Jan's Patchwork Corner is the title of a new series of video masterclasses on synth programming and sound design that launched on YouTube this week. In each episode, Germany-based film composer and sound designer Jan Morgenstern picks one of his synth patches – either from one of his commercial soundsets or from a music project – and breaks it down into its principal components, explaining how all parts work and come together to achieve the sound he's looking for, describing the thought processes that went into the design decisions, and tying it all into a larger view on synthesis technique and theory.
The 1-hour pilot episode, which is now available to watch on YouTube, takes a deep dive into a synth pad sound from the Zebra Elementals: ISLA soundset that Jan released via his soundware label Treeswift Audio in 2021. Here's more details direct from Jan...
Although the series will initially feature u-he™ Zebra2 as the synth platform that powers its workpieces, it aims to provide a "big picture" view on synthesis that isn't limited to any specific product. "Wherever it makes sense, I'm making a point of keeping explanations as synth-agnostic as possible", comments Jan, "so that it shouldn't be hard to translate the techniques to whichever synth you might prefer to use. Ultimately it's supposed to be about synthesis, not any particular synthesizer".
"I'd had this idea for longer than I'd been thinking about making sounds for fellow composers", he continues. "So when I started Treeswift Audio, it was clear from the get-go that I'd eventually have to give the tutorial idea a whirl, too. Basically I'm trying to make the kind of learning resource that I would have wanted around back when I got serious about synth programming."
With Treeswift Audio, Jan aims to bring unique sounds with a strong organic and "living" quality to professional composers writing for film, TV and games, as well as studio and live musicians and producers looking for sonic "secret spices" for modern electronica and pop productions. The label is best known for its Zebra Elementals series of soundsets for the popular software synthesizer u-he™ Zebra2. The second part of the series, titled Zebra Elementals: AERA, was released in October 2022 and features 120 ready-to-play patches that play on the themes of wind, height, breathing, and voices.
White iLoud monitors and a new modelling guitar pedal
CV controlled mixing console and some distinctly dirty effects
Smaller tracker with larger memory and lower latency
Jim takes a look
Audio interface too
Lightweight hammer action keys that can run on batteries