The latest unique piece of music creation gear from the unconventional mind of Vlad Kreimer of Soma Laboratories. The Cosmos - Drifting Memory Station could be mistaken for a looping pedal, but it's not. It's actually more of a mullti-tap fixed time recorder.
As usual, it's built very nicely, with solid controls, nice quality footswitch - can be used with the hand or the foot. Stereo input and stereo output, headphones and a USB port for firmware updates only.
At the heart of the Cosmos is the Algorithm selection chicken head knob - starting with a two delay (short, medium, long) each side of the delay repeats are a slightly different timing and can have cross feedback and timing adjustments made by the Blur and Drift controls.
I should point out that hitting the record button will obviously record into this delay, but stopping record does not stop and loop, it just stops the signal from going into the delay. Remember these times are preset, so using it for rhythmic repeating music phrases is not what this is for. Instead, think of it as a way to build up textures and it will serve you better.
Next algorithm is gives you 4 delays which again will interact by cross feedback (Blur) nd time shifting (Drift) It's a quicker way to get to a textured delayed bed than the 2 delay setting.
Then we are into the Large Hall setting, which isn't really a traditional reverb but more of a multi-tap early reflection texture maker. The Drift and Blur settings have no effect on this.
Finally the Granular recorder - this is similar(ish) to what Clouds does as in you can record into it and use the Blur setting for the length of the grains and Drift for the position. This an really makes some lovely frozen type textures
All algorithms, can use the Drive control to saturate the recorded signal, plus the SUP | COM control Left of 12 oclock dials in suppression of the already recorded signal against what you are currently recording, or Right of centre brings up the recorded signal, compressing them to make it more of a constant level.
Additionally we have HPF footswitch - 3 settings - L, M, H press + select footswitch and a LPF which works in the same way. Useful for thinning or dulling the looped recordings when things get a bit soupy.
Rev switch does exactly that - reverses the loop, plus the Erase switch can be momentary or when combined with the REC switch erases the memory completely.
It's an interesting item, best suited to ambient and textural work, not really for rhythmic or riff based music. However this may yet be something Cosmos can do with a firmware update to allow for more traditional looper functions.
I found that while it was a little unconventional in application, that's to be expected from most of what Soma do, so no surprises there!
I did find myself venturing into areas I would not usually and I guess that's a good thing right?
Overall, the Soma Cosmos is certainly fun, nicely built and sounds good, but with an unconventional set of features, it's likely to be more of a luxury than a necessity and certainly not going to be for everyone.
Available directly through somasynths.com priced at €480 + shipping and taxes.
For more examples with the Soma Cosmos - check out Patreon:
Massive sonic experience from Alexander Hacke
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Live music on the 26th November