I recently purchased a Soma Lyra 8 Organismic Synthesizer. It’s a very interesting, somewhat old-school machine in the sense that there is no keyboard, just triggering contacts that fire off an envelope for one of the eight oscillators. Naturally, all oscillators have to be tuned by hand, making tuning unpredictable and somewhat messy, with a tendency towards binaural beats and phase cancellation if you tune unisons, microtones, and spectral interference. It also has internally routed modulation and feedback networks that can be unpredictable at times.

It’s pretty great!

Organism Study is based on the Lyra and it’s modulation and feedback capabilities. Eight pitches [D2, A2, C#3, F#3, A3, F#4] that form the base drone and melodic ideas. These are modulated by hand to grow and evolve in a manner similar to cellular mutation and division – new ideas are created and passed on to subsequent cells, which continue to grow and multiply in a way that mirrors fungal blooms and fractal divisions. Through the course of the piece, the ideas grow and change until the original cell has become a mass too large to sustain itself and collapses under it’s own weight.

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