How to recreate past works

Given the massive amount of variables that can change analog circuits, how do you perform or recreate past works?

Most of the stuff I do is very improvisational but there are zones that I get into that I want to call up again. Most of the time I can get close but it seems like trial and error.

Does anyone have any tips on how they perform with recognizable constistency?


taking notes on everything! draw maps of signal flows and make sure to take notes on all relevant environmental details that might affect things

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yeah, it depends a lot what you are working with.

personally i take lots of photos of the setups / cables / menus / outputs with my phone when im messing around -> doesnt lead to exact recreations but more like inspiration if i need it. (voice recordings too sometimes to capture thoughts quickly)

also i enjoy building things that can be sequenced (usually with midi) ; slowly working towards a hypothetical setup where everything is controlled by a master sequencer, that can record and playback / edit / arrange etc

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I take pics with my phone and try to keep notes, not that any of it always helps or makes sense when I try to recreate events.

I don’t. As you’ve observed, it is nearly (and practically) impossible to duplicate a complex analog patch, even with a detailed patch diagram.

With my LZX Modular, I find it more beneficial to document the TECHNIQUE that gets you certain outputs, and not the exact patch. This way you will build up a library of ‘chops’ that you can combine and rearrange for desired outcomes.

For a very simple example, “processed/cross-faded vertical ramps into FM inputs of 2 oscillators, output of one oscillator modulates gain of second osc, sine outputs of both OSC into logic processor generates shapes varied by processor controls”

In practice I don’t usually make notations or pictures, I just work with the patch long enough to explore the outcomes it can produce. My approach is to build up ‘muscle memory’ for patch techniques.

The only way to preserve a patch is not to pull it - but even this isn’t a guarantee of repeatability due to the nature of analog circuits and environmental conditions.


i agree, there is a concept in mathematics that is kind of the core of a lot of jokes other academic departments make about mathematicians called first principles. it is an approach that emphasizes understanding the underlying structure enough to navigate around as opposed to memorizing a long list of formulas and cases. kind of like the difference between only knowing how to get around a city by using gps directions on a phone vs knowing the streets and geography enuf to be able to improvise a route based on your own mental map

i tend to not put save states in the things i design bc i would like to encourage folks to take this approach, and also bc for many feedback based stuffs its literally impossible to just save a state and then quit and reload a new session from that same state and expect to be in the same zone. this is essentially lorenzs paper on the butterfly effect and also has a lot to do with the spatio temporal holographic principle of video feedback


(I realize my answer above is biased based on my suspicion of ‘repeatability’ in the performative visual arts. This is understandable as no one wants to go to a gig and flop!)

Here’s a deeper dive into @robtoner’s request “Does anyone have any tips on how they perform with recognizable constistency?” Patch diagrams are great for learning and documenting, but as @andrei_jay eloquently describes about, knowing your instrument intimately is the best way to achieve such consistency. You may never get the same results twice, but you will likely be able to find something interesting, if not spectacular, every time.

You will also have insurance that should a patch or settings take an unexpected or uninteresting turn, you will be able to ‘bring it back from the blank!’ :slight_smile:


for me achieving “note for note” replications of a performance is impossible based on many of the same reasons everyone else has said, but i have “modes” i can recreate and perform within. i like to think of a setup as an instrument, and i have written out “scores” to play, and to move from one mode to another. they can consist of what buttons to press and what orders, knob/slider adjustments and how long the changes should take, cables that need to be re-patched. I also like to describe or draw what the mode should be doing kinda. but tbh after i do write them out i rarely read them while performing.

and personally i like to embrace the chaotic elements of feedback and analog circuits