Twisted Electrons is an original electronic musical instruments manufacturer, with excellent products such as the Crazy 8 sequencer and Therapsid. Cells is one of their three new eurorack modules. It is a dual unipolar control voltage generator, in eurorack format, 12hp wide. Although the module requires 5v in addition to the usual +12v and -12v to operate, it can use on-board power conversion via a jumper on the back if external 5v is not available.
Look and touch
The faceplate is nicely designed: a ‘black metal look’ plate with a honeycomb pattern featuring 16 touch sensitive, centrally located hexagon pads. Each pad has a white led indicator. There are two encoder knobs and two push buttons to the left and right of the pads, and the lower part contains two trigger inputs and cv/gate outputs. Described as a voltage generator, it is capable of storing two voltages per pad, which are recalled when the pad is touched and sent to the outputs and gates. The storage value is 12bit which means it can hold 4096 values between 0 and 5v. However, the main goal is storing note information, to form a range of pads that can be played as a keyboard.
Operation is pretty easy: touch a pad and hold one of the pitch buttons as you dial in the value with the pitch knob. Then, you can do the same with the second pitch value. When the button is pressed, the gate is high so you can hear the actual pitch when connected to an oscillator and vca/envelope. This is very useful for making proper pitch entries to form a melody. The module helps you with that, as you can select free scaling or semi-tone increments by pressing both buttons simultaneously. The fun does not stop there, though!
Cells has two functions: you can play it manually by touching the pads, or sequence it using external control. When you press two or more pads, the module arpeggiates at a rate set by the left knob. The right knob, in that case, changes the octave range. Using the two trigger inputs, you can automate triggering and make the module sequence.
The left trigger shifts up a row and the right trigger shifts right by one column. When you engage this function and, for instance, use a random or rhythmic trigger, a whole new world of melodic variety opens up. Using the cv outputs to tune a dual oscillator or two different ones, rich sounds that can be easily combined with other sources in a complex patch… But of course, you can also use it as a modulation source by choosing the free scaling. With the triggers clocked you can then apply the modulation time-controlled to a filter, mixer, and so on.
Cells is an original take on playing notes on a modular, is a compact size and is easy to work with. The touch pads are big enough to play manually, and It creates inspiring melodies when you use the triggers.
The semitone input makes it easy to scale and allows the melodies to work with other parts of the modular system. It is also handy that you can use it to control two oscillators at the same time. And the free scaling offers a good way to apply clocked modulation to other parameters. A module worth considering if you like the idea of generative melodies and arpeggios that are quick to program and give unexpected but melodic results.
Price € 255,- ex VAT
More info: twisted-electrons.com