Fifty Spielsachen: Personal Picks

I did the first video of a performance using modular things in October 2017, and the first one under the Spielsachen (German for “toys”) moniker in March 2018.

Selection Criteria

Videos that showcase interesting development steps, or fun things, or are just nice to listen to (in my opinion – they’re personal picks, after all). Also, I avoided videos that went into the Würm Bank album – no need to include them here.

As for the number of videos – I consciously did avoid deciding on a “Top 10” or whatever in advance. It’s about the videos that are nice. That being said, I tried to make it a somewhat limited number.

Incidentally, I ended up with exactly ten videos, anyway.

Do you want to question my choices? Feel free to go through the entire playlist right here. And if you find something that caters more to your interests, tell us in the comments.

[2] “für das Mädel das fällt”

Video number two means it was an early one, and was dedicated to one of my early modular discussion partners on twitter. Effects processors were digital, the Monster Base wasn’t in place, and the sequencing options were very basic. Still: fun!

[8] Le Culchranque

Around September 2018, the big pieces were in place. This is one of the first performances to make use of the proper Spielsachen rig – and a nice on as I see it.

[16] Bathing in Green Jelly

Among those preferred choices, this is the only one with a proper ambient/drone kind of vibe. Maybe I’m not good at this. Maybe I don’t like this.

[18] Dreck

What was intended as a demo for the Synthrotek DiRT filter (which is more of a multiplier/waveshaper than a filter) turned into a pretty nicely-grooving track.

[26] Hüllkurvengaudi

Sometime in August 2019, I stated in a twitter discussion that a quad envelope would be all you need as a CV/gate source for an ambient/drone kind of track.

Is it true? The answer is in the video (featuring the Doepfer A-143-2).

[29] Song from another Mother

There is one reason for this video being there: as of writing this, it has the most views of any Spielsachen video. Why? I guess because it has “Moog” in the title – those always draw in a lot of viewers.

[31] Cozy

One of the larger setup, this one has both SQ-1s and both channels of René firing up various things. As the video comment says “it gets a little boring at times”, but that is part of the fun.

[38] Alexander’s Subbass Theorem

One implementation of the compact setup I designed around 12/19. This one contains the Roland MC-707, Novation Bass Station II, Zoom G3, Folktek Mescaline and a NiftyCase full of modules. It’s ambient dub maybe? I like it a lot.

[45] Chip Selectah

A pretty similar setup to the last one, this makes use of the MC-707’s software update. All motifs come from old (and new) chiptune classics, except for one bassline borrowed from Bird.

[50] Five Shinobi (work in progress)

I started working on this nearly two years ago, then decided that it would be a drag with the setup I had back then. I approached the piece anew recently (it being the 50th video in the series was pure coincidence), but still didn’t complete it. I still like the piece (which is a cover), and also how the MPC One integrates into the strictly-analogue-synth setup as a sequencer.

Thoughts

Since the start of Spielsachen, we’ve seen a total of 50 videos in 28 months. Some months were very productive with four videos, some did not result in a video at all (although the latter hasn’t happened in the last year).

There have been spontaneous “wire things up and go wild” videos, as well as performances that were meticulously planned and prepared. There was a lot of musical genres, and a lot of pieces of gear to go with it. There were videos that only used analogue modules, and there were those that almost didn’t use any module at all.

For me, this series is going to continue for the time being. What will the next video be? I have no idea.

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