Gigging with the Nemo

OS_CE Forums Nemo General Gigging with the Nemo

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    Hi all,

    I’m very interested in the Nemo but I have some concerns about whether it would fit into the way I structure music based on the ability to save and reload.

    Is a Sysex dump the only way to store and recall states? Is some kind of USB storage planned perhaps? I had thought with the size of the Nemo (and it’s obvious appeal to gigging musicians who couldn’t carry an Octopus about) that more flexible save/load facilities would be a priority.

    Or am I missing the point? Is a single ‘state’ big enough to hold the framework for say 10 songs for an hour long set? I know that’s an impossible question to answer in a sense…

    I guess making the kind of music I do, which has an intricate nature and arrangements, is that I don’t always want to expose my audience to the full construction of my work.. sometimes it is good to build up from a blank canvas.. sometimes it is good to start with everything and deconstruct.

    More often than not I’m somewhere in the middle, which takes more pre-prepared material I find… if you want to make sudden and predertermined changes or play a short ‘set-piece’ and then move back to a more organic approach again.

    I’d be really interested to hear comments on this as for the ‘organic’ stuff I mention the Octopus/Nemo would be brilliant.



    Received the Nemo yesterday, and…IT’S ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!! Repeating what I just wrote on the VSE webiste: "Sterling craftsmanship, extremely ergonomic, creatively inspiring and most important of all-EASY as hell to use, despite its remarkably deep capabilities. The intuitive nature of the interface makes it an absolutely joy. Before I bought it, I was concerned about the lack of any LED/LCD alphanumeric display, but oddly the machine forces you to be more creative because of this. The clever arrangement of its reassuringly tactile ball bearing buttons combined with the multi-color LED chase lights and the 4-tracks-at-a-glance page setup brings out a natural mathematical workflow that I’ve not utilized with any other sequencer."

    As far as the machine state save capabilities for your purposes, monobass, I suspect that you’d be able to find a way to work within the 64 pattern-at-a-time capacity, particularly if you’re focusing mostly on live tweaking and then returning to the saved "snapshot." But, I guess that all depends on how long your pieces are. I originally voiced your very same concerns to Noisebug, and they forwarded me the following response from Gabriel of Genoqs:

    "This is an interesting point and was not aware that this is actually
    such a concern.
    It seems to be perceived as a shortcoming, and in fact I am making the
    case that it is actually state of the art.
    Apparently we (genoQs) need to change the way we position this
    message, as it appears
    confuse the customers as to what is really available to them
    functionality wise at that end. Here my thoughts:

    An Octopus page is immensely powerful by itself, it includes several
    program change commands, CCs, and
    sequence information, etc, so in the end it can be considered
    analogous to a patch on a synthesizer.
    Remember that what people know to be a "step sequence", is what we
    call a "track" on the Octopus/Nemo,
    and a page holds 10 / 4 of those.

    On synths you create multis, for more complex structures, and so can
    you do on Octopus, by grouping pages
    together either visually (all over the matrix, as you fancy) or
    formally using the 16 page group slots available.

    You also have a global state, i.e. parameters that apply to everything
    in the machine, and this again is separate.

    So now – saving one full machine state to flash means that every
    single page, plus the global
    settings are stored to flash, so you can pick up work where you left
    it off the next time you
    turn on the machine. Until now we chose to pack this all up into one
    single operation, simply for ease of use.

    Furthermore, you can use the MIDI SYSEX route to save pages externally
    and load them back, as you would
    with synth patches too. Or you save banks of pages (up to 16 pages at
    once), of which we have 9 concurrently
    in the memory, the global machine setting, or of course the full
    machine state.

    So in the end, my point is that functionality wise the save operation
    is only different by context (sequencer as
    opposed to synth) from what people know already. They may just not
    realize that.
    And they may also not realize that you will seldomly need to use a
    majority of the available sequencing space
    for just one application (i.e. session, track, jam, etc.).

    These are just my thoughts, and please let me know if this story makes
    sense to you.
    If it does not, we’ll talk again. If it does, I’ll try to adjust our
    own messaging along these same lines, to correct
    this glitch in the image of the machine.



    PS- to answer your question about saving more states in the flash –
    there are technical barriers that prevent us
    from doing that."

    Monobass-hopefully that helps (although I didn’t completely comprehend some of what Gabriel was talking about).

    P.S.-Gabriel, if you read this, I hope it was OK to reprint your e-mail; if not, you could delete the post.


    Hello Monobass and Breitt, and sorry for the late reply to the topic.

    There is no problem of course with my statement above, as we of course stand to it. It is hard to tell from a distance how well the machine (in this case Nemo) will suit your needs, but here some facts about the available functionality:

    – You may save the full set of 64 Pages (256 tracks) to flash, so you can have them all back when you turn the machine on.
    – You may export everything to SYSEX and therefore store several of these data sets outside the machine.
    – You may reload data via SYSEX into the machine at playtime (without stopping the sequencer), which means you can play one portion of the data while you feed it fresh one, to be faded in later, if that is needed.
    – You have the snapshot function, which allows you to remember a state of the page you are playing, let you modify anything in it (maybe change it beyond recognition) and then return to the "original" state when the snapshot was taken.
    – You can also recall individual pages from flash memory, also at playtime (running sequencer). So for example you may start the machine, load it up with SYSEX data, and then during the performance gradually switch over to the internally saved data. Just one way to do things of course.

    Whether the Nemo "framework" is large enough to fit your music, is a question I cannot answer at this point, so you may provide some more details for discussion. Hope this helps to some degree.




    Sorry to be jumping in here as an Octopus user, but what is this loading of individual pages from flash functionality? Is this also in the Octopus?

    Also regarding Gabriel’s message. I am currently in the process of building up a live set for performance, and it is very difficult to program 10 different tracks into a single machine state. The reason for this is because the GRID is really the only place where you can "arrange" song structure, using clusters. If you use the PAGE as a song, then you end up with "loops" rather than a structured composition. Because clusters require an empty "boundary" page you lose even more of your GRID real estate when setting up a song.

    Another roadblock to multiple songs is that the TEMPO is tied to machine state rather than a PAGE or page snapshot. This means that the only way to change tempo between songs is to twist the knob manually, or use a master clock that the octopus slaves to and follows tempo changes.

    This is also the reason a lot of my feature requests have been