While looking into my controller options, I watched LoopOp’s video on the Novation Launchpad X and thought “yup, that’s the one, right there.” Grabbed a half-price one. And it is, indeed, the one.

I’d ignored it and its kin in the past because they’re advertised as controllers for Ableton Live, for clip launching and general navigation through the software. I know controller scripts for Bitwig are available, but I just wasn’t interested since it doesn’t much match the way I work with Bitwig. But it’s also a performance controller, an oddly shaped 64-note keyboard that can be configured in several different ways, and has both velocity and pressure (though not the horizontal/vertical wiggling that the Medusa’s grid has, which is honestly good for vague wobbles and not much else).

Note mode gives you the choice of Scale mode or Chromatic mode (all notes available but the scale is highlighted). It also lets you set the span between rows to “sequential” (octaves for Scale mode, or 9 half-steps for Chromatic) or to 2-5 fingers — that is, how many notes “right” are equivalent to one note “up”. It probably sounds more confusing than it is, but the grid will light your way to finding equivalent notes and it’s pretty easy to navigate.

There are also four slots for custom layouts. With an online tool or downloadable PC software, you can set up combinations of scale pads, keyboard-shaped sections, drum pad sections, vertical or horizontal sliders that send MIDI CC, etc. The one thing that I feel is missing is the ability to use a single pad’s pressure to send a CC, instead of an on/off button. But still, it’s really flexible.

I haven’t used it with the Minibrute or modular yet but have played software synths a bit with it, and it’s great. With something like Aalto, Buchla Easel V, Bitwig Grid or Bitwig’s basic FM or phase modulation synths, you can directly assign pressure to an LPG or VCA… no envelopes needed. So good.

I’ve now recorded all 7 tracks for the upcoming album, and am ready to do the mastering and art. Things are a bit nuts at work again and I’m kind of worn out so I’m not going to rush it, but… soon!

I’m rereading the Lord of the Rings trilogy for… I don’t know how many times this will be now. We watched the extended edition trilogy a few weeks ago and a few documentaries, and I just felt like it’s time again. It definitely qualifies as a comfort read at this point, but there is quite a lot of craft to admire!

I’m still enjoying Elder Scrolls Online quite a bit. Sticking with that bow-wielding Bosmer Nightblade and following through the story. The writing and the voice acting do vary a bit in quality, but overall it’s pretty compelling. There are several recurring characters I really like (Razum-dar, Queen Ayren, Lyris Titanborn, Azura) and a few I love to hate (Abnur Tharn, Molag Bal), rather than simply not caring about most of the NPCs as in Guild Wars 2. Once I get through the main story I plan to start a Breton Templar, burning through enemies with sunlight (mostly because the special effects are freaking awesome) and see how the story goes with one of the other factions. I don’t know how much the main quest line changes with faction, but I’ll find out!

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