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Colin Benders’ strange universe of modular synthesis

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Colin Benders is a conductor without a baton. Instead he has his hands on patch cords, filters, oscillators, sequencers, control voltages and maybe with his feet inside a comfy pair of house slippers. The Dutch producer is a conductor of synth modules. Modular synths are made up of a series of separate sound modules contained within a specially made case. These modules are not hardwired together within the unit but are connected externally using patch cables or matrix patching systems.

Colin’s modular setup is intended to fully replace his studio, from sequencing beats and melodies to sound design and FX station. Colin is a self-confessed electronic music lover but hates working with computers. An instrument lover, he got hooked to synth modules instantly. He is not a DJ nor does he have a set anywhere similar to them.

“I am a horrible DJ so I tend to stay away from that and focus on doing everything live,” said Colin.

He does not face the crowd while performing. A performer is generally facing the crowd so is able to gauge their response. They can catch their vibe and also interact with them. Colin’s performance is devoid of the showmanship. He generally is not facing the crowd for more than a couple of seconds. How does Colin Benders feel the vibe, I asked him.

“It is a Leap of faith. I have a certain vibe and energy in mind that I love to go for and from there I hope to make people latch on to it. I just look over my shoulder to see if the people are still there,” explained Colin.

 

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Anyone who has caught Colin on the stage would know that he is in a zone of his own. He feels the vibe of the set he is performing and intends to pass it on to the party people behind him. It would be scary for Colin to look over his shoulder to find the people really not feeling his music.

“It does happen at times when I get too enthusiastic with what I am playing and turn around to see people be like ‘What The F#@!’. But generally if I keep my enthusiasm in check then I maintain a fine balance,” quipped Colin.

The fun part about his set up is that it has no pre-recorded songs, it is a live set. So if people do not resonate with his vibe, he can make slight changes and play something else.

 

 

After quitting the music conservatory in the Netherlands, Colin formed and conducted the Kyteman Orchestra, a 30 piece group that included less conventional sections like 10 rappers along with more conventional instrumentation like strings and percussion. Now his orchestra is a giant, colourful wall of wires with him leading the flow.

“Maybe down the line I would introduce Indian percussion instruments but right now I have my hands full with electronic modular based projects,” said Colin.

India is a land that excites Colin beyond the musical landscape. He has had some fantastic adventures, played at foot stomping parties and has drawn himself closer to Indian electronic music, specially the Goa trance.

”I love the Goa trance scene as it far more melodic than other electronic music,” said Colin, adding,

“The moment I am told there is a booking from India I drop everything and fly down,” Colin signed off.

 

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