Materia

Photo of Materia

Materia by Arius Blaze.

Release date: 09-17-2014

Price: $1250

Waiting period: 1 to 3 weeks

The breakout is sold seperately

Note that the videos below are my first experience with the three of these instruments together. Only Aether and Materia are actually producing audio - Mentalis is providing function to Materia but the audio element of that instrument is still being prototyped. You may find a few of these videos...slow...So flip through them if you need to. I have no doubt that as I have more time with them, I'll discover a broad range of possibilities that even I, being the instrument designer, didn't realize existed. There may be more videos in the future.

Finally, there's also a general aquatic life theme happening.

So it goes.

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There have been some changes to the final design that aren't reflected in the photos and video. They are as follows;

All instruments within the Triad and modular extentions of the Triad will have 1/8" input/output jacks - not 1/4". All CV and clocks will have banana jacks, not 1/8". Ports and connectors will be added to the final boxes to fascillitate future modules. If you're conemplating getting materia or aether, please consider these changes. Images will be added when the opportunity arises.

There is also the breakout attachment which will be available seperately to Materia owner. Shown in images, info to come. It is not included when you buy the Materia.

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Let me preface this desription by saying that Materia is an inherently noisy instrument at first (unpatched) listen. The touch plates are unshielded sources of all variety of noise, after all. It was in the development of this instrument, however, that the noise was put fourth intentionally - as when it was eliminated the sound was much less interesting and had much less depth. In a sense, a part of Materia's sound is "patched out", which is to say that it's presented as a partial negative...like painting white on black, if you will.

As the sequencer is patched and driven, the sound and noise is broken into new pieces which become the driving force behind the odd little beats and basslines it makes as well as the way the touch plates interface with Aether to create sequenced filtering. The negative is broken into rhythmic pieces which are neatly integrated with the positive to create something different. If you don't like weird noise, this instrument may not be for you.

 

Also, it should be said that Materia and Mentalis (Mentalis far more so) are a DIY synthesis experience. I would encourage any player to find new ways to patch and play these pieces. While it can and is as simple as plugging one thing into another and getting fine results, experimenting with electronic components, piezos (which are naturally amplified and filtered by patching them directly into the patchbay), styli (from patchbay to touchplates), photocells, plants, fishtanks or any other form of conductivity is highly encouraged and will bring fourth a new world of possibilities and a greater depth to the sound. Just the same, given how they are designed, the three of these instruments could very easily be the sound engine for any of a hundred forms of sound installation without ever having the need to actually dig into the circuitry.

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Materia is an analog synthesizer which, as a standalone instrument is capable of creating odd beats and noise as well as heavy drone or rhythmic lead. It is also the rhythmic hub of a triad of instruments all designed to work together, expanding the possibilties of the others while also having its own possibilties expanded.

For use with the Aether, it allows the analog oscillators of Aether to travel through the body of the player and into the circuitry of Materia where it's manipulated by touch. Specifically, Materia acts as a deep and rich multidimensional analog filter, overdrive and noise that greatly expands the sound of Aether. Materia also has two sequencers, one of which is specifically designed to control Aether. 

The Materia patchbays are breadboard style. I will provide patch cables in either "all colors of the rainbow" or "black" upon request (rainbow if you say nothing). The patch cables are called "Dupont", are rather cheap, come is a variety of lengths and a variety of M/F configurations and can be plugged into eachother to creat longer cables. They are small but they're incredibly handy.  If one wanted to fashion a larger external patchbay, Dupont cables come in widths of ribbon and plug directly into the patchbay so all one needs to do to exapnd without harming the original instrument, is to wire it out to an external box. No soldering.

There are three patchbays; Two represent 8 sequencer parts and sequencer mains and the larger bay represents access to the circuitry as well as sequenced voltage control.. Mentalis having the same patchbays representing its own circuitry and perhaps of equal importance are the connections to knob control and modulation. 

More specifically, the Materia patchbay connects directly to the Mentalis patchbays to work in the following ways;

- allowing the Mentalis to be triggered by the sequencer of Materia

- allowing Mentalis to have the synthesis altered by connecting into the circuitry of Materia and vice versa

- allowing Materai to utilize the patchable knobs and modulation of Mentalis

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Two touch plates (each with 12 responsive touch pads) of Materia can be used standalone to create tones and subtle oscillations, synthesis and noise. The patch cables connected to the main board can be used as styli to connect with the touch plates as well, resulting in drastic and subtle changes to the synthesis - some changes of which are mirrored on the patchbay. In fact, all points not represented within the patchbay could just as easily form a patchbay of their own. If the player considers using pieces of metal connected by wire, one can see that a conceptual patchbay is in fact already atop the instrument.

Materia features two independant sequencers driven by one master clock (internal or external), each of which can then divide the clock signal by 5 times. Each clock also providesa clock out so a player can divide external clock signals as well. The clock input can accept the clock signal from Aether to synchronize the two.

- The CV sequencer sends CV out to Aether to control the global pitch, or back into the Materia patchbay to control internal synthesis and beats. This allows for more broken beats. Additionally, the CV can be sent directly to Mentalis to control the synthesis and synchronize with Aether or, obviously it controls anything that accepts CV. 0-5v adjustable via 8 knobs representing each of the 8 parts.

- The 8 part trigger sequencer runs to the patchbay and is made to trigger any of the internal synthesis of Materia for bass, click and cut beats, oddities and noise. Parts that cut the internal synthesis also cut the sound of Aether through the hands, which further synchronizes things.

- The patchbay has 17 points, patchable via supplied cables. Direct patching can be done to create drone and enhance a sequence. Trim pots, resistors, photocells, capacitors or any other electronic component can be added to alter the sound and a variety of these things is included with Mentalis, where the removable patchbay can be used to create little circuits for either intrument. Likewise, the triggers or synthesis patching of Materia can be sent to the patchbays of Mentalis allowing the player to use the modulation or patchable knobs of Mentalis. Patching Materia and Mentalis together further deepens possibilities with synthesis and both analog synth circuits are designed to patch together. Mentalis' removable patchbay acts as a sort of memory board.

- CV input accepts CV output from the touch pads of Aether as well. The two outputs allow for a dry signal as well as one that can be sent into the input of Aether to use Aethers effects. Aethers internal synthesis can be mixed as you like with the Materia signal.

To clarify;

- Aether oscillators pass through hands without audio cable.

- Aether CV controls Materia synthesis.

- Materia sequencing controls Aether, which is synchronized to Materia triggering but which can run on different timing.

- Materia can send Aether's sound back into Aether to use effects and mix with or without unaltered internal synthesis.

- Materia triggers Mentalis synthesis and travels through Mentalis circuitry to create new sounds.

- Mentalis accepts patching from Materia and allows the use of either modulation or any 4 patchable knobs.It also contains a removable patchbay to create a primitive memory for either or both Mentalis and Materia.

- Mentalis has a single touch plate which offers filtering, overdrive, etc. (similar to Materia) of Aether synthesis which also runs through the hands.

All three instruments can have power jumpered so only one supply is necessary. Mentalis is the power hub.

custom switches, touchplates and keys, bamboo box. 12v power.

 

Patch cables are supplied and come in all black or all colors of the rainbow. Please specify which you'd like.



 

Video





standalone, basic simplest patches for lil beats