Residentie Richard Devine: Modular Madness

Producing music by connecting plugs and cords with various modules? It sounds like a strange method. Music is currently digital and is easily made by laptop and software programs. On your screen you can see the sounds waves changing when you press a couple of buttons. You can open and close virtual faders and before you know it, you’ve got a track.

Richard Devine (1977, Atlanta) is an American music producer who thinks that this way of producing music leads to boring tracks: “I was working in the digital domain for so long, I almost got burned out on it. Basically everything’s calculated, everything’s perfect, everything’s coded. If there’s any sort of deviation or randomness you have to actually program that randomness into the computer yourself, whereas on the modular it’s kind of an open game.”

Devine is taking a different approach. He often goes to hardware stores and buys the most diverse parts to build his own modular synthesizer: an enormous cabinet with bright lights and several in- and outputs for plugs. By connecting the cords to different modules, the sounds emerging from the inside of the cabinet change.

Richard Devine in Utrecht
Studio Stekker has succeeded in bringing Richard Devine to Utrecht. In the week prior to the Studio Stekker Festival, he shared his expertise with various music makers in Kytopia.

On Wednesday, July 22, he gave a lecture in ‘t Hoogt in which he explained why and how he makes modular music. A report of this will be published later.

Modulation

On Friday, July 24th Kytopia was the centre of modular synthesizers. Sonar Traffic, with Studio Stekker and Kytopia, organized the special event Modulation: an exposition accessible to the public in Kytopia, with four figureheads of modular music on the programme. Falafelbiels opened the evening with an abstract set, after which Mark Verbos (US) played minimal techno music. Richard Devine began his concert with a waterfall of separate sounds that eventually coalesced into a nice groove.

Colin Benders finished off the evening with his first appearance ever on the modular synthesizer in public. He played short, melodic songs with an orchestral sound.

About Studio Stekker
During the week before Studio Stekker Festival thirty artists specialized in electronic music settled in Kytopia to join forces and produce new music. Besides electronic producers there were musicians who work with classical music, jazz or pop. In the studio week, Richard Devine was a musician, with whom the present musicians enjoyed talking and working together.The resulting tracks are presented on Studio Stekker Festival on 25th July in the Voorveldse Polder, but during the Studio Stekker week there are several public activities.

Lodewijk Rondeboom from Vers Vermaak (the organization behind Studio Stekker) is pleased with Richard Devine’s visit: “During the week before Studio Stekker Festival at least 30 musicians will produce new music in extraordinary collaborations. The presence of Richard Devine will reinforce the power of the new tracks. With this project we hope that Utrecht becomes the city where modular music was established.”

Pitto, producer of Studio Stekker: “I once saw Colin Benders talk through Skype to several pioneers in the modular synthesizer business. It wasn’t long until I lost track of what they were talking about, but I could clearly see how passionate they were about this type of electronic music. It’s great that we can show this to our public now!”

Local news blog De Utrechtse Internet Courant (DUIC) made this report about the Studio Stekker week:

 

Studio Stekker made its own daily reports: