Koma Field Kit FX – die zweite Runde mit neuem Gerät

Koma Field Kit FX

Das Field Kit von Koma war extrem erfolgreich und weit über das gewünschte Ziel hinausgeschossen. Dabei handelte es sich um eine kleine Box, um mit einfachen Mitteln mechanisch oder elektromechanisch Klänge zu gewinnen. Jetzt gibt es einen zweiten Lauf mit einem neuen Gerät, was sich auf Effekte spezialisiert.

Koma Field Kit FX – Runde 2

Das Gerät hat mehrere Abteilungen: Es gibt ein CV-Interface, eine Spiralhall-Ansteuerung, einen Vierkanal-Mixer mit VCAs und damit ist es in der Lage, Lautstärken auch aktiv zu steuern. Außerdem an Bord sind in der unteren Abteilung ein Frequency-Shifter, ein Digital-Delay und generell können noch Lo-Fi-Effekte über einen Bitcrusher hergestellt werden. Der reduziert die Sample-Rate oder die Sampling-Frequenz.

Zu guter Letzt ist noch ein Envelope-Follower verbaut, der absolute Klassiker für die Verarbeitung von Audiosignalen. Er bildet aus dem anliegenden Audiosignal eine der Lautstärke proportionale Steuerspannung, die an andere Synthesizer weitergegeben werden kann. Schade ist nur, dass noch keine Frequency-Follower Funktion (Pitch-to-Voltage) verbaut ist, vielleicht im dritten Lauf? Der erwähnte Frequency-Shifter kann auch als Looper arbeiten.

Viel für wenig Geld

Die Menge und Art der Effekte ist für die aufgerufenen 219,- Euro  sehr günstig. Weitere Angebote lauten auf 268,- Euro , welche auch ein paar Patchkabel und den eigentlichen “Reverb-Tank”, also die Hallspirale enthalten. Genau deshalb sollte man bei der Beschriftung vorsichtig sein. Denn der eigentliche Hall stammt vom Hall-Tank und die Ansteuerung und Verarbeitung geschieht im Gerät. Beides wird benötigt, um den eigentlichen Hall zu erzeugen. Somit ist die sinnvollste Idee, dieses zu nehmen oder sich einen Halltank zu besorgen. Diese sind alles nicht sonderlich teuer – man kann ihn sich nur aussuchen, denn die Größen sind sehr unterschiedlich und die Preise reichen von wenigen Euro bis etwa 40,- bis 50,- Euro für die meisten Typen.

Die Kickstarter-Seite ist hier zu finden.

Mit Sicherheit wird das Gerät später auch über Komas eigenen Shop zu bestellen sein, jedoch vielleicht nicht für den gleichen Preis. Man kann auch ein Set beider Field Kits bekommen, dann ist man mit 449,- Euro dabei.

Koma just unveiled a whole patchable analog effects toolkit

Koma today revealed a sequel to their crowd-funded smash hit Field Kit. And it’s a whole bunch of patchable effects, for €249 (€219 for funders).

Inside that box, there’s a load of different effects to play with:

  • Looper
  • Frequency Shifter
  • Sample Rate Reducer / Bitcrusher
  • Digital Delay
  • Analog Spring Reverb

Yeah, you read that last one right – there’s actually a physical spring in there for reverb. Behold:

Looping of course means that you could make the FX a hub of performance. And in addition to the other digital effects, that frequency shifter opens up some really interesting possibilities.

So, whereas the first Field Kit depended on you attaching contact mics and working with the mixing functions, the Field Kit FX actually has a lot more sonic possibilities included right out of the box. There’s still a companion book to go with it, and of course this is already intended as a clever

But, for a kind of “weirdo modular effects toolkit” in a case, you also get a bunch of tools for applying these effects, by mixing and sequencing them:

  • 4 Channel VCA Mixer
  • 4 Step Mini Sequencer
  • Envelope Generator

All over the place, you’ve got various patch points. That’s a chance to connect to other analog I/O – which certainly includes Eurorack modulars, but these days a lot of other gear, as well, even desktop units from Novation, Roland, Arturia, KORG, and the like.

And there’s a new 4-Channel CV Interface for bringing it all together, meaning you can come up with pretty elaborate modular connections.

4-channel CV interface for communications with other gear – now not just modular, but a lot of new desktop stuff, too.

In fact, for under three hundred bucks, the whole thing looks a bit like either a shrunken Eurorack modular or a tabletop of analog and digital effects merged together for patching.

Now, this is still definitely geared for advanced users. There’s no MIDI. And the CV routing, while powerful, might be overwhelming to newcomers – for instance, there’s not a single, simple trigger in to clock that sequencer. (That’s not necessarily a criticism – the various CV options mean loads of creative flexibility. But it does probably mean this box is more for people who want to get deep into patching.)

Watch the overview video, natch:

FIELD KIT FX – CV Controlled Multi Effects Processor

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Listen to some gorgeous ambient music coming out on tapes

Okay, let’s try to put aside any hipster jokes for a moment. Maybe it’s a sign of the times that cassette tapes are becoming a scene for beautiful ambient and experimental music. It’s gotten to the point that you might find yourself paying to have a tape shipped to you, even if only to thank an artist for a download code.

Here are a couple of mixes that might just hook you on the medium all over again.

First , there’s Hainbach, whose YouTube channel full of live experiments and mixes is one of my favorite video subscriptions at the moment.

This mix unapologetically employs the aesthetics of lo-fi tape, and then mangles a bit more – with loops, with a delay, and with Koma Elektronik’s Field Kit instrument.

And that says something about what tape is – it’s not just a physical delivery mechanism, but a statement of aesthetics. The truth is, when tapes were new we had the opposite, glass-is-half-full approach. We were constantly worrying about degradation of sound and stressing over dirt and wear. It’s not just nostalgia that motivates the lo-fi approach; it’s hindsight. Now we can hear those sounds as independent from the medium, because we’ve heard the content (in digital) independently, too. And we also have easy access to techniques via the Internet that used to be the domain of a few specialists.

Anyway, you can also ignore the previous paragraph’s rambling and just listen to this great music:

A grungy, half-speed lofi mix I made in one take with two cassette recorders, the Koma Electronics Fieldkit and a delay. Among tape loops from me I mangle tapes by these fantastic artists:

Bus Gas – Live on Leave Us
r beny – Full Blossom of the Evening
Interlaken – Versaux
Benjamin Flesser – Funktionen
Me, Claudius – Reasons for Balloons
Billy Gomberg – Transitions
Item Caligo – Rest in Oblivion
Hainbach – Cello Pattern
Hainbach – The Evening Hopefuls

Cassettes are becoming a magnet for dark aesthetics and underground sounds, a new experiment in rarity and a rebellion against music’s recent disposable tendencies.

The Abyssal podcast takes this on with a deep dive into Night Gaunt Recordings out of Los Angeles. The medium’s aesthetic matches the sounds.

It’s not just obscure sounds here, either, with the likes of Helena Hauff and Silent Servant.

We proudly present you L.A.’s finest Do It Yourself cassette label called Night Gaunt Recordings. Night Gaunt Recordings is run by Ori and Chloe, both based in L.A.
Together they try to push a specific sound which is focused on experimental electronics. They had several releases with artists such as, Lower Tar, Worker/Parasite, J. de Sosa and many more. Their latest winter batch release with Adios Mundo Cruel (Pablo Dodero Carrillo’s moniker) with the title “Sombra de Cadenas, Cadena de Sombras” and Luiso Ponce with the title “Ultimo” has more EBM influences compared with some other releases. Those two releases contains strong, low and distorted synths. The first track on the tape by Adios Mundo Cruel called “Amensalismo” brings a trippy vibe with it which will make u move, a strong ebm loop strictly for the dancefloors!

Please enjoy this perfect compilation with tracks from their own releases including the Amensalismo track from their latest winter batch. and of course their most favourite records.

Visit their Bandcamp and make sure you cop one of their tapes.

Scott Walker- See You Don’t Bump His Head (4AD)
Adios Mundo Cruel- Amensalismo (Night Gaunt Recordings)
Silent Servant- Speed and Violence (Cititrax)
Vapauteen- Weld (L.I.E.S.)
The Chicago Shags- Streetgang
Sean Pierce- Battery (Clan Destine Records)
Worker/Parasite- Vermin (Night Gaunt Recordings)
Helena Hauff- Rupture (Solar One Music)
Oil Thief – Acquiesce (Chondritic Sound)
ADMX-71 – Disentangle Me (L.I.E.S.)
J. De Sosa- Lined, Separated and Marked (Night Gaunt Recordings)
A Thunder Orchestra – Shall I Do It? [Mick Wills Reconstruction #2] (Bio Rhythm)
Speaking Parts – Uninvinted Guest (No-Tech)
TV.OUT – Untitled (Parallax)
Vainio / Väisänen / Vega – Incredible Criminals (Blast First)
Pod Blotz – Flesh and Knives (Nostilevo)

LA’s darkness often has to be imagined; Berlin has the weather for it much of the year. AMOK Tapes, the cassette imprint from aforementioned Koma Elektronik, fits in perfectly with that manufacturer’s new Field Kit hardware – and has some terrific releases, to boot. Their newest compilation is a who’s who of the Berlin-centered electronic underground at the moment, a reasonable field guide to that scene.

