Black Corporation - Kijimi
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Pre-order - Delivery date t.b.d.
- Order number: 190235
Kijimi is a modern eight voice polyphonic analogue synthesizer with a very nuanced, excellent sound. It has a simple, fully analog audio signal path and a complex, but always very clear modulation section. The source of inspiration for it is a mythical legend from late 70ies France: the RSF Polykobol. Control elements, sound generation principles and also strange peculiarities can be recognized immediately in the Kijimi. However, it is not a clone, but a wonderfully made new interpretation!
Kijimi has no effects, no sequencer, no mega multi-stage envelopes and no special filters(banks). It is divided into two sections: A finely tuned sound generation section and a complex modulation section. There are knobs and switches for all important parameters relevant to immediate playing and shaping.
For everything else there is an unobtrusive and (rather) small OLED display with 128*64 pixels. It is available for editing parameters such as tuning, quantization, behaviour and frequency range of the LFOs. The management of the 384 presets can also be done here. The same goes for the extensive MIDI settings, which also allow support for MPE! Via the USB port on the back the firmware can be updated. Also new features can and will be added in the future.
Sound generation section:
Kijimi is a synthesizer with two oscillators (plus suboscillator for Osc1), low pass filter, VCA, two envelopes and two LFOs. This is all in the right part of the Kijimi. This seems quite simple at first glance, but it is the details and the interaction of the individual components that create the outstanding basic sound of the Kijimi. Among other things, it has the ability to "sit" correctly in mix and situation.
The influences of the Polykobol are noticeable in many places and this starts directly with the oscillators. These have discrete wave shapers and allow infinitely variable wave shapes. From triangle to pulse wave. At the very end of the controller, the oscillator then jumps to pulse wave with PWM. Kijimi is not the only synthesizer that has this feature, but here it results in a real highlight, because its waveshapers can be adjusted very fine and nuanced …and of course they can be modulated.
Also some rather weird features of the Polykobol made it to the Kijimi: The volume of Osc1 and noise can only be selected in three steps (1/3, 2/3, 1/3+2/3 = 1). But Osc2 is continuosly variable. The same applies to the suboscillator, which is derived from Osc1 and always plays a pulse wave one octave lower. Via dedicated switches the oscillators can be synchronized and also detached from keyboard pitch control. Furthermore Osc2 can be continuously detuned from Osc1 via another dedicated control. However, the potentiometers for "Frequency" / coarse tuning are rasterized in halftone steps. This is actually practical. But you have to get used to it first.
With the waveshapers alone you can achieve very beautiful timbremovements. Additionally, there is a low pass filter. It is not the SSM2040 from the Kobol, but a variant of the 2044. With a slope steepness of 12db/oct it is a soft filter, but never blurry. On the contrary: Filter-FM sounds show its great agility. Its kind fits exactly to the nuances provided by the oscillators and their waveshapers. Within the filter section there are "directly on site" many controls with which the modulation depth of e.g. the envelope, the velocity, the aftertouch can be adjusted in order to control cutoff or resonance.
The second envelope is intended for the filter and as a modulation source for pitch and waveshape of Osc1 and 2, while the first envelope is solely responsible for the VCA, i.e. the volume level. Both are designed as ADSR envelopes, whereby the envelope behaviour is very articulated and the times can be very fast. In the normal setting, the end is sometimes (too) short. Therefore, there is another switch between the two ADSRs by which the times can be multiplied by a factor of 2, 3 or 4. Another switch activates "cycle", i.e. envelope looping. This is beautifully done in the style of old EMS synths as a trapezoid generator. "Sustain" no longer adjusts the level, but the time over which the maximum level is held. To the right of the envelopes there is a control for the overall volume and one for the portamento or glissando time.
The LFOs as "main modulators" take up as much space as the oscillator section. Each of the two is switchable between the classical waveforms (sine to pulse wave and random). Here the waveforms are (unfortunately) not morphable. Each LFO, however, can be combined with a simple attack release envelope that affects its volume / intensity. This means that in this section elegant LFO fade ins and outs can be realized very easily. These can then be sent to the modulation destinations such as waveshape (!), filter cutoff / resonance and subosc level. Btw: The speed of the LFOs can in turn be modulated by the velocity and aftertouch! The factory setting is from 0.1 to 100Hz. However, it can be adjusted up and way down via the menu.
Even further to the left is the second core section of the Kijimi: the modulation section. The way modulations are assigned and controlled is (again) clearly inspired by the Polykobol.
In the upper area there is one control each for LFO1, LFO2 and ADSR2 and to the right of it a row of switches. Use the slider to adjust the modulation depth and use the switches to assign the destination.
Each switch has two LEDs: green and red. Green stands for positive / unipolar, red for negative / unipolar modulation. If both are on ...the modulation is bipolar. Totally plausible, very fast to operate, always precise to control and extremely powerful. Of course, any combination of one, several or all destination in uni- or bipolar can be selected.
Osc2 as source behaves somewhat differently. Here there are two controls for the depth of influence on Osc1 (FM!) or Filter (Filter-FM!!). The latter in particular demonstrates the agility of the filter in an impressive way.
Velocity and aftertouch are also modulation sources. For these two parameters there is one control per destination. This allows a very (!) expressive play with extremely fine nuances.
It is the interaction of the individual elements, the exact behaviour and the ranges of the potentiometers, the clarity and possibilities of the modulation matrix paired with the fantastic sound - in short: The whole package! that make the Kijimi a great synthesizer. Now also ready for testing in our showroom in Berlin / Kottbusser Tor!
Kijimi @Black Corporation