Rolzer for Plumbutter

by Ciat-Lonbarde

Rolzer is a beat generator add-on for the Plumbutter, a drum and drama machine. The Plumbutter offers complete voltage control of all parameters, including its pulse-rolls, for generating beat tempo patterns. However, when voltage control is added to an androgynous circuit such as the rolz, it has the tends to roll-off the ultrasound chaos present in the original incarnation of this idea, the rolz-5. So here we have the Rolzer, a collection of geometries graded into tempi by virtue of their capacitors. It is for developing a relationship and searching for the oddest, most alive rhythms, not by twiddling knobs but by making connections.

According to the concepts outlined in the Rollz-5 papers, combinations of even and odd geometries, such as a square and a triangle, generate sophisticated beat patterns including chaos at ultrasound frequencies. An even roll maintains a steady pattern, and an odd roll tries to resolve its inherent paradox; connecting them blends these attributes over time and with "grain". The original paper circuits presented each solder-worker to construct her own idiosyncratic assemblage of geometries, with assortments of capacitors based on what was on at hand, or strict dogmata, or pure whimsey. When the concept evolved into a Laboratory Rollz, the Plumbutter discarded any idiosyncrasies for the sake of pure control and dialing in aesthetic by knob. However, the Tocante line offers a way to think about the materials of electronics- capacitors- that allows a revision of the original Rolz concept.

Here we can bring back the strong sense of idiosyncrasy only offered by non-knobbed geometries, without whimsey, by collaborating with the industrial value system of capacitors, known as "E6". Basically, a ratio of ten is broken logarithmically into six gradations, and these are mapped to a sense of tempo, associating Italian quality with Industrial quantity: presto, allegro, moderato, andante, adagio, lento, and grave become modules of 1, 1.5, 2.2, 3.3, 4.7, 6.8, and 10 microfarad values.

Now, each tempo module contains an assortment of even and odd rolls. From top to bottom: hexagon, triangle, square, pentagon, and hexagon again. There are two hexagons to offer that roll's plexus for connections. Before defining the colors, review the sandrode concept- androgynous nodes that neither input nor output, but perform both functions at different times. In the rolzer, they are simply transistor neurons, with three simple actions: discharge of a capacitor, building up to a threshold, and inverted pulsing another neuron. The sandrode function is at the junction of these three, forming both a sensor and a pulse generator. The rolzer modules' majority of connections are sandrodes, represented as brown nodes. In the language of plumbutter, brown is both a hot and a cool color, so it takes both those attributes, output and input. However, sometimes you just want an output, perhaps for voltage control of a manifesting gong. So, each roll has one orange jack that yields a square wave at the tempo of the roll.

Connections may be stacked, and since all the plumbutter and rollzer outputs have a current limiting resistor, anything can go into the brown bananas. However, note that the brown bananas have no current limiting resistor; this is essential to propagate the paradox wave effect. The impedance of a brown node feels like a diode junction to ground, plus a high impedance to positive. As of 2014, I have not received any complaints of broken browns, because most sensible synthesizers have some kind of current limiting resistor on their outputs. But make note that if you have a very old Serge, you will likely already know about its own smoking modules when outputs are crossed, and that old warning would apply when patching old Surge to a brown banana. In general, the browns are meant to be patched with each other, and connected to the green inputs of plumbutter for drum machine manifestation. Likewise, orange "should" go to blue or purple. And red and gray can come back into the browns here. But experimenting really can't hurt!

The rolzer runs on a twelve volt DC power supply, with 2.1mm tip positive connector, and nine volt battery. It has an integrated ground-jack if you do want to connect it to external, Eurorack synthesizers or such. It has no output; use your plumbutter for that! You will need many banana cords to play with this, the more the merrier! The rolzer is available as a standalone synthesizer, or connected to a plumbutter as shown, and known as "Plumbrolzer":

Here is a demonstration video of the very first rolzer, made in Tocante format. Subsequently the idea was transferred through synthmall back to its originator, Ciat-Lonbarde, with the Tocante anti-whimsical concept of industrial materials as a ryder. The following video shows a different look, but sounds exactly as the rolzer sounds since it is functionally identical. In fact, the rolzer by Ciat-Lonbarde now has more rolls than the prototype had, a total of 35, with 168 nodes!

In fact, the rolzer still brings up the question of identicality in a very interesting way. The paradox way is a leverage of small variations in industrial components; the multiple dimensions of capacitor specification- value, precision, accuracy, and temperature- work together to cause individuation amongst rolzers. It is because of odd rolls' spiral of paradox, that these individual variations are felt. Feeling is the result of this affect effect, that your rolzer, over your time spent together, develops a network of surprise with your own expectations. Shazam!