The Mezzanine — a layering freeze patch

Named for a Nicholson Baker novel that takes place during the course of an elevator ride, The Mezzanine freezes and layers time. Using a feedback loop, the buffer of one frozen granular module is layered onto another, allow pads to form and dissipate (if you want) or hold forever (if you want). The patch arose out of a conversation with Laurenz Karsten (Komfortrauschen) when Laurenz asked about layering frozen sounds; I suggested a feedback path, then set about to explore a proof of concept patch and… just kept working. Thanks for the inspiration, Laurenz (hope you like the patch or find a better way to use the idea).

(Sorry in advance; the video is a train wreck, but the patch is not.)

The frozen buffers are then smeared with all-pass filters and a reverb lite. Additionally, more reverb (from a second reverb lite) can be applied to the frozen layers and the audio input to help blend the two together.

The freeze function can either be controlled by stompswitch or it can be automated via an LFO. Additionally, the pitch of each layer can be shifted, allowing for ascending and descending pitches (and more complex interplays of pitch as each buffer has its own control, so one could be set a fifth down while the other is set an octave up, and the buffers passed between them will be pitched and re-pitched with each pass).

The frozen layering is not lossless; each time a sound is added, some gain from the previous layer will be subtracted. This is both to simply control the gain of the patch and because the granular modules produce some high and low frequencies that can build up; filtering is required in the feedback network to keep them in check.

The signal path is stereo throughout.



Left, momentary — cycles the freeze buffers; in manual mode, use this to capture frozen layers (this feature is not disabled in automatic mode, which allows you to override the LFO, which can produce some interesting results)

Middle, latching — turns the feedback path on and off; there are a couple of uses for this. The most practical is that in some settings, the frozen layers can become, just, too much, so this allows you to clear them. It also makes the patch into a more conventional freeze patch.

Right, latching — switches between manual (layers captured by footswitch) and automated mode (layers captured automatically by LFO)

Front panel:

Mix — wet/dry mix for the frozen layers prior to the reverb

Reverb mix and decay — a reverb lite that follows the wet/dry mix, affecting both signals

Decay — controls the feedback loop and the intensity of the layers

Pitch 1 and pitch 2 — pitch controls for the two granular buffers

Pitch shift on — turns on the pitch shifting

There is also an LFO in the bottom right corner which controls the speed of the automatic mode (there is no tap tempo or MIDI clock, but if you wanted to add it, you could do so at this point; I found it easier to find satisfying results with a manual adjustment).

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  • Modified: 3 months ago
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One comments on “The Mezzanine — a layering freeze patch
  • UncleGroOVe on said:

    THIS kind of audio processing IS the reason I purchased a ZOIA (along with having LFO CC control for Helix patches)…
    Can’t wait to disassemble and to *learn* from your excellent work!

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