Friday, 15 May 2015

Buchla 203 cabinet - 30 units of bliss

The ever expanding universe.... that's how I sometimes view my Buchla obsession.
The collection till now has been housed in more than one case and much has been kept (sadly) in storage waiting for a suitable home. There is lots of merit in trying to restrict the size of one's system in order to get the most out of each module. Bigger does not mean more creativity. It might even stifle creativity. But everyone is different. The Easel's 208 panel for example occupies just 4U. It's incredible for its "power to weight ratio" and flexibility. This attribute is what makes Buchla amazing for live performance.

The studio environment however is another story. It lets you go a bit crazy. I've always wanted to indulge this love of mine & finally put that larger system together. BEMI do sell lots of cases but even their largest system only uses a 24 unit  powered cabinet. That's four 6 unit boats.

 BEMI's largest cabinet the 24unit 201e-24

Bigger Buchla doesn't always mean better. Buchla packs lots of punch and even the smallest of systems can be very powerful in the right hands. I started out with just 3 units about 6 years ago. Then upsized that to a 12. When I finally succumed to a 24U I thought this would satisfy my lust. Apparently Not.

Buchla (before BEMI) did once produce a larger cabinet : They called it the 203.
This consisted of  five 6 unit boats. I've been searching for a vintage one without luck for years. Even pictures of them are rare to find. Lucky for me I have managed to secure a clone. And this 203 has been built by one of the best : Jason R. Butcher. I thought I'd post some pics just after I unpacked this work of art.
Jason R. Butcher's beautiful hand built 203 cabinet.
I've chosen to use a "modern" power distribution - similar to that found in current BEMI cases

The sculptured wooden ends of the Buchla 203

The finish on this cabinet is first class and the case is simply beautiful. Jason Butcher is a artist and this shines through. 

This is one of Jason's art works. When I first saw this I thought it was a etching plate (to print images onto paper). This, it is not. It's a finished art work. The surface is very delicate. A blend of digital (the photo) & analog (the etching).

I don't know the exact process but it reminded me of those early photos taken in the 19th century. They used metal plates treated with silver to make them light sensitive.

Jason says that the original photo is of the interior of a Buchla 100 series cabinet that he was working on. There are some power wires and maybe wood shavings. It looks like a silhouette which is what led him to print it. 
The process has lots of similarities to etching printed circuit boards. There is a lovely unity where art crosses to electronics. It addition to cabinet building and art, Jason Butcher is well known for his wonderful Buchla format modules. Here are a couple next to his etching.

More links: 
1. Jason Butcher's Touch Keyboard  
2. Jason Butchers Blog
3. JRB's official Website
4. Muff's JRB Bandpass filter
5. JRB on Vimeo
7. JR Butcher's Soundcloud

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