Mudlogger - In Blue (Serge Modular album)

Sounding crisp and good! Can you talk more about the inspiration behind it and how that translated to the music? Is the influence combined in each or are some Thai and some English?


this is great! i know very very little about serge synthesizers, but this has really piqued my interest. such interesting tones. cheers!

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I always work with systems, I very deliberately do not mix them. So I am a bit of a purist when it comes to modular stuff as I think mixing them takes away something of their individual tonal character. So I will make a Eurorack album (Monome/Whimsical Raps), a Buchla Easel album (Touch Activated - ), Ciat Lonbarde albums (as Hoan Kiem Chess Team ) a 200e album. I have been concentrating on my Eurorack stuff all of last year as I was playing gigs using that monome / isms system . So the Serge had been neglected and it was the one system that I hadn’t sat down and took the time to make an album with. I wanted to take a break from Euro. All my modular stuff is in separate cases in cupboards. I don’t leave it all out in the open, because of the climate and humidity here in Thailand, and tend to work on song writing more in the winter months.

David Bloor (Dirch Blewn) in January, sent me a copy of an unreleased Ciat Lonbarde album he had just finished. It was really inspiring. Because of that, I started working on a Plumbutter album and completed another Chess Team album with it (not released yet). Ciat Lonbarde stuff is basically boxes stuffed full of Serge circuits, usually with weird additional twists, because the designer, Peter Blasser is nutty genius . So after that, I thought I would work with Serge again. Soundwise i wanted to explore the more timbral aspects that makes Serge unique. I love looping envelopes, the tension and instability of analogue circuits and CV recursive feedback, audio feedback. Its semi random. I didn’t use conventional oscillators and FM’d more with pink and white noise and used the wave multipliers, frequency shifters, audio feedback and ring modulators more, to create a tone which was manipulated. Envelopes and filters frequently go in and out of audio range. I pushed it to extremes, as Serge behaves really interestingly to me, at the extremes where sounds break up. The circuits do weird things. Touch control is also important to me, to put my character into songs. All the patches have direct input for me to play and intervene to add a human element. It’s the type of music I listen to, not all the time, but as a change from the norm. Also I think, you don’t find too many people making this kind of stuff anymore. There are so few people making Serge albums compared to Buchla or Eurorack albums. I definitely look up to people like Todd Barton (his Aleph and Krell patches, Rastko (check out his Serge feedback patches on Vimeo and this video ) and also more importantly David Tudor for his work with recursive feedback It’s deliberately an experimental album that I’ve always wanted to make. The other thing that is really important to me is the way I played and recorded it. I wrote about the way I work here Executing the modular album

The inspiration is both Thai and English. The song names relate to aspects of life where I live in Thailand and England. The name “In Blue” comes actually from the Serge itself and the winter weather here in Thailand - the 2 main STS panels I used are called Blue Voice and Blue CV It was also made in the cooler winter months - November to February and that is pretty much crystal clear blue skies here. It’s also a time when the farmers have cut the rice and start to plant cassava and start tapping the rubber during the nighttime. So the album is a winter rural seasonal change thing.

The song titles, although just names, have meaning and a little bit dark. I won’t go through every one as it would be too long. Here’s a couple.

Tapper, relates to tapping rubber. My brother in law is rice farmer and also taps rubber in the nighttime. Before they tap rubber, at the beginning of the dry season, they will hold a ceremony in the rubber plantation, usually in the morning, with all the family attending. Basically for luck. I did goto one and it was kind of surreal and creepy, like some David Lynch movie. Here’s a photo I put on Instagram - The actual price of rubber crashed a few years ago. They still tap, but get very little money for it, as they take a cut of what they tap. Tapping also has connotations with the insurgency troubles in South Thailand were most rubber is produced. With many people getting killed from roadside bombs or being found dead in the back of rubber plantations. So there is a bit of a sinister connection with that title.

