There are some Eurorack modules that seem to be everywhere, in everyone’s cases, in every YouTube video you see. Not necessarily front and centre, but always there, to the side, doing their thing. Noise Engineering’s Basimilus Iteritas is one of those — everybody seems to have one. But why?
Well, one suggestion could be that like the ubiquitous Maths or Pam’s, the Basimilus is almost too versatile not to have. In terms of function per HP, if you want drum synthesis Basimilus is hard to beat — its six‑oscillator additive and FM synth engine can deliver kicks, snares, hats, claps and all manner of delightful crunchy weirdness with idiosyncratic panache. And it’s not just a percussion module — it’s a synth voice capable of bass, leads, gentle ambient plinks or just plain noise chaos. And if you get the CV right it can do all of the above more or less simultaneously — look up Baseck jamming with one for some serious inspiration. Another suggestion is that its kick drums alone are good enough to justify its place in anyone’s rack and everything else is just a bonus.
So it’s pretty good, then? Well most of you probably already know that — chances are high you own one. Understandably, then, there was considerable consternation when Noise Engineering announced the demise of its second generation back in the summer, apparently because crucial components used to make it were themselves being discontinued. But fret not — as you will already have gathered, the third generation is here.
Named Basimilus Iteritas Alia and redesigned to include non‑discontinued chips, the latest version is part of NE’s new Alia platform. Similar to the existing Legio and Versio platforms, this means you can buy one module and then freely — as in it’s free — swap the software to another module in the range as you so choose. The other Alia modules currently available are the Debel Iteritas and the Manis Iteritas, a ‘hybrid additive phase modulation voice’ and a ‘gritty industrial voice’ respectively. By the time you read this these will have been joined by Alia versions of Cursus Iteritas Alia and Ataraxic Iteritas Alia, along with a new module called Incus Iteritas Alia.
...if you want drum synthesis Basimilus is hard to beat — its six‑oscillator additive and FM synth engine can deliver kicks, snares, hats, claps and all manner of delightful crunchy weirdness with idiosyncratic panache.
The software and printable front‑panel labels can be downloaded from the NE website, where, after setting up an account, you’ll also find the NE Firmware Wizard. You’ll have to remove the module from your case to access the micro‑USB port on the back, and from then on it’s simple to let the wizard do its (his?) thing and swap the firmware. Pop it back in your case and off you go again.
One of the joys of the Basimilus Iteritas Alter is that all of its front‑panel controls can be addressed by CV. This remains the case with the Alia, but like someone eyeing a bulging suitcase and thinking ‘I can get one more pair of socks in there’ Noise Engineering have managed to squeeze in an additional output, an Env Out socket that outputs the envelope set by Basimilus’ attack and decay controls. Useful for layering other voices for world‑ending percussion sounds or for patching straight back into the BIA for modulating its front‑panel inputs — controlling the Morph with Env Out produces some pretty authoritative kick drums — the addition also evens out the number of sockets, which is good news for fans of symmetry.
This latest iteration leaves the character of Basimilus unaltered, but throws in an envelope output and a range of extra modules for free. BIA has always punched above its weight (or width) in the function per HP stakes and that ratio just got even better.