The story

(I have begun the procedure, but in the meantime you can listen to some quick demos here: )

There are many hidden realms in this world. Many indeed…

As it is described on the Soma Labs website, “ETHER is a kind of anti-radio”, save that it listens to everything, RF and radiation, without tuning, with the quite capricious habit of magically focusing on a source, sometimes. Well, as I was testing ETHER’s powers, exploring the hidden realms of my home town, this is exactly what happened: I sat down near a fountain to look at my bag, and voilĂ !

What you will hear is the sound of about 30 pumps well underground, working either alone or together. I admit, it was not easy to focus on the notes, given the amount of interferences coming from the pumps themselves, but tamed as (I think) they are, in the end, it works quite well!

I have spread the samples across 3 Modes:

Mode 1 is Digital Sea, a little world of electromagnetic interferences, with 5 buttons that allow you to activate more layers;

Mode 2 is Soft(ish), a “softer” series of sounds more suited for accompaniment;

Mode 3 is Rise and Fall, a quicker attack that can be used more easily for melody 1 button that lets you switch between a rising and a falling attack for certain notes.

The effects are simple:

– A 1sec delay
– Wave-shaper distortion
– 100Hz high-pass filter for the rumble
– 12kHz low-pass filter for the sparkle
– Standard reverb

*The effects have fixed values in order to induce a certain form of creative adaptation, the idea being to be forced to learn to swim in the ocean you have just fallen into, but the settings are approximate.If you find other, more suitable settings, let me know and I will change them.
**The first 5 buttons on the left (left to right, top to bottom) are related to the 1st Mode only, the 6th to the 2nd Mode. All 6 buttons on the right control the effects and the release time for all 3 Modes.

BEWARE THE CHAOS!!! This knob is linked to the delay feedback, the filters’ resonances and the reverb room size. When all (or even some of) the effects are enabled, it can be very easy to lose control of the volume. But, if you push it to the end, it becomes a very interesting, infinite soundscape! For safe ears, I recommend setting the knob at about 80%: find a sound that you like (with a 1sec or 2sec release), and slowly turn the knob to its maximum as you let go of the keys. The result is much softer.

This instrument is definitely not traditional, but it can be quite musical. It also handles well from a sound design perspective.Let me know if you encounter any problems.

Happy exploration!


The Stranger


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