I’ve ordered a Plumbutter from Ciat-Lonbarde. The photo to the left was posted by Peter Blasser on his blog. It’s a picture of his shop, where he hand-builds his unique synthesizer equipment. You can see several Plumbutters, with their colorful banana jacks, awaiting their circuit boards. A couple of Cocoquantuses are there on the left, and there’s a magnificent double Plumbutter in the center.
So why am I getting a Plumbutter? It’s best described as the culmination of a line of development in Peter Blasser’s thinking about electronic instruments, the previous incarnation of which was the Roolz Gewei. The gist of his thinking is the production of electronic music by means more organic and natural than heretofore generally conceived. That’s an oversimplification; his ideas are deep and I have much still to fathom. His instruments are in wood cases and are intended to be played by hand with joy and a sense of exploration. They are designed to disrupt conventional approaches to composition and performance. I see them as an aid to overcoming musical cliches and conventions, which are easy to fall prey to with 70′s era modular synthesizers and most of their descendants, like a good deal of my modular equipment.
Plumbutter is a small, modular synthesizer, patched with banana cords, comprised of a lovely set of Peter’s circuits. It’s aimed at performance. So why am I getting one? I’ve described one of my ideals as getting rid of the performer. But that is only one type of composition — self-performing — that I’m interested in. I also want to create some pieces that I can perform. I’ve built portable 5U MOTM cabinets that I can use for performance. The Plumbutter is another avenue toward the same goal.
But more, Plumbutter is a different kind of instrument than my MOTM modular. I have yet to discover all the ways it’s different, and look forward to the experience.