Cavinsynth: making the modular scene more accessible

Electronic music without a computer

Stéphane has been making electronic music for more than 30 years. As is the case for many, he began by using computer programs for his composition. After years of practice on many different instruments, he realized that his creativity was drastically amplified when he took the computer out of the equation and started using physical instruments exclusively. He also discovered the world of modular synthesizers, using them to personalize his creative process, using the computer only as a simple multitrack recorder. This musical evolution can be followed through his project Boodaman.

Simple, unique and cheap instruments

While honing his musical identity, Stéphane ended up realizing that some of his ideas required the creation of completely new instruments. The eurorack modular platform, with which he was already familiar, lent itself perfectly to this kind of project: he started to imagine new module ideas. The first one to see the day was the Ardurack, a “swiss-knife” utility that uses the basic square wave as the foundation of all its functions. All the following projects will be made under the same leitmotiv: to make instruments that are simple, unique and cheap. For Stéphane, this is also the beginning of a process of self-learning electronics design. The knowledge he acquires gives him new perspectives on the inner workings of synthesizers and, soon enough, he starts uploading Youtube videos that simplify and popularize the fundamental aspects of modular synthesis.

Social meet-ups throughout western Switzerland

Stéphane’s need to share his passions doesn’t stop at Youtube. In 2016, he co-founded the ADSR GENEVA association with his friends Jérôme Grandchamp and Olivier Kolly. Together, they wanted to set up social meet-ups for passionate synthesists. Two ideas came of it: modular pic-nics and modular nights, events that allow both for the die-hard users of the instrument to meet and share their knowledge, as well as for the bystanders to discover a rich world of sounds through easy-to-understand demos. All current and future events of the association can be followed on their website.

Throughout our discussion, it became apparent that these various projects (popularizing modular synths, social meet-ups and designing accessible instruments) all have their source in Stéphane’s commitment to sharing his knowledge and experiences. Even though he gave different identities to each project, they all come together in a deep passion for electronic music.

- Victorien Genna /  21.02.2022