The name “Pay Day” has an interesting story. It’s about electioneering and corruption in Thai politics. What happens in the rural poor areas, in the run up to elections, the local candidates will take out huge loans. With that loan money, they give it out to the head of a family in a village to distribute it within the family, on the hope and promise that they get their vote. Another candidate from another party may find out about this, and secretly give the same family, more money than the previous candidate. It doesn’t really matter because, all the families here pretty much vote the same way. For the socialist guy (Red shirts), that promises the highest pay/subsidies for rice and other crop yields.
Now, when that person is elected, they will be in power for say 3 years. The actual government salary is OK - average. But now they have a job, but are also super poor in debt. But that position allows them to get other family members government jobs. Having a government job also allows subsidies on buying cars, getting low interest loans and cheap housing and better access to good schools. They still have no money though, because they have a huge loan to payoff. So what they do is cream off the money that was given to them to fund public schools, hospitals, and roads etc from central government. It’s the main reasons why, when they tarmac a road were I live, it’s around 2cm thick of actual tar even though they were given money for a 10cm thick road. The guy that tests it, is paid off. The road lasts usually around 1 to 2 years and can sometimes stretch out to the the term of that local government leader. Which is a coincidence, because by that time, they have paid off their loan, and sitting pretty on a huge stash of cash, 7 bedroom mansion and 4 cars! Voila, magic :slight_smile: Pay Day all round, except for the candidate that loses. The candidate that loses with huge debts is really in a lot of trouble. They will have alot of loan sharks chasing them for this money back. What normally happens is some that can’t pay will go AWOL after an election defeat. So basically, Pay Day is about corruption. It’s a happier sounding song, because the farmers just got a bit of money, so they make a party for all the family. The money is usually finished by the morning, but there’s a bigger picture that you don’t see if you don’t live here.


I really like the album. It might even push me to take the plunge and start buying stuff on BC.

Thanks for writing so much and posting the videos.

That’s so true, and strange. Seems like there’s an interesting discussion there on how the choice of system affects that - the shift of eurorack away from modular music in this form.

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I’m too deep into Eurorack at this point and realistically will never have the resources of time, money and bandwidth to delve into other systems… but I love this kind of music… so my hope is to find ways to get as close as possible to this kind of vibe using Eurorack plus other things I have like Ableton and iOS and ms-20…

I really love what Mlogger is doing with his Eurorack rig, mostly what I see on instagram… the sound is different but the approach seems related… any albums of that in the works?

Thanks for your music and great generosity!


Thanks @eblomquist

I[quote=“eblomquist, post:22, topic:19692”]
any albums of that in the works?

Yes, one of isms/eurorack ones is mastered and will be released soon.
I just want to leave sufficient space between albums.
It’s a completely different sound / song style and mix of genres.
I will be releasing a lot of stuff this year.


I look forward to hearing it!

Do you have any suggestions for approaching a Serge vibe with Eurorack? Seeing as you have both, I would guess you might be more aware of the differences between them, but how would you turn that around and see their similarities?

The biggest difference is you need to get a lot of stackable cables. Serge stuff is really designed for stackable and cross patching, audio and cv is the same and can be mixed unlike Buchla. Just patching in a eurorack type way with an occasional stackable, won’t get you there, without stacking. That’s the biggest difference between 4u and Euro - banana cables. Everything goes everywhere, inputs and outputs can be mixed, in some cases, audio and cv is treated the same. It encourages you to create cv and audio feedback patches. The other thing is many of the modules can be used as oscillators. Envelopes, Filters, Wave Multipiers, Res Eq, SSG can all be used as sound sources. Pretty much the whole system is a source source in 1 way or the other.

I look at the CV side first and the arrange the sound around the CV. I work backwards when patching Serge compared to Euro. I start with the DUSG’s, not the oscillators. So for me, it’s about the control and manipulation of the CV, triggers and gates. The finer control you have of that, the more interesting sounds are generated, even with the most basic oscillators. Boring things like CV mixers, attenuators, logic, envelopes are more important than the oscillator. The heart of most of those patches start around 4 envelopes being cross modulated.

There’s Randomsource Serge modules which are all identical and sometimes enhancements to the STS 4u, and superb quality. The pcb’s and components they use are a cut above many manufactures. Serge Tcherepnin is the chief innovation officer since November . I have built a VariQ, Wave Multipliers, Variable Slope, Res Eq eurorack modules. So that would be the best way. Everything modulewise is there at Randomsource, except for the analog Freqency Shifter (Cwejman FSH-1?). So the biggest difference is the the way you patch it. I would focus more on the CV modulation side.

