally, the numeric keypad is one thing helpful – making a technical account as an alternative of creating accounts

Erica has carried out a lot with the hardware since its launch, together with including musical features (corresponding to a CV slide, gateway , copy area, automated copying beams, and so on.) and tons of fixes. Verify the entire change:

Modulator. This module is completely vital – otherwise you don’t want such a modular system first. There are two unbiased LFOs with morphized type (including noise waveforms) and part / ascent / envelope controls. You possibly can synchronize them with an external clock – right here it signifies that attaching the drum sequence to them is probably – whereby the velocity controllers share or tell the clock signal. Or you need to use them freely, regardless that I’ve little time to vary the variable areas. Each LFO has intelligently both outputs and part shifts, and you may join LFO2 to LFO1, but still use a velocity selector as a divider

In all probability this complicated component is a triple RISE / PHASE management that defines the envelope drop time and part shift and filter off. (The truth is, it is up to 4 occasions the perform, because there are both high and low cross filters.) However in apply a few of these controls enjoy the finish to fret and check out, so they are organized in the best way

Twin Drive. Need more distortion? You'll get extra distortions – three additional overflow flavors in each of the two unbiased circuits that have a really versatile fix. In the event you haven't obtained it but, sure, Erica is about industrial, distorted, concrete shakes. "Dual" can also be proper – if you do not right the second revenue, these two distortions will work in the collection. (Hey, dawg, I heard you need to distort…)

Twin FX. That is a large influence, however here I need to have a little OLED – its energy is essentially hidden. The push encoder hides numerous delays (mono / stereo / high-pass), reverb, another distortion, referred to as a Ripper, and a unique dual-height transducer. There’s also a recording perform that lets you retailer the parameters at every energy. The effect sounds unbelievable, but in addition fantastically confusing – Eric's only suggestions is in binary LEDs.

The savvy grace of Twin FX is that it sounds very costly, although there’s a fairly traditional Spin FV-1 digital chip inside. And get two CV feeds to repair. But I feel this module is to be reconsidered. This will partly be my own impartiality – I feel the whole hardware module point ought to give us intuitive sensible control, we don't take away the helpful visual suggestions from digital units and packages.

Mixers. Rounding up the Techno system is very useful mixers – and if Erica introduces her strategy to aggressive envelopes and loud voices right here, they show that they will also make issues workable and sensible. At first it seems a bit unusual that you simply get a stereo mixer, a 7-input drum mixer and a 6-feed "Mixer Lite". But in follow, the association adapts to totally different uses.

The 7-feed drum mixer pulls neatly into a percussion band with a vactrol-based compressor. And you may ship to the community or aux broadcasts. The Mixer Lite provides you kind of the identical concept in a smaller 6-input model

With a stereo mixer, as advertised, you possibly can place a stereo area but in addition embrace versatile routing and inner restriction.

The blending and routing modules show you how to integrate the Techno system into another studio or stay system.

As a outcome, you’ll be able to easily compose a mixture of percussion devices for both direct performance and manufacturing. Truly it even tells us that each Jamaica and I favored it. He had a configuration that worked properly together with his outboard engine, hardware-based; I had assemblies that work properly in computing a pc field and making stems. And once we needed to get caught in life, the separate mixers additionally worked properly.

Certainly, the only challenge is to seek out out if you wish to re-arrange them in the rack as a result of the blending element is if you attempt to cease the bundle of cable spaghetti. So I would like Erica to normalize the outputs with the sequence, and then just skip this conduct.

But at the least, if plainly Erica simply crammed the rack with each mixer module they make (which was truthfully a sort of kneejerk my first impression), it's under no circumstances; this grouping makes a lot of sense.

outdoors world. I anticipate many people to make use of this rack alongside the computer, so it's value noting that the Drum sequence has a MIDI input that you need to use on the clock. It saves a costlier arrangement. The Hyperlink module also offers convenient full-size connectors that dampen the outgoing signal.


A modular system that already has ideas on methods to use it might sound like anachronism. However in apply it’s more than that. Here is a natural workflow. Drum with drums with a drum sequence, route a few accents and triggers so as to add some spices. Join the modulator to the Bassline gadget on the FM gadget and name the uneven timbre, after which tune the filter envelope so that it rotates towards the drums. Add drive and effects to percussion until it sounds dangerous.

A part of what I consider Eric is that they come from a specific context – each engineering and musical. Know-how has grown from a legacy that has remained in one of the former Soviet manufacturing facilities, a city with a lot of noise in the Communist period. They usually've additionally joined former East heavy heavy industrial warehouse-friendly music, and… properly all of us with comparable natural tendencies.

So I like to recommend that I hear the Techno system, whether you're going to purchase it. The sum of these elements is absolutely something greater – this thing hums and breathes and breaks and bangs around and spits huge noise like exhausts. Typically we decided to save lots of the occasional accidents that came out once we stopped the transport. That is a type of songs that really feel alive.

Once I targeted loudly, Jamaica targeted on ergonomics. Problems brought on by repeated stress make it troublesome to use the pc for a very long time – and even hardware menus may be painful, literally. He says that the Techno system has helped him work better, and meaning more musical productivity


The Techno system is a luxurious product, little question. I am glad that one has lived in the studio. (Thank you, Jamaica.) If you would like a complete view of percussion, modulation, sequencing and killer bass, and that is on your price range, it's a lovely selection. In fact, we aren’t within the superb worth range for what you’ll do on the instrument.

It’s just as essential that the Techno system represents the lens of how a modular system might be consistent and supply new concepts. And it may well also apply to common genres, not just experimental ones.

I feel it’s value truly supporting some modules – which exhibits the concept a good approach to promote particular person modules is to provide them a broader context. (That is something that Erica has carried out in a few different ways – aside from to a giant extent with historical techniques.) I wouldn't thoughts seeing more of these within the form of a desktop, which could make Erica familiar.

Bassline is just a genius. I just buy a little skiff with it. Dual Drive can also be a useful approach so as to add signature Erica distortion. And to stick to the programming of Twin FX aside, there actually is not any group.

In fact, modular work is on the expense. I feel software program and desktop methods should proceed to regulate such hand controls, but apply the modularity that copies this entry with out wires. (Sure, they nonetheless combine and stop at the improper size.)

So can you employ cheaper gear, software, non-modular stuff, battery-powered stuff? In fact! And a few of us ought to actually continue this route. What comforts the Techno system exhibits that a modular route can also be a self-evident voice, character and utility. It's not simply a fetish. Whether you’re buying this rack or not, anyone who loves the sound will in all probability respect that it exists. And it’s a good sign of maturing music know-how.

More videos…

Want extra? Take a look at these:

A very nice voice presentation from Eric, who really represents the system:

We didn't yet have the prospect to completely check the model drum module added to the Techno system, however first the impressions are nice. The following is a demonstration:

And while it is an earlier model of the machine, you get a full extended blockage of Erica's "garage" straight play:

https: // www.

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