A one-off project commissioned by Mats Gustafsson (FIRE!) for use in the Barbro Lindgren play ‘Molnens broder‘ (Dramaten Theatre, Stockholm 2017).
Taken from conception to production (20 pieces) in under 8 weeks! These were never available for sale but the idea developed into the Chirpers.
Given that Mats has used many of my Weevils over the years, he asked if I could make some specially for the play – but, having done so many Weevils, I felt I wanted to try something a bit different. I had had an idea based on the SynthVoice and this project gave me the perfect excuse to try it out!
The core of Molnet (translation ‘clouds’) is two Oscillators (one called ‘Source’, the other called ‘Modulation’) – each with Shape sweepable from Triangle to Square and with Modulation from the other Oscillator (ie. Cross-Modulation). The Source Oscillator feeds the input of a Resonant BandPass Filter, while the Modulation Oscillator controls the Filter Cutoff. Body contact touch points connect direct to the circuitry for tactile sound-bending like on the Weevils.
The design needed to be ‘acoustic’ for use in by the performers in the play without cables or microphones, so I investigated improved power amplifier and chose to use LiIon batteries to provide enough oomph while also being long-lasting and rechargeable. A line output was added so that the band FIRE! could also use the instruments to provide amplified sounds alongside – the line-out is naturally much more full-frequency than the onboard speaker.
The circuitry springs very much from parts of the SynthVoice, though obviously running at far lower voltages, somewhat stripped back and tweaked for the particular usage (the Oscillators span sub-to-audio ranges, for example). I was keen to keep the design compact but striking in appearance so played with the overall white approach coupled with highlights of black and gold (for the leaf shaped touch points).