Richie Hawtin has partnered with Erica Synths to announce the release of Bullfrog, an educational electronic music instrument aimed at helping both children and adults understand how synthesis works.
Bullfrog is a subtractive analogue synth that's made up of a number of individual modules. Its single analogue oscillator (and noise generator) runs through a 24dB/octave resonant filter and VCA (amplifier) modules, with a delay module available for effects processing. Bullfrog is also outfitted with a mixer with external inputs, along with an envelope generator and sample and hold section for CV modulation.
The instrument must be patched in order to make sound, and comes bundled with several Eurorack patch cables to link up its modules while teaching the user about signal flow. There's also a slot to insert 'voice cards' which create internal connections between modules (allowing presets to be instantly patched in) and bring additional functionality, reportedly turning Bullfrog into a sampler, sequencer and groovebox.
The voice cards in the images of Bullfrog shared by Erica Synths appear to augment the synth with a high-pass filter and sequencer, while one is equipped with mini-drawbars and looks to be geared towards recreating an electric organ.
So far, that's all we know about Bullfrog's architecture and functionality. Though it's packaged as an educational tool, Bullfrog looks powerful enough to come in useful in the studio, or even on stage. Richie Hawtin, a legendary techno producer and DJ who also records as Plastikman, has shared a statement surrounding Bullfrog's release.
"For me, one of the most exciting parts of creating with a synthesiser is the playful experimentation that inspires and pushes the imagination," he says.
"We believe that the hands-on approach and problem solving that is innate to synthesis on a semi-modular synth like the Bullfrog, contains life lessons that go beyond what we can hear. The Bullfrog encapsulates the foundations of synthesis and is built with an immediate, intuitive design and a unique expandable architecture that grows and expands together with our user's imagination.
"This instrument feels at home anywhere - as an educational tool in music and physics classes, as an addition to your basement studio or even as a tool for performance on a stage."
Bullfrog will be available for purchase on August 10. Pricing has yet to be confirmed.