A Touchpad Synth Like You've Never Seen | Fess' Find

This week's exciting find is the remarkable Tocante Phasi synthesizer from Ciat-Lonbarde. Masterfully designed by Peter Blasser, this instrument offers a one-of-a-kind electronic exploration through touch without the need for knobs, instead relying on specific capacitor values to adjust its tuning. It includes an internal speaker for sound output and can be powered via either direct current or solar energy.

This is a Ciat-Lonbarde Tocante Phasi
Ciat-Lonbarde Tocante Phasi

Ciat-Lonbarde has attracted a passionate group of synth enthusiasts, all ravenous to explore unconventional soundscapes with Blasser's exclusive collection of instruments. The Tocante can come in three separate forms—Bistab, Thyris, and Phasi—all featuring touch plates that incorporate different synthesis styles and tunings. To better grasp the concept, here is an excerpt written by Blasser:

Each touchpad represents a pitch according to industry "preferred numbers," chosen by old wartime engineers for non-musical purposes. Here they form a unique and haunting musical scale, not unlike that of a gamelan or the neutral intervals of Persian music. Beyond these base pitches, three golden sandrodes flank each touchpad; touching these androgynous nodes yields intermodulation, pitch and timbral shifts, and emergent chaotic masses. The instruments come in three flavors: thyris the triangle, bistab the square, and phashi the circle. The oscillators sound like a bowed string, a most powerful clarinet, and a howling serene whistle, respectively. Each responds to touch differently. Solar panels charge the onboard batteries that power the oscillators and a speaker. They are the perfect self-contained instrument for nightly music at the campground.

The Phashi synthesizer has a special sonic texture, due in part to its capacity for generating sine waves. The instrument's sound is further altered when fingers come into contact with it—Blasser compared this effect to "clenching an organ pipe". This instrument can also interface with modular and other synths from Ciat-Lonbarde.

Unfortunately, this particular listing sold quickly before publication - a clear indication of how sought after it was. But don't fret! We still have a selection of Ciat-Lonbard Tocantes available for you to check out.

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