Sunday 9 May 2010

4MS RCD update & SCM preview

An overview of the updated 4MS Rotating Clock Divider and a taste of the company's next product, the Shuffling Clock Multiplier.

I liked the RCD when I first tried it, but missed the ability to output gates and, more importantly, wished it could count on the downbeat. This latest update delivers both features and makes the Rotating Clock Divider perfect.

Here are some short examples:

Downbeat counting. /1, /2 & /4 outputs drive three envelopes, Pressure Points rotates.

Similar to the above, but with gates rather than triggers.

This third recording demonstrates an interesting side effect of the way the RCD generates its gates in upbeat mode: the /1, or mult of the source clock, is inverted, resulting in a funky offbeat. The first half of the clip is upbeat the way we know and love it from the A-160 (source plus /4), the second half is the RCD. If you want a 'normal' upbeat division to play against your source, take the mult directly from your clock rather than the RCD.

Upbeat + Gate. A-160 then RCD.

I've been very lucky to have had the beta versions of the Shuffling Clock Multiplier and SCM Breakout for testing. In the past week, I've had so much fun twisting rhythms that I'm sad to have to send them back. The final feature-set and layout will likely change, so I won't go into any great detail. Suffice it to say, that rotating, shuffled clock multiplications are an even bigger hoot than divisions.

The SCM takes an incoming clock and multiplies it. These multiplications are available at separate outputs and, like the RCD, these can be rotated. The x4, x6 & x8 clocks have twin outputs, and these can be played off against each other for swing and drop-out effects. Lastly, you can also modulate the pulse width of the resulting gates.

Here are some examples of the key functions:

Left = x4, right = S(x4). Slippage altered first, then shuffle, then both. These functions are related: one determines the amount of swing, the other which beats are swung.

Same as above. Skip selects which beats are 'dropped'.

For more details on the SCM see the 4MS website and Youtube demos.

The breakout module is key as it gives you manual and CV access to these functions and, as you can tell from this final recording, makes the SCM a very playable instrument:

4ms SCM jam by navs

Two VCOs, SCM, quantizer, analogue shift register and a couple envelopes and VCAs. Sequence sent to VCO1 (left) and multed to the ASR which is clocked by the S(x4) output. The shifted clock and pitch information is sent to VCO2 (right). Manual tweaks of the clock, SCM, ASR output and quantizer scale.

Thanks to Dann of 4MS for the updated RCD - I can't wait to get my hands on the final SCM!

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