Cellular Automator

This generative-while-interactive node has been kept hidden in the lab for long enough.

Mutually-organizing oscillator, chain-reaction sequencer, and cascading-signal envelope, the Cellular Automator is designed to parallel the cell and its ability to assemble into multicellular complexes for coordinated behavior. It’s both a versatile utility for achieving precise aims, and an experimental apparatus that gives you the freedom to concoct surprises. The device makes possible multiples types of network based on rhythm, pitch, audio, and envelope generation. Sequencing chain connections order each unit like dominoes, each knocking into the next one based on their BPM values. They can be arranged in infinite loops, bifurcating branches, and webs of paths.

When a unit is triggered, it outputs pitch CV, oscillator audio, an envelope, and a trigger pulse at the end of a single beat. Pitch CV can be tied together in a transmission line terminating at an oscillator, where a chain of units sequences a melody together. Alternatively, the pitch CV can be fed into its own tunable oscillator to output sound directly. With four waveforms and its own envelope, units can be differentiated into various types of tones, whose audio can be chained, integrating into a single output. Linking the modules like this is like writing sheet music or a piano roll. The oscillator can be slowed to LFO rates to build a modulation sequencer too. While the envelope automatically acts on the oscillator output, its independent output can also be chained toward an amplifier or to trigger and control other devices.

With CV control of note value, waveform, attack, volume, hold, and release, units can mutate with modulation and evolve over time. As more complex networks of connections grow, both serendipitous surprises and baroque design are possible. You can sequence songs or set up generative automata.

You’ll find it surprisingly easy to operate and more useful than apparent, and it can act as an individual synth voice, envelope generator, sequencer step, and more. Yet, it is equipped with jacks all over, to help it sense and respond to its environment, and making something greater than the sum of its parts.