It’s a module as big as Scotland and as loud as creator Ken MacBeth. But the module, spotted rarely like the folkloric monster it is, seems about to go from legend to product.
Ken MacBeth is a kind of esoteric mad genius of the synth world, so when he does flagship synths, he goes all out. The Elements line has come full circle; the Elements One was actually the first design, but it hasn’t yet seen the light of day. We got an all-in-one synthesizer in 2014 (now costing about five grand; originally listed at US$6499), the “Elements,” with a touch keyboard, and its successor, the EL2.
Ken’s vision: a “real sized” synthesizer (which for him means … very large) without “sonic compromise.” That original launch video:
That evolved into this thing with a keyboard:
But if what you want is the module that ate all the other modules, meet the Elements One.
And it is one module – a whopping 84HP / 3U in size. (I have a feeling the ideal Ken MacBeth skiff would arrive in the form of a tractor trailer. Comically, this was intended to be the first of five modules of this size – hence the number.)
Size of run: 50, planned.
Availability: “June/August.” (Those are … not consecutive months, Ken.)
We can go back to Synthtopia in December 2013 for some more clues. Think “spike” oscillators, noise, an “acidic” ladder filter, and ring modulator.
I poke fun (not poke so much as shove on something this size) – but there’s plenty to admire on these instruments, even if they’re not entirely mobile or cost conscious. They take a design nod from classic UK instruments in place of the fiddly, finger-challenging design of today’s Eurorack. And they afford tons of rich cross modulation and sound design options – fat sounding stuff.
That is, whether you want to adopt this and take it home, you do definitely want to play it. The new module will come to Berlin’s storied retailer Schneidersladen, says the manufacturer, and having played the touch keyboard iteration, I’m sure you’ll want to play this module there.
Even short of that, it’s gorgeous to behold, like seeing the Clo Mor Cliffs — okay, I’ll stop making trite Scotland references, it’s just I really would love a holiday to some natural landscapes and we’re all freaked out by Brexit. Apologies, Ken. Everyone makes 24/7 references to Kentucky Fried Chicken around me, so feel lucky.
Got distracted, cough —
And… presumably four more modules.
We await you.
Thanks Patrick DSP for the tip.