Strega is a compact modular synth for crafting dreamscapes or hellscapes

Make Noise and Alessandro Cortini of Nine Inch Nails collaborated on this analog drone machine.

Make Noise

Make Noise primarily traffics in experimental Eurorack modules like Morphagene and Maths. But a few years ago it made a play for a more entry level space with the 0-Coast, a compact modular synthesizer that blended the two popular schools of synthesis — east coast and west coast (hence the name “no” coast). The company expanded that line with the 0-CTRL last year, a patchable sequencer and controller for modular systems. The newest entry in the affordable, tabletop format is Strega (Italian for witch), a complex drone machine built in collaboration with Alessandro Cortini who is probably best known for his work with Nine Inch Nails, but also released the incredible ‘Illusion Of Time’ with Daniel Avery last year.

The core of the Strega is an analog oscillator paired with a gritty, but musical delay. The delay is built around a “karaoke” delay (most likely the PT2399) with three unsynced taps. That means it’s not really idea for rhythmic echoes, instead it’s for creating a sense of space and thickening up the sound. Since it’s just a single, monophonic voice adding that bit of heft is essential. To add add more drama and a bit more bite, there’s also a wavefolding function, plus a looping envelope for creating movement.

Additionally there are touchplates on the front for physically manipulating the sound — square being destinations and round for sources. This allows you to introduce modulation with your fingertips in new and interesting ways beyond just turning knobs. There’s also a random modulation source for introducing a level of unpredictability.

Just as interesting though, there’s an audio input. During a demo with Sonicstate (above) Alessando played a guitar track through the Strega adding lofi delay and overdriving it using the onboard gain. Suddenly this simple plucked guitar melody became a transmission for a hazy memory.

The Strega will cost $599 and start shipping in late February.