Posts categorized "Lemur" Feed

(no)poem creative limitations: Modular/Looper/Max/Beatstep Meets Octatrack/Blofeld/Lemur

Darwin and mark


In my last post, I mentioned the formation of a collaboration with Darwin Grosse called  (no)poem. When we where putting this project together a few months back we started by defining a set of creative limitations which would inform the art for our first mini-tour through Lincoln and to Des Moines.  

We created this set of limitations:

  1. Desktop only
  2. No keys
  3. No laptops
  4. No synced clocks
  5. No sampling of each other's output


For Darwin, this meant a modular-centered rig:

For me this meant an Octatrack-centered rig:

  • Electron Octatrack
  • Waldorf Blofeld Desktop with custom presets from init, custom wavetables, and custom samples as oscillator sources via License SL
  • Instrumentality for Blofeld are via a custom Lemur patch on iPad (USB Midi with Camera Kit) and Octatrack (MIDI)


Different rigs and different workflows yield different results of course. A hardware focus means our eyes are free to focus on graphical scores (more on this in a future post) and paying attention to each other's body language. No keyboards means we have to use knobs, buttons sliders, cables, visual feedback from hardware, and in my case, physics and multi-touch through the Lemur interfaces. Again, this changes the creative result - especially when playing tonal passages without being restricted by a 12-tone keyboard interface.


If you've been following along here on Modulate This! you know I've gone deep with both the Octatack and the Blofeld for many years now so this upcoming tour is the culmination of a lot of work to create expressive workflows around these instruments. 


Stay tuned for more detailed posts on how I'm using Octatrack (see dedicated category), Blofeld (see dedicated category), and Lemur. I'll also do some posts on working with grphical scores and free-running clocks.

Lastly, tune into to Darwin's new blog All Things Modular to learn more about his rig and artistic process.

Working on Lemur Interface for U-HE Zebra


In recent posts I mentioned I was experimenting with the iPad with Alchemy, Slim Phatty, and iTnri. The Dark Zebra (ZebraHZ) release got me back into synthesis with Zebra in a big way. As I dug into the patches by Hans Zimmer and Howard Scarr,  I discovered they not only map XYs but Aftertouch and Breath controller. In considering how to map to this, I bumped into this article by Audio Newsroom Interview with Zebra creator Urs Heckman called “Off-the-record: Urs Heckmann (u-he)”. They asked:

About Zebra, in the past I remember you told me there was a remote chance to see an hardware product out of it. Did the idea evolve somehow and are you still interested in it?
I'm all for it but I can't do it alone. I've spoken to some people but I found nothing yet appealing enough to take a risk. I'd love to provide the industrial design for a zebraesque controller keyboard with 4 joysticks though.

While I think a dedicated hardware controller would be epic, it seems unlikely any time soon - so started working up an interface on Lemur with 4 XYs and thought I’d share the photo above.

Lemur Template Notes

I started with the “iPad – Studio Combo” template and:

  1. Scaled the keys and octave button down to make room for more objects
  2. In addition to Mod Wheel and Pitch Bend, I added sliders to the right for Aftertouch and Breath Controller
  3. Along the top you can see 4 XY (Multiball objects). Below the first one you can see 3 horizontal sliders that I’m going to map to physics params for the XYs for Friction, Attraction, and speed.
  4. I added 2 ADSRs (red and green) which I map to Envelope 1 & 2 in Zebra.
  5. Top right I have two custombutton objects. The first is mapped to a note so I can trigger a drone or arpegio (Zebra doesn’t have a “hold” on the arp). The second is mapped to MIDI sustain and toggle sustain on and off.
  6. Just to the right of the last XY there is a set of horizontal bars. I don’t have these quite working right but they are for the “VoiceMode” which will allow me to turn the arp on and off.

MIDI Mapping Notes

To map the Lemur to Zebra I use MIDI Learn by right-clicking on the target controls in Zebra then change the value of the corresponding object on the Lemur. This actually saves these mappings to com.u-he.Zebra2.midiassign.txt file so they work even after you close and re-open the host or add Zebra to a new set.  Note that this file is shared between Zebra 2.5 and ZebraHZ so once you map Lemur works for both which is a real time saver. Note you can edit this file in a text editor (backup before you mess with it) and delete it if you want to reset mappings (it will be re-created when after you re-launch your host and start Zebra).

In Use

Like my experience with Alchemy Mobile as a controller for Alchemy VST, using Lemur running wirelessly on the iPad to drive Zebra  is really captivating. It’s very organic and the ability to add physics with say XY ball movement takes performance to the next level.

As a result of my great experience with these controller interfaces, I find myself using iPad more  and more in the role of controller instead of iOS synth platform.

Moral of the Story

iPad interfaces to PC synths make me use the PC synths more :^)

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

Starting Work on an iPad Lemur Template for Moog Phatty


I've started work on an iPad Lemur template for my Moog Slim Phatty. This will most likely end up on Patch Lab at some point so signup for my email newslettter if you want to be notified. This is a very early version of what I have ultimately planned but I thought I'd share this as I went along.

Photo Jun 06, 8 58 11 PM

I'm programming the Lemur via Wifi, the Lemur is attached to the Phatty via the camera kit and straight into the USB port. I also have a Novation Remote SL hooked up via MIDI to play notes on the Phatty. You can also use WiFi via a host like Ableton live to control the Phatty.

Photo Jun 06, 8 12 11 PMIn this version of the template, Filter controls are in red. There is an XY for Cutoff and Res with physics controls for Friction, Attraction and Speed. I can also lock the control on the X and Y Axis. To the right Filter EG amount with filter envelopes. Under that Filter Overload.

Next are Arpeggiator controls that are normally hidden under-the-hood in the Advanced Menu. So I can directly control Arp on, Latch, Clock Div, and Arp Octave. To the right of this a little note trigger button.

Lastly I have an Amp Envelope in Blue. Unlike from the front panel of the Phatty, Lemur allows me to control more than one parameter at the same time, like Cutoff and Res, or all the segments of a an envelope.

Here is a video of all this in action.

More to come...

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO