It’s hard for me to not share my excitement for whatever hobby I am into at the moment and my wife often has the unfortunate distinction of being the person who is at the receiving end of it. I can usually gauge her level of interest by whether she asks “what does this do?” vs. “how much did this cost?”.

Much to my surprise, she has been beyond supportive of my Eurorack modular synth obsession, going so far as to do a bit of dabbling herself. This struck me as odd since she hasn’t shown much interest in making music for the 20 years we’ve been together.

Which got me thinking, what is it about playing the modular synth that is so appealing to musicians and non-musicians alike?

Personally, I think it’s the No-Rules nature of the modular synth. Over time, musicians become encumbered by the traditional constraints of composition, performance, and production. And non-musicians are intimidated by the same concepts. As long as it sounds right, it is right.

The modular synth sort of levels the playing field with experts and beginners. Whatever you previously knew about creating music probably doesn’t apply here. I was continually reminded of this in the first few sessions where I would set up my wife with the synth then go lay myself down on the studio floor to enjoy the “concert”. Eventually curiosity would set in and I would go peek at what she had patched only to begin explaining why the patch didn’t make sense. But then I’d think about it a bit more and realize, whoa, she discovered a completely novel way to patch the modules that would never occur to me in a million patching sessions.

This has culminated in me setting her up with some modules in a second case so we can try jamming together. This recording was from our first such session and it was a perfect slice of imperfection. We went in without much of a plan, came up with some cool ideas, and almost let the performance get away from us a couple of times. Our intent wasn’t necessarily to record anything but I figured I’d document the session and share. Hope you enjoy!