Corry Banks talks Osiris and more
It’s time for another guest post! Today we are excited to have Corry Banks back on the blog to talk about Osiris, his new oscillator. You probably already know Corry from his great tech blog BBoyTech Report, from his company Modbap Modular by Beatppl, his general presence in the synth community, or some of his awesome performances. (Check out his Noiseblast performance from back in the day when we still did them live, and his NE sample pack too!)
Corry has just released his second module in the Modbap Modular lineup, so we chatted a bit about the module, its origins, and what’s next for Modbap.
Kris: I’ve already introduced you a bit, but tell us a little bit about yourself and the origins of Modbap.
Corry: I am Corry Banks (aka Bboytech), founder of Modbap Modular by Beatppl. Modbap Modular is a small operation of 1 (+ a couple of contractors) based in the LA area. I created the term Modbap when I began experimenting with modular synthesis and boombap beatmaking. It stuck and here we are...
Kris: A small operation...for now… :) We’re loving what you’re doing. Osiris, which just came out is pretty great, and the reason we asked you here today. Tell people about it.
Corry: Osiris is a bi-fidelity wavetable oscillator that runs at 96khz with lofi controls, timbre modes including various flavors of wavefolding and FM, an independent sub-osc with its own sub out and sub v/oct, built in VCA, decay envelope, pitch quantizer, a micro SD card for user wavetables, 4 banks of 32x32 wavetables for a total combination of 4096 possible waveforms, and 2 dimensional wavetable scanning via wave x and wave y controls. It has 11 knobs, 10 CV inputs and 2 audio outputs and 4 buttons. Oh and it has its own little open-source wavetable editor called OsirisEdit (based on waveedit). All that in a neat little 12HP package.
Kris: So fun. I love the sub-osc options. We were on a panel together recently and you talked about how you came to the engineering phase with the idea pretty fully formed, down to panel layout, so I know you had this in mind for a long time. What was the inspiration for the module?
Corry: The inspiration was sort of an amalgamation of things. I mostly had sort of a set of requirements that I wanted my oscillator design - which eventually became Osiris - to embody. I had several mock-ups for it at HP sizes ranging from 6HP to 12hp because the inspiration was more about having a module that does not eat up loads of HP but still offers up a wide swath of sound and timbres. It had to have the ability to let the user use it for melody and a separate bassline if needed. Also, I do a lot of plucks in my rig so the VCA and decay was a must have. I knew I wanted to have options to process the sound and change it on the fly.
Kris: We always get questions about our names so I savor the opportunity to ask someone else...where does the name come from?
Corry: The name Osiris comes from Egyptology. Even in my days as an emcee my own stage name incorporated bits of Egyptology. The trilogy of Osiris, Isis, and Horus has always been an interesting tale to me. Osiris’ lore links to many things in Egyptology and beyond, but the link to the flooding of the Nile River for fertility and vegetation etc. sticks with me. When it came time for me to name my wavetable oscillator, it's something that came back to me in a roundabout way of relating to waves, flooding the Nile, yada yada yada and… boom - Wavetables. The reality is that the name sounds strong and powerful just as I see this wavetable oscillator. It felt right and I went with it.
Kris: If you were talking to someone about what modules you think pair well with Osiris, what would you recommend?
Corry: Osiris is so malleable with all of it’s timbre modes and 2D scanning of wavetables that it really depends on what you are aiming to do with it. But one thing is for certain, it absolutely loves modulation. I’ve been using it with low pass gates when doing shorter decay plucks and the like. I think it sounds incredible with its sibling Per4mer. The reverb and delay on Per4mer and the Wax color preset adding bits of vinyl noise and warble is just beautiful. I also think it sounds really nice with Rossum’s Linnaeus thru-zero filter because they both get into some gritty FMing territories that take things wild really quickly in a good way. For modulation, I’ve been using it a lot with Quadrax and 0chd. I prefer slow modulation and with mid ways to shallow depth but that's because I like to make nice and smooth and tasty tones but when pushing the modulation speed and depth harder it gets insane.
Kris: Modular synthesis has a reputation for being overwhelmingly dominated by white men. How does being an African-American man in the Eurorack space inform your designs?
Corry: Great question… First and foremost I try to focus on what I want to see in the Eurorack space. Big emphasis on “I” myself, a Black man from the west side of Chicago. I was born and bred where house music and techno was born and created by Black people. I was also raised in and represent hip-hop culture. All of that in and of itself is a unique perspective. That kid, the emcee with the knack for tech and degrees in the same. It’s this gumbo of anti-stereotypical and juxtaposed attributes that define who I am, inform what I design and how those designs are executed and brought to market.
My entire music tech career / journey has been based on amplifying my voice and voices like mine in a space where we are under represented. But the fact is while all of this is my truth, I live it that way, out loud. So, I don't have to think about it much. I started Modbap Modular because I felt strongly about these dope ideas that I could bring to market in the Eurorack space. Coming from my perspective seemed to naturally give me a brand and vision to play towards. I just am and I just do my thing.
Kris: Speaking of doing your own thing, let’s talk about music. You are widely acknowledged as the father of Modbap as a genre, and your label, Beatppl, has done some amazing work. Tell us about some of the stuff you’ve been up to.
Corry: I released a double LP Modbap compilation, Diggin In The Wires, on white vinyl featuring nearly 20 producers exploring and exhibiting an incredibly eclectic array of modbap beats. It’s on all digital streaming services and bandcamp (beatppl.bandcamp.com). The physical vinyl can still be purchased on Beatppl.com. I think anyone can put this piece of art on and fall into the vibes. It's such a great bit of work… not because it's on my label but because the community showed up and showed out on this project. It has the likes of myself - Bboytech, Ski Beatz, VoltageCTRLR, Upright, Ken Flux Pierce, Ali the Architect, CV D0p3 and so many more. It's an entire vibe for real.
I have more music planned for release on Beatppl as a label next year as well. I have two solo projects I’ve not released yet and I’m excited to put them out into the world so that they just exist as a document of what I’m on and what the community represents. Fun fact… with the pandemic and all of its unintended side effects on the supply chain, the vinyl took twice as long as initially estimated by the pressing plant. The delays were painful. I was excited to finally be able to ship them. It made the release that much more special.
Kris: I bought Diggin In the Wires Vol 1 and 2 as soon as they came out and they are incredible compilations. Y’all, go get them if you haven’t.
And as a reminder, Osiris is Modbap Modular’s second product. We talked to Corry last year when Per4mer came out but, Corry, talk a bit about your first module.
Corry: Ahhhh Per4mer!!! I recently celebrated the 1 year anniversary of Modbap Modular and my first product - Per4mer. Per4mer is a quad performance effects unit with Delay, Rever, Glitch and tape stop effects that can be initiated with the press of the corresponding arcade button. Then there are the 2 processing effects - Color and Compressor. Per4mer essentially gives you 6 effects to use like an effects coloring box either on some elements or the entire mix of your music. It's been well received since its release. I’m proud of that. And in contrast, Osiris was designed to play well with Per4mer.
Kris: What’s next for Modbap Modular?
Corry: More modules and goodies to come. As a boutique company I have a million ideas and as many plans. I am just trying to pace myself and make good stuff as I build the product line.
Diggin' In The Wires: