Bleep Bloop 2000 - After Later Audio
by Ellison Wolf
Aside from the occasionally odd, or somewhat humorously named module [think Wogglebug] there’s not a whole lot that’s funny in the world of modular synthesis, a world that itself is comprised entirely of funny noises. So it’s a bit of a relief to come across a module that doesn’t take itself too seriously and injects some much needed whimsy into the modular landscape.
Enter the Bleep Bloop 2000, a collaboration between After Later Audio, artist Jenny Bowen, and Tim Held of Podular Modcast. The module artwork is based off of Dunkin Michael-Clarke Duncan, a medallion wearing cult-y character that Pod Mod’s Held created for the purpose of...um...well, that’s what a year of social distancing will do, I suppose. Hoodies, socks, and tote bags with Duncan trapped in Eurorack module form have been around for a bit, and fictitious faceplates of a BB2000 module have shown its butt-parted hairdo on Instagram for a while, but now the Bleep Bloop 2000 is finally a real module, finally out in the wild, and you can finally...finally get your PERSH on, provided you have enough SPLARF, and provided you feel comfortable going there [more on that in a few].
The Bleep Bloop 2000 is a very nice-looking module. I really like the artwork by Bowen, and it’s laid out in a well-intentioned, anatomically adventurous manner. Strewn among the nicely drawn portrait of Duncan, there are knobbed controls for DARF, KLONK, OLLBZZ, PERSH, SUMSES, and a toggle to switch between SPLARF 1 and SPLARF 2. There’s a combined single OUT, a VCA input, a CF [crossfade] input, and A, B, C, and D CV inputs.
While not too being distracted by Duncan’s mug, I noticed that all of the controls are labelled well—even though the words are completely nonsensical—and each correlates to an aforementioned letter in the alphabet and is clearly labelled as such, and this makes figuring out which CV input controls which parameter quite easy. The real question isn’t what controls what, the real question is what does this module do? What exactly is the Bleep Bloop 2000? According to Held [Duncan] it is a chordal drone machine and/or erratic CV generator. So there you have it, from the man/module himself.
BB2000 has four oscillators—either a triangle, square, or sine wave, depending on various factors—each with its own knob for tuning, and while they don’t track 1v/o, each oscillator can go from LFO to audio rate frequencies. Patching into the VCA input lets you control the amplitude of the BB2000’s main output.
After messing with the BB2000 a bit I noticed that KLONK didn’t exactly play well with the others and has a mind of its own. It just doesn’t follow the CF input as do the other parameters, so it’s always droning alone. Kind of sad, I know, but it’s good to have a black sheep in the family, and in the case of the BB2000, KLONK is that sheep. Patching random CV into the A, B, C, and D inputs brought about shifting chordal drones; some cool stuff.
At first, I thought the SPLARF control seemed to be a filter of sorts, cutting off some highs in SPLARF1, and it was hard to say exactly what it was supposed to do as I’d never SPLARF’ed before, but after checking the manual, it turns out that SPLARFING selects between two banks of waveforms for the four oscillators. This can make for some very cool switching options, going from one bank to the other.
When no CV was patched into the respective knobs, each was used for tuning purposes, sans OLLBZZ, which is a crossfader that blends together the different waveforms of SPLARF 1 and SPLARF 2.
You can use BB2000 as a gate/trigger source, provided you have enough of a combined output to trigger/open the gate. In this way it’s kind of like a random LFO/gate trigger and can bring about some interesting rhythms. It’s not really reliable in this manner as the outputted voltage fluctuates a bit wildly and sometimes isn’t enough to get the VCA/gate/whatever to open up, but that’s part of the BB2000’s charm; it’s unpredictability. It can’t always summon the power of mother earth through its seashell medallion, but so it goes with kismet powered devices. It can also be used like an LFO, but since there’s just one output that’s not the best use, though you can get some cool FM type sounds modulating a filter cutoff or resonance/feedback amount with all four oscillators in LFO mode stacked up.
If anything about the BB2000 gives one pause it’s the layout of the two inner knobs and the SPLARF toggle. I feel that the Bleep Bloop 2000 should probably come with some sort of permission slip, warning, glove/mask combo, or at least require that you be 18 years of age or older to operate, but I suppose that’s just the prude in me. Maybe some bored religious group can take this up to be their mission, I’m sure there’s one out there up to the task.
I have enjoyed my time with the Bleep Bloop 2000 so far. It’s a fun module—in many different ways—and there’s definitely a place for it to drone on, or fondle its untamed CV throughout a patch in my rig.
There are other members in the Duncan family, including the special missus—Linda Duncan—and I’d love to see what the After Later/Held/Bowen triumvirate could come up with for that. I can make space in my rig for a whole case-worth of Duncans.
Bleep Bloop 2000 is being made in limited numbers, so grab one while you can.
16HP +12V 85mA -12V 85mA