On Friday afternoon, I recieved a prototype Creature from Sound Transform Systems ((262) 367-3030) and was able to spend all weekend working with it. (click on the image for a LARGE picture of it)
First, let me say it is not a "mini-Animal" though it is a small standalone modular in its own right (also a good "core" to build on for a larger system) - its featureset and usability are quite different to the Animal but no less useful or fun. In fact I had an absolute blast with this little guy!
It was easy to get self-generating rhythms and tonal landscapes going as well as total chaos. More "traditional" music is possible but probably not the Creature's forte - The Animal might be a better choice if you want to play equal-tempered music on the Serge. That said, I was still able to get some very nice lead sounds and basses that tracked properly for more than three octaves. The TimeGen Oscillator is an extremely flexible function block but it is not a one-to-one replacement for a PCO. It does, however, track quite a bit better than a DSG used as an audio oscillator.
The TGO was a joy to work with. The left side as an audio oscillator provided a warm melange for the filter to chew on and the right side, while more suited to LFO and enveloping, was no slouch in the audio realm either and could be locked to the pitch of the left side while having its timbre modulated from another source, say the top half of the Smooth/Stepped Generator patched to act as a triangle wave LFO. Its easy to see why Rex Probe characterized the left and right function cells of the TGO as female and male voices...very poetic but very appropriate! :D
The updates to the circuitry of the VCFQ filter were subtle but very noticeable...it was much easier to get tube-type harmonic warmth just by nudging the gain control. The feedback and overdrive characteristics have been tweaked to be more "musical" in my opinion. The filter itself is a wonderful source of percussion via the trig input.
At one point I had a self generating percussion patch that had four major components to the sound, including "bass" and "snare" though it was based on feedback and modulation...I could set a monsterous rhythmic pulse train but it wasn't something that "wanted" to be controlled! ;) This is a good thing BTW! While capable of being "tamed", the Creature would be a natural for Glitch and Noise...or just as a component of something larger, paired with a Gator or sequencer in an M-boat. The mind boggles!
The thing that floored me was the sheer amount and diversity of sound I got out of this thing. To say the Creature has a large palette would be selling it short - its flexibility of timbre is nothing less than shocking. It fits in well here and will get used quite a lot I think. Look for it as a major component in some new songs of mine in the upcoming weeks.
I'm currently at work on a Creature webpage and will give a shout-out when its up.