MATRIXSYNTH: Korg Wavestate Berlin School Ambient Jam, Alexanderplatz

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Korg Wavestate Berlin School Ambient Jam, Alexanderplatz


"This is a berlin school style jam on the Korg Wavestate using only one custom patch for the whole jam, recorded in one take. The jam uses the Wavestate's arpeggiators combined with wavesequences to create interesting melodic, timbral and rhythmic variations. Also, I finally figured out how to to proper racheting (note repeat) with retriggering envelopes. Note to self: read the manual more carefully next time. The Wavestate really is a fantastic synth for improvised generative music. The patch is available for download (see the video description below).

My music on Bandcamp:

The patch/performance uses four layers. Layer A, C and D use arpeggiators. Layer B is used for chords. All layers have overlapping keyboard zones, so the same notes goes into all four layers. The three arpeggiators are configured with note sorting off. This makes the arpeggiator somewhat resemble a very simple looper, repeating the played pattern.

Layer A plays an arpeggiated melody. The gate wavesequence has 16 beats. The first 8 steps have a few rests (gate length 0), the last 8 steps are all rests (giving more space to melodies from the other layers). I change the gate wavesequence loop length between 8 and 16 throughout the jam, so sometimes this layer is more busy than others. Also I used the step wavesequence and the Pitch LFO to add a strong vibrato on every 31st beat, kind of simulating tape flutter on a tape delay (yes, I have been listening to Nils Frahm's "Says" and "All Melody").

Layer B is a pad sound used for chords. I use a foot switch to hold the notes for the chords, leaving me with both hands free to tweak knobs. This patch uses the Amp LFO to create variations in the pad. The Pitch LFO modulates the Amp LFO Frequency so it varies slowly from slow to fast. I change the Amp LFO Intensity and waveform during the jam, so sometimes the pad is more plinky-plonky than smooth, like at the end of the jam.

Layer C is another arpeggiated melodic part. I finally figured out how to create proper ratcheting (note repeat) on the Wavestate. The envelopes can be set to trigger from any source, not just note on! So I set the filter envelope to be triggered by Mod Processor 1. And Mod Processor 1 does a scale operation on the Amp LFO and the Step Sequence Lane. The Amp LFO is tempo synced with frequency set to dotted 32nd notes and waveform set to saw ramp up. In the Step Sequence Lane, a step with value -100% means a normal note, and a value of 0% means racheting with proper retriggering of the filter envelope. Yay!

For Layer C, I also play with the sample wavesequence, changing loop start and end. There's a very nice interplay with the loop length and the number of notes that the arpeggiator plays. Fun times.

Layer D does bass, with notes from the arpeggiator. Gate wavesequence has lots of rests, making the arpeggiator much more interesting. Again, the number of notes that the arpeggiator plays combined with the rythmic pattern laid out by the gate wavesequence results in lots of variations.

Performance mod knobs:
Knob 1: Layer A (arp 1) Octave
Knob 2: Layer B (pad) Octave
Knob 3: Layer C (arp 2) Octave
Knob 4: Layer D (bass) Octave
Knob 5: Layer A (arp 1) Amp Level
Knob 6: Layer B (pad) Amp Level
Knob 7: Layer C (arp 2) Amp Level
Knob 8: Layer D (bass) Amp Level

I use knob 5-8 to fade the 4 different layers in and out. And knobs 1-4 to change the octave for each layer, so layer D can play bass most of the time, but by setting a higher octave, it is playing an arpeggiated melody. Layer C plays an arpeggiated melody most of the time, but using the octave knob, it can also do bass duty.

The patch is called "WF Alexanderplatz" and can be downloaded from the files section of the "Korg Wavestate Q/A Sharing" facebook group.

The audio is recorded to SD card on a Zoom R16 and normalized in Audacity. Video is recorded on iPhoneX. Audio and video is synchronized in DaVinci Resolve 15."

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