Permeance is modular synthesizer patch that straddles the rapidly fading line drawn between recorded, real-world sound and synthesized, abstract sound. Modular setups (“synthesizers”), once used only to synthesize sound, now have the capability to employ real-worlds. Permeance undermines the real world connections of recorded sounds, and in turn, resynthesizes our understanding of them.
The entire patch is clocked by a low frequency sine wave that is modulated by several sources, including feedback. This LFO controls the speed of two randomized control voltage generators, one of which receives an inverted version of the signal. Each of these CV generators controls a “pole” of the patch, which is active when the sine wave is positive. Thus, only one pole is active when the LFO is at an extreme.
Pole one is composed of the granularly synthesized real-world that is then filtered and sent through a heavily modulated delay line. This pole is mostly oriented towards a subtractive approach, where the filter is used to parse the steady stream of grains. I found this to be more effective than introducing silence into the granular sounds, as the created sonic objects with filters had a more defined physicality.
Pole two is composed of two voices: a spectrally-filtered textured noise signal and an enveloped, digitally-emulated band-passed saw wave generator. The filtered noise is quantized to Pauline Oliveros’s Alpha Scale, which partitions the perfect fifth into nine equal parts (resulting in roughly a 15 note scale with no perfect octaves). This has excellent harmonics that are imitative of metal’s overtone series and avoids using Western temperament.
Interdependence is created in the relations between each set of voices. The delay line that follows the granular synthesis is modulated by the random voltage source of the opposing generator. This opposing generator modulates the rhythmic parameters of the synthesized sounds. In doing so, each voice relies on the other for change. This is necessary both to the conceptual drive of the patch, as well as organizing sound in time.
Every sound in this patch is created through analog synthesis ran through digital processing! The patch was inspired by the recently passed Don Buchla—the primary oscillator that I used is a circuit originally designed by him—as well as early synthesized music composers.
g0 + Arp 2600 + Buchla 200 series