“Riemann’s World” – an exercise in not programming (sequencers)

I recently talked (wrote) about Granturismo – a setup thing where I played with not programming (or recording) sequences. And had fun playing it while writing about it.

And then I thought a little further and had fun coming up with a name.

Riemann’s World Explained

Riemann’s World is what some folks might call an “ecosystem”. I prefer the term “set of sets in a metric space”. There’s combinations of things (like modular builds, semimodulars and grooveboxes). All of which have in common that they can a) play (at least) two melodic voices and (at least) three kinda-drum things and b) do at least some of the sequencing in a non-programmed and non-recorded way.


There’s three modular setups (with two having two variants each), named Granturismo, Groove Riemann (2voice) and (u)Mantikor. Among which the Mantikor is a combination of Granturismo and Groove Riemann.

They are the centre of different Systems, one based on each, and each one having an “Xpanded” version – the expansion being a semimodular named DFAM (which I reviewed here and to which @mylarmelodies did address a love letter here).

Granturismo Systems (Past)

I already explained about them in the last post, so not much to say here. Except that I had a lot of fun playing it, and added a DFAM later on, turning it into its Xpanded version.

I played those for quite some time. A lot, actually. And had a lot of fun. And got fed up with the drums which I needed to programm. Or record. Neither of which was my goal here.

Riemann Systems (Present)

First, there’s two modular setups (built into the Moog skiff), which are an evolution over what was shown in the last post.

The first system in action was the Riemann 2voice expanded one – using a modular build with two drum voices, and adding a Korg Volca Kick and a DFAM.

A truly nice system. My key experiences on this were:

  1. The crazy idea to have two separate mixers to make a stereo send to the Mimeophon was indeed a spectacular idea,
  2. I really do need a filter. At least one (haven’t used the MMF crammed into the Granturismo so far, though),
  3. Within the context of Riemann’s World, having two programmable things (DFAM and Volca) kinda misses the point.

So next step: Riemann System

I set this up a few hours ago. Disting (with its J6 algorithm) takes the role of the bass drum, using four different samples taken from the Volca Kick. And also gets sequenced from Pamela (with sample selection being done by one channel of the LPZK WK2 acting as a DC source). And I use Pamela’s knob to select the triggers for a Euclidean channel for the Disting (one output does four on the floor all the time to have something to fall back to literally at the flick of a switch).

It’s huge fun! And the position of the power jack on the Granturismo doesn’t make it possible to put them behind each other in a proper way.

There’ll be some learning to be done. I still need to revisit how I use Stages (right now: two faders to control Pamela’s CV ins, one Turing Machine, one LFO and two Cheng nonlinear thingies). And while playing, I discovered a few new sounds on the 0-Coast

Mantikor Systems (Future)

There’s two variants (each one with an Xpanded version, but I don’t think I’ll use those expanded ones, so I won’t discuss them any further).

All of those have in common that I need additional components. At minimum a Mantis case, a Kickall and a uGrids. They also have in common that they only consist of one component – the modular setup. Let’s start with Mantikor proper:

There’s already a change visible to the sketch I showed before: TwinWaves is gone, making space for a 2hp VCO, MMF, VCA and a LZWK WK2. Because playing the Riemann systems had shown me that I absolutely need a filter. So I opted to leave the components taken from Granturismo as-is (i.e. use the 2hp VCO), take the only sub-8-HP filter I have that is shallow enough (the 2hp MMF), and fill the blanks with things you might always need. Like the WK2 now used to control the choice of bassdrum. Which I no longer need. Maybe I can simply leave 4HP blank.

A lot of the Mutable Instruments designs have smaller variants. Like the uGrids already chosen here. So I might reduce space demands by getting a Pachinko (saving 6HP) and a uPlaits (saving another 4HP for a total of 10). And use the free space properly, like for a TwinWaves and a filter at the same time.

This thing (called uMantikor – working title) has the TwinWaves again, and uses a Steve’s MS-22 as its filter. Which I had identifed as highly interesting a long time ago, but which is kinda hard to get. Then again the WK2, and finally I opted to fill the space with a third A-182-2. You never can have enough of those. Which has to do with the requirements for the effects routing.

Summary (of sorts)

First things first: I need to learn the Riemann system! And include the experiences into the plan for a Mantikor. Maybe I’ll only get the case and do something entirely different with it once I get it. I have a very short attention span. So the uMantikor might not manifest at all, because I need that hard-to-get MS-22 for it.

I won’t sweat it. The Riemann System is fun as it is. And has nothing to program or record into. Well, unless you do some odd things. Which I might very well do.

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