Diary Pages from “Riemann’s World”

It’s been about four months since my journey into Riemann’s World began.

Since then, there have been three different systems, all of them in different iterations. For the last two months, I’ve been exploring the most advanced (and also most probably last) set – Mantikor and its sibling, Leopold.

Recap: What it is about

Riemann’s World is a set of sets with a metric. Or, in more normal terms, it’s about modular-centric setups that are somewhat portable, somewhat monolithic, and use mostly musical material that is not programmable or recordable – in other words aleatoric (or somewhat random) music.

The Mantikor/Leopold version somewhat perfects all of those goals: one portable modular case, and no programmable or recordable sequences. However, an alternative setup has already manifested on the map that might again go against those strict ideals – but more on that later.

The Atlas of Riemann’s World

An updated Itinerary

First, it’s wise to look at some earlier posts on this thing:

  1. The first mention of one of Riemann’s World’s systems was in the thoughts on Modular Design.
  2. A detailed description of Granturismo as well as on further (at this time only planned) iterations.
  3. An overview of the topology, ca. Riemann System time (May).
  4. Details on Mantikor and ideas for Leopold taking shape.

As of now, Leopold ist the system that is happening. Per modulargrid:

And per wobbly photograph:

From Mantikor of old to current Leopold

It’s easy to see (and formally, the only real difference) that a difference between Mantikor and Leopold is that Marbles got replaced by Bloom (and a 2hp LFO, because those never hurt). However, there have been additional major changes between what was intended for Mantikor early in May and what was implemented by the end of June (i.e. before the move to Leopold happened):

With the following key changes:

From Marbles to Bloom

Although not its primary focus, Bloom can do random sequences and then loop them. What’s more, it can have those with a length of up to 32 steps. And then have a set of branches with a length of up to eight, making it essentially 256-step-long random-generated sequences of sorts.

There’s only one problem: it won’t randomize gates/triggers. So we needed space, hence…

From No-Coast to Supercoast

0-Coast is a great semimodular. So great in fact that I’ve been overusing it ever since I got it. Which was a long time ago. So I decided to replace it, with a hand-built voice. Which obviously would be better than 0-Coast, hence: Supercoast.

Supercoast is a two-oscillator, two-envelope, subtractive design with a twist. “The twist” being that there’s a multirole module (Disting), normally used to function as a wavefolder, but which can also do a lot of other things, like four-quadrant-multiplication, rectification, delay on one oscillator modulated by the other etc.

Note that the actual implementation in Mantikor/Leopold looks slightly different; half of A-140-2 and Twin Waves are used by voice 2 aka A-111-6, and Supercoast gets an additional 2hp VCO and ALM PipSlope.

A noteworthy space-saving detail is Endorphin.es’ Squawk Dirty, which functions both as a multimode filter, highpass filter and VCA. And I’m only using one channel of its stereo operation here. I could have an 8th order lowpass if I wanted to. Hmmm….

This was an idea I just had while writing about it. That’s essentially why I do these posts.

Architecting about Quantizers (is a good thing)

That Supercoast move suddenly won me a lot of space. So I did something I wanted to do for a long time. Get an Ornament&Crime.

Ornament&Crime (or o_C for short) is a CV-generating/processing thing for modular synths. A CV Disting of sorts. I wanted to get one for a long time, but they’re not as easy to get from mainstream stores as, say, a disting, or as MI stuff used to be.

After thinking about using it as a gate source for quite some time (remember: Bloom doesn’t do this the way I want), I discovered that all of their algorithms that do that send either triggers or 100% gates. I didn’t want either of that. So I’ve been using it as a quantizer. Which is a great improvement.

Loop Cats

Doing loops in Eurorack? Why not look for someone who has, for a long time, been doing that as part of his work as an artist?

Fortunately, this hypothetical person exists. And as luck would have it, did actually contribute to an album of mine.

The DistingEX has a looper algorithm, which are four independent loopers, which are highly configurable regarding in/out stuff and control. I have them set up to record a submix and the Mimeophon out in pairs. Which means I can loop everything except for voice 0 (aka the bass drum aka the pulse aka right now the Befaco Kickall).

Filling the Blanks

With the space I saved with Supercoast, there was still space available. Even after I added another A-182-2 quad switch. So a MISO it was. Which is an attenuverter/mixer-combo.

Leopold – and the Path Forward

I already hinted at the fact that Leopold will be the last thing as part of Riemann’s World. Because I get bored pretty quickly with things. That is not to say that it will stay exactly the same as it is right now.

I’ve started a diary of sorts since Mantikor began (currently on page 18), and an action item list, as I always do (currently with only 40 items).

Part of the AI list

The things I believe may still happen are part of that list. So there aren’t that many. Unless the list grows from things I put down in the diary. Before I get bored and start doing something else altogether.

Action Items

  1. Adding/Integrating Cockpit/HiPass: I got an Endorphin.es Cockpit v2 and a Shakmat HiPass to go into the 2hp I save with the Cockpit. The Cockpit requires stupid cables I had to make. Which I did. So I still need to install it. This is mostly an audio engineering topic. Meaning it makes the sound better, but not the music.
  2. Things regarding o_C (3 items): One is using user scales. I already defined them. Another is rewiring the setup so the quantizers are not linked to the sequencers, but to the voices. The third one is moving from Hemispheres with two DualQuantizers to the standard firmware with QuanterMain.
  3. A few wiring and module placement things (3 items): One is about slightly rearranging modules, mainly in the top row. The next is about making use of Plaits’ Aux output. The third is a different wiring for the Disting in Supercoast. Which needn’t be permanent.
  4. Multiple configurations for Pamela: Pamela’s New Workout is a central component of Riemann’s World ever since the Riemann System. It might be fun to switch between different configurations easily.
  5. Disting Bassdrums: Befaco’s Kickall is a nice analogue kick voice. But not very flexible. Would I want to use a Disting (like I did in the Riemann System) with a large set of samples that I could then one-knob-adjust the character of the voice with? Would I open Pandora’s Box by introducing something with samples. I’d be using the Radio Music algorithm, after all.
  6. Using the VCAs: At one point, I thought about doing something with dynamics. Which is always a good thing. But which is not the only thing that can be done with Doepfer’s wonderful DualVCA.

A Leopold System?

A “Leopold System” would be, following the taxonomy I’ve been using so far, a combo of the modular thing called “Leopold” with another thing. And I thought about that.

What if I combined Leopold with the Elektron Analog Rytm? This would have the immediate result that I could use all of Leopold’s voices for things that are not drums. Which would be especially fun if I opted for the Disting Bassdrum action item above.

It would also mean that I had a programmable/recordable sequencer for the drums, violating the goals of Riemann’s World.

And finally, I would need additional hardware to do that. Either a TouellSkouarn Triglostek, or one of Pamela’s expanders (and space for it). I believe I’ll try that at some point…

And what’s the schedule?

Hard to tell. A few weeks ago, I stored away Leopold and played with something entirely different. Essentially, a MC-707, a DeepMind and a Hohner B2F bass guitar. I got a few days off during the following weeks. Maybe I’ll make big steps forward. Maybe not.

ANNEX: Video Material

Introducing “Granturismo”
The closest so far to an explanation (Riemann System era)
A few sets of Mantikor Magicke
The first use of Bloom (aka “Leopold”)
More or less a practice session with Leopold

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