New Patch - Phasing 2020 - SSP goes minimal

Inspired by the BBC Documentary Tone, Drones and Arpeggios about the birth of minimal music in California in the 60s and its expansion in the early 70s in New York, I tried out a concept called phasing that was originally pursued with tape recorders. The principle is to record a (shortish) piece of music simultaneously on two different tape records and subsequently play back the recordings repeatedly on both tape machines at the same time. Because of small differences in tape speed / material / loop length / electronics, the piece goes in-and-out of phase with itself. As it is a repeated section, ultimately it will catch up with itself again.

SSP’s step sequencer has a unique parameter call Division Factor (DivF on the screen). In the Patch I use two step sequencers, set at the same tempo, but one has a DivF setting of 5.00 and the other a DivF setting of 4.95. In practice this means that one tape recorder deviates 1% from the other during playback. As on is consistently 1% slower than the other it takes 100 cycles to get back in sync gain (and that only for 1 cycle). The magic happens between the first and 100th cycle. Effects range from phasing - flanging -slap back repeats - echo-like repeats - swing rhythm and multiple harmonies while the sequences run.

As you’ll see, the sequence itself is really simple, but IMHO creates a fascinating result. Have the courage to focus on it for a few minutes and you’ll get a drug-free auditory mind-expansion. I think of it as instant Steve Reich.

Anyway, sound generation is by @thetechnobear’s wonderful Plaits VST, so make sure you have that loaded in your SSP. The Patch loads in location 083. Just change the number in the file name if you want it to load somewhere else.

Enjoy! (56.1 KB)


lovely idea… has my head buzzing with ideas for variations
thanks for sharing.

edit: ooh, very nice …

so I tried this technique (*), really fun…
whats quite nice about this, is given its synthesis we can really play with the idea.
so you can use two slightly different voices playing the same melody drifting in n’ out.
add CLDS, and you also start smearing the evolving voices. shift its position, and you are doing something similar as the sequencers.

also try modulating DIVF with a really slow LFO, with a ton of attenuation (so scaled down to 0.001) - this ‘emulates’ the idea that the tape drives are not ‘constant’, not only are the not the same speed, but that speeds alters over time.
(you can get smaller variations by either using a module to rescale again OR use a higher DIVF value with a faster TEMPO)

lots more to experiment with… though really inspires me to create a tape loop vst :slight_smile:

(*) sorry, didn’t get around to downloading your preset yet, rather recreated myself.


Glad to hear that it triggers more ideas!
What you describe - going back and forth with very small amounts - is what happens partially at the beginning of my patch. But instead of going back and forth for real flanging and a dreamy effect, I keep on pushing forward. This way it continues to introduce new and different musical concepts. A four step sequence of quarter notes becomes an 8-step sequence of eighth notes when one party has been pushed an eight note back. Keep on pushing and you get a swing effect with 3/16th - 1/16th. Timing wise the sequences start to sync up again, but now creating harmonies as they have shifted a full quarter note. This shifting continues - producing new rhythms, harmonies and short 2-note / 3-note phrases that one perceives as little melodies. I have tried to illustrate the effects that occur in the picture below:

If you have time - give the Patch a listen as it goes off in a completely different direction.

Since the latest SYNTHOR firmware 20201128 was released yesterday, I have attached an updated version of the Phasing 2020 patch that is compatible. (55.8 KB)


yeah, this was an aspect I played with too…
as you say, if you use a bipolar LFO it will go in and out of sync. since the BPM first speeds up, but going negative, means it slows down, and so if the wave form is symetrical the slow down = the speed up so no net gain.

if you offset the LFO (e.g. from 0…0.01, rather than +/- 0.01 ) , you can make it always speed up, but by a varying amount. taking this further, you can just make the offset so it spend less time on negative that in postive, so it does slow down, but not for long enought to compensate for the speed up.
(in tech terms, we are basically saying skew the waveform to have a DC offset)

then we can go to different waveforms… these all feel a bit different.

of course… these changes are pretty subtle… if we imagine a 4 on the floor beat, it basically means the spacing of the beats is always altering a very small amount i.e. its altering the relationship between notes in a single track , rather than having a static change to DivF which alters the relationship between the two tracks …
and of course, we can have both … with lots of tracks.

I will definitely check out your patch…

edit: finally checked out your patch… very nice, it demostrates the effect really well.

I really need to find a better way to manage my presets (and samples), and also download others…
I use a network cable which is very cool, but for some reason … it only works if its plugged in when I power up the SSP, and also I need to maintain some network activity for it to ‘stay up’.
… a bit of a faff, which is ok, when im doing development, but a bit of pain to just transfer samples and presets.

ok, I admit all this is easier than taking out the sdcard, so its relative…
I should probably stop whining and find a way to fix it :wink:


Excellent thank you for sharing and updating it :grin: