Mood on Automatic
Updated: Sep 27, 2021
The Mood pedal by Chase Bliss Audio can be mysterious, it can be inviting and inspiring, but most of all. It can be just plain weird. That's what I love about it, actually. My favorite feature is the always listening mirco-looper - constantly recording little fragments of time that playback when you activate it with the foot switch.
So the other day I got an idea... "What if I could use midi to have the micro-looper turn itself on and off automatically?" And that's exactly what I did. With the Morningstar MC8 by Morningstar Engineering and a little bit of programming via the Morningstar Desktop Editor, I found a way to turn the micro-looper on and off automatically. The idea being that if I was playing guitar or if I had a loop playing in front of the Mood pedal, I could have random and surprising musical effects that generate on their own, freeing me to turn knobs or focus on other effects while the Mood does it's thing.
So, what's going on exactly in this clip?
I start with prerecorded base loop playing on the Aeros Looper, it lives at the end of my pedal chain so nothing is affecting that loop. I also have a loop loaded in the Blooper that's playing in reverse (the modifier I'm using is stepped speed, one of my favorites). The loop that is playing out of the blooper is what is feeding into the Mood >Thermae > Tonal Recall > Microcsm, etc, etc...
The Mood has some funky things going with the dip switches and the ramping that cause it to make those fluttery sounds. Once it activates it takes a second to hear the effect which, admittedly is a little odd as usually the micro loop is usually heard immediately once the foot pedal is pressed. The Thermae set to step mode (I think) and has some lofi delays feeding into the Tonal Recal for more fun delay stuff. Warped Vinyl is off. You can see me shifting through the Microcosms presets in the video. The ones I mostly used are Glide and Blocks.
Auto On and Off
Getting the Mood to turn itself on and off was a breeze with the Morningstar MC8 and the accompanying software. The Morningstar Midi editor has some really unique and interesting features that, when used creatively, can really open up the capabilities of what the Chase Bliss Pedals (or any other midi pedals) can do.
This, of course, is only possible because the Chase Bliss Pedals can be controlled with midi (which is awesome). To see exactly what you can do with the Mood pedal and midi, check out the midi manual for Mood here. Morningstar also makes it super easy in the software because they have actually implemented a midi dictionary for many popular pedals that use midi and you can pretty much just copy and paste the midi functions into the editor. Pretty sweet.
What turns the Mood pedal on and off is the midi sequencer function in the Morningstar Software. The sequencer can send a sequence of user defined midi CC values to whatever device you have it hooked up to. In this case, the sequencer is sending two value messages to the Mood - one to activate playback of the microlooper and one to set it back in the always recording mode.
You can also program the length of the intervals of the sequence. I have mine programmed to a slower rate so that the always listening micro-loop has time to record a phrase and play it back for reasonable amount of time. This of course should be set to taste for whatever application you're using it for. For me, I wanted to create random and unexpected musical accents and this works perfectly for me.
One thing that had me banging head on the wall with programming the Morningstar pedal to turn on and off the sequence is activating "toggle mode" when programming the preset. I forgot to do it and I couldn't get the Mood to turn off once it was on. Make sure you're using the "toggle mode" when programming the on and off functions!
An interesting programming limitation of the Mood is that you can either program it to have both the loop channel and wet channel activate or deactivate simultaneously, or you can have one or the other whilst turning the other channel off.
For example you can't have the wet channel constantly running while the micro-loop turns itself on and off. The way the Mood is set up is that with midi programming turning on one of the channels will turn off the other, or you can have them turn on and off simultaneously. I chose to have them turn on and off simultaneously because I realized I could make delay or reverbs trails of the micro-loop by sending the audio into the wet channel via the audio processing toggle switch.
So there you have it.
The Mood pedal is a fun box of tricks that can give unexpected musical gifts. Having it turn itself on and off is a fun way to further push those rewarding unexpected moments and having a Morningstar Midi pedal makes it really fun and easy to program and explore just what your midi capable pedals can do. Try out this technique and see where it leads you.