This week, we’re exploring the GMO Genetically Modified Oscillator from Moffenzeef Modular, the older brother to the Deviant which we examined a few weeks ago. Like the Deviant, the GMO has a distinct character and style. With multiple alternative firmwares and sample banks, this is a perfect tool for injecting some lofi tonality into modular compositions, Moreover, the module has some quirks that make it unique in the growing field of modular samplers.
The open source, Teensy-based GMO is a grungy, dirty sample player and mangler. The 8-bit sample limitation insists on making any material it produces sound grimy and lofi. The device offers panel and CV control over every function, including sample selection, pitch/speed, sample start time and end time and looping. By using the Head and Tail controls, tiny, granular windows can be carved out of a sample and then looped to generate oscillator-like tones.
Sample manipulation is easy, it’s loading samples onto the module that presents a challenge. Because the samples are stored in flash memory, they play back quickly with minimal latency. This means reprogramming the code in the module is the only way to get samples into that flash memory. While this is possible, Moffenzeef have created dozens of alternate sample libraries by recompiling the basic firmware with banks of other content, making them all available through their Github page. In the large collection of samples, we find everything from animal sounds, world percussion instruments, classic drum machines and even farts!
In addition, Moffenzeef have curated 10 artist sample packs, including samples from our friend Baseck (who just released an album today) and another friend, Kero from Detroit Underground (who has been releasing tons of modular artists lately). Like any Teensy, loading any of these firmware versions is extremely easy. Simply remove the module from the rack while still powered, connect a micro-USB cable between the Teensy usb port and your computer, and load the firmware via the Teensy Loader app (this process is detailed in the video).
We will explore another of the alternative firmware versions, The Mongrel, in another video…