Out today physically and digitally: over one hour’s worth of mutant industrial and techno by friends, allies and strangers to AMOK Tapes. C71 cassettes are professionally duplicated and vacuum-sealed with download code included.
Preview: https://goo.gl/VEw6zm
Purchase: https://goo.gl/FDqTw3
A1. Cryptic Mantra – Less Is For Losers
A2. Alexey Volkov – Sadist GmbH
A3. Drvg Cvltvre – Devils With Dead Eyes And Shark Smiles
A4. Vittorio Di Mango – Dream
A5. 3.14 – Stomach
A6. tot – Smile And Distrust
B1. Human Performance Lab – Realms
B2. BLUSH_RESPONSE vs. Bakunin Commando – Neon Blood Goddess
B3. Unhuman – Nezilla
B4. Ontal – Expanding Symmetry
B5. Verset Zero – Baal

There are many ways in which it matters that these are on tapes. There’s also some part of me that says it doesn’t matter. If we have to put tape on a Zip drive, then gaffer tape that Zip drive and a USB adapter to a brick, then write a set of riddles for finding the brick – for great music, at this point, it may be worth it.

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KOMA’s Field Kit, connecting contacts pickups, and motors, is now reality

So much of the idea of signal and the definition of an audio “mixer” is fixed, we’ve begun to take these concepts for granted. Microphones plus line level, into some faders — that’s what a mixer is. But why does it have to be that way? By creating a new instrument around connecting to contact mics and electromagnetic pickups, and even making output to DC motors and solenoids, KOMA Elektronik leapt out of the mainstream – and turned the concept into a runaway hit.

Here’s a beautiful video showing how one artist is making use of the instrument:

The artist, Hainbach, explains:

First full piece of music I made using the Koma Electronics Fieldkit. The kit mixes everything, controls the speed of the walkmen tape loop, plays radio, and uses the envelope from the radio as a rhythmic element.

Just the Field Kit’s crowd funding success is itself some kind of news. I’m writing this footsteps from the Musikmesse trade fair, where so much of what manufacturers assume musicians want is rooted deeply in the past. And not that there’s anything wrong that – there’s something wonderful about wandering halls of pianos or accordions. And sure enough, technology followed suit – assuming musicians want to record those instruments via gear that works the way gear that does that always work.

But it’s the flipside of this line of thinking – that anything outside that box, anything experimental and weird, would be therefore undesirable – that seems like something worth escaping. And escape KOMA’s Field Kit did. Largely by word of mouth, without any fancy PR effort, this idiosyncratic box for wiring in odd sounds and experimenting with them turned into €299,777 of its original €20,000 goal. That may not shake up the larger music gear industry, but it represents the votes of confidence of a community of people wanting to experiment with music.

Now, those people are getting their kits. And if you weren’t in the camp that sent money in advance, you can now line up to buy one of the units that start shipping in May.

But let’s back up — what is this thing, anyway?


The Field Kit is described by KOMA as an “electro-acoustic workstation.” Think of it as a signal processor instrument, a very specific sort of mixer that adds special features for bringing in amplified and electromagnetic sounds from the outside world, mucking about with them (including adding an LFO and envelope follower), then outputting them – or driving motors and solenoids for some mechanical action along with your performance.

There’s even a little AM/FM/SW radio tuner, which you can tune manually or tune via outboard analog CV signal.

It also integrates with Eurorack/modular setups: it’s patchable with CV, and an option for mounting directly in Eurorack is available.

As such, it’s really a desktop, integrated instrument that does a lot of the sorts of tasks that normally required some DIY electronics, for experimental performance and sound art and installation.

If I’m describing this concept badly, someone definitely got it. 350 rewards have already shipped out, with another 750 of them on their way. There are going to be a lot of these in the world, and that itself is lovely.

If you want one for yourself, it will run you €179.00 (assemble it yourself) or €229.00 (pre-assembled). Then you probably want the accessory kits, which get you up and running with some fun noise discovery tasks straight away.


I think actually the “Expansion Pack” is terribly clever. It comes with a speaker, contact mics, an electro-magnetic pickup, a little solenoid (for hitting stuff), a DC motor, a speaker, and patch cables. Plus, while half the fun is discovering objects to play, you’ll find springs, clamps, and the like in the bag.

The Kickstarter project is still the place to find the most detailed explanation of what the whole kit is and how it works:

FIELD KIT – Electroacoustic Workstation

The product page has all the ordering details (now that the crowd funding campaign is over):

Field Kit

If you got one, and make something nice with it, do share with us!

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