The patches I did for the album are based around, 3 x DUSG panels (3 Maths or 3 Rampage that go into audio range). I just saw Frap tools Falistri and that looks to me, very close to a DUSG also. Also I use an SSG (use a Sample+Hold+Noise module or Toppobrillo Sports Modulator is superb), 3 x VariableQ (State Variable) filters that self oscillate and are pinged (something like a Twin Peak Filter, 3 Sisters, Toppobrillo Multifilter). A noise module with pink and white noise out like Quantum Rainbow v2. Wave Multipliers and a ring modulator. I also use a Crossfader VCA and have 2 different patches on either side that I fade between for shifting changes. It’s something I do a lot when playing live. A CV mixer for mixing all the DUSG envelopes - something like 4ms SISM, CV Tools, Some sort of touch controller that triggers a sequence of voltages, like 2 x Pressure points. A logic module with at least one XOR output. You need very clean, high spec VCA’s with a lot of gain and headroom.

Hope that helps


Excellent place to start exploration from! Thanks so much! Perhaps I will post my modular grid and request suggestions based on what I already have rather than accumulating ever more modules… I’ve got a weird collection based on the way I built the rig, including two maths, two optomixes, two moddemixes and a rene 1and 2!

Plus a pretty full complement of Mannequins …

This is exciting!!!

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Also VCV rack is great for trying out quick patch ideas without the cost.
It can also help out in choosing certain modules types that you don’t have and didn’t realize you needed, like logic and Cv mixing.

The Grackler type patches are something like this quick and dirty patch in VCV although I don’t use it too much

This is a Serge Grackler style patch by Antonio Tuzzi after seeing one of my YouTube Serge patch videos (VCV rack Facebook group)


Interesting post. Perhaps you can help illuminate the one big question I have when I look at Random*Source full panels: are the crossfaders the main VCAs?

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I don’t have 4u Randomsource but looking at the Mantra panel - yes, that cross fader would be the main Fast/Clean VCA’s with a shared gain pot. Also you have a VCA in the Active Processor (ACPR).
In the La Bestia v2 there are 2 in the Stereo Mixer but you can also use top section of the wave multipliers as a linear VCA in lo mode. You can also use the transient generators and the smooth generator to process signals, but this is essentially filtering, not level control.


Wonderfully inspiring thoughts, thanks


I’ve just started using VCV Rack in earnest, and am already finding my way to some very strange patches that seem to me to approach the Serge vibe!

I’m really excited to be able to explore this area in a free or low cost environment, although I suspect that it will lead inevitably to additional Eurorack expansion!

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Ok, thanks for the insight. Can I ask how many rows your Serge is and how many dedicated VCAs or crossfaders it has? My euro cases always have 4 and sometimes have 20 or more (vca matrix, frames, blinds… can add up fast)

I really enjoyed the album by the way, especially Letter Box Thief

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Thanks, glad you are enjoying the album :slight_smile:
There are 4 panels worth and there are 7 VCA’s. I understand what you are saying about the minimal amount of VCA’s compared to what you are doing in Eurorack. I think that has been done by design. West Coast synthesis typically isn’t heavy on dedicated VCA’s. Modules are usually multifunctional. You use other modules like DUSG, SSG, VariQ, Wave Multipliers, Ring Modulators and mixers. If you look at Buchla it’s the same with the 292 (4 vca’s/vactrols) in a 12wls. If you get a Serge system, your patching techniques change because that’s the system. If you look at a typical Makenoise or Verbos system and you can see how many dedicated VCA’s there are, its very similar, not many dedicated VCA’s, but I’m pretty sure that’s by design also.
It is the reason why I enjoy working with systems from the same manufacturers. There is an overall philosophy around a system created by a designer. Mannequins and Monome have it, Makenoise, Verbos, Livewire, Harvestman have it.


Had a bit of insomnia tonight, so re-listened to the collection. Must say that there is a lot buried. Textures and patterns. All inspired.

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I posted my rig, would be most grateful for any ideas…

For general Serge technique chat we should head back to Serge thread so that all this great info is easy to find later :slight_smile:


This thread is currently my favorite internet thing.