Patch & Tweak, a book dedicated to the modular synthesiser.

After the success of his first book entitled “Push Turn Move”, Kim Bjorn is back with a new book. This time dedicated to the modular synthesiser’s universe.

Patch & Tweak, written by Kim Bjorn and Chris Meyer, is a beautiful 368-page book, abundantly illustrated and completed with some interviews, which include some electronic music pioneers. This book turns out to be fundamental to understand all the secrets on the modular synthesiser.

A guide to understand modular synthesiser in depth…

Even though Patch & Tweak approach part of the modular synthesiser’s history in its “appendix”, at the end of the book, it is mainly dedicated to the technical aspects. The first pages of the book already immerse the lector in the fundamentals of sound synthesis so as to understand all the necessary basics. From sound harmonics, to filter types and the different patch symbols, everything is explained.  Everybody starts from scratch one day or another. The author has understood this well and even included an interview of Colleen Martin, aka Lady Starlight, which clearly illustrate this idea. From chapter to chapter, the book becomes more and more complex. This can satisfy both beginners and experienced ones. 

The book is divided in a multitude of chapters and has the structure of a reader friendly handbook. The first chapter, which follows the introduction, is called “system & set-up.” This part of the book is extremely useful for those who want to set up their first modular system. From the different kinds of modular synthesizers, to the choice of “eurocrack” case, the power supply and the connectivity, everything is explained in details and interspersed with interviews.

Patch & Tweak, a landmark in a vast universe…

The modular synthesizer’s universe is as vast as vast can be. It is sometimes difficult to find your bearings for there exist so many modules. Beginners, enthusiasts and lovers, all have once wondered: “which modules do I really need?” Patch & Tweak begins to answer to this question. Indeed, dozens and dozens of modules are analysed according to their sound features and their functions. For instance, we can find a wide selection of oscillators, from the simplest to the most complex ones, including the different kinds of sound syntheses. 

Beyond sound sources, a whole chapter is dedicated to “audio modifiers”, in other words, to sound processing tools, such as filters, VCA and audio effects.

However, the modular synthesiser is not just about generating sound. The reason why it appeals to so many users also relies on its offering endless possibilities concerning rhythm generation, sequences and synchronized modulations. From triggers to rhythm generators, sequencers and controllers, nothing has been forgotten.   

It goes without saying that Patch & Tweak content could not be more detailed and covers almost everything one needs to know in order to understand modular synthesisers. That being said, it might prove to be quiet complex for the most inexperienced ones. But don’t panic, Kim Bjorn and Chris Meyer have done things well. At the end of the book we can find a fairly complete glossary, which includes a large part of the commonly used technical terms.

Patch & Tweak, by passionate people, for passionate people…

Patch & Tweak is a quality book, both in its content and manufacture. It proves to be indispensable for electronic music and modular synthesiser passionates.

It is addressed both to connoisseurs and beginners. Everyone will find what he or she are looking for in a single objective, to better understand the range of possibilities that modular systems offer. Beyond the wealth of “technical” information, the book is complemented by 38 interviews, each one as interesting as the next. We discover the point of view of world-renowned artists such as Hans Zimmer or the founders of the Make Noise brand. The list is long and full of beautiful discoveries.

Patch & Tweak, a must-read 368-page book, written by Kim Bjorn and Chris Meyer, published by Bjooks (Denmark).

Available at Turnlab (Antwerp) or on https://www.pushturnmove.com.

English translation by Raphaël Rozenberg.
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