Karlheinz Essl


Throbbing Crystals

sound performances for modular synth, controller and analog mixer


Setup with Doepfer DARK ENERGY analog synth, a MIDI keyboard controller
and a small analog mixer

Basics | Tracks | Performances


I ventured into the realms of chaotic systems by creating a non-linear audio feedback system using an analogue synthesizer (Doepfer DARK ENERGY) and a small mixing desk that allows me to feed the audio output into the synthesizer's external audio input. All tracks have been recorded live on 10 June 2023 without any editing or overdubs.

The system is controlled entirely by a small MIDI keyboard controller (using the velocity of the keys to modulate the frequency of the VCO) and its two modulation wheels (one for pulse width modulation, the other for the cut-off frequency of the VCF). The audio feedback is controlled by the mixer's gain and EQ controls.

This piece is somehow inspired by the legendary industrial noise band Throbbing Gristle. It focuses on the layering of slowly shifting pulses and the chaotic patterns that emerge from this process.


Throbbing Crystal, 1st move

Throbbing Crystal, 2nd move

Throbbing Crystal, 3rd move

Throbbing Crystal, 4th move

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Updated: 15 Jun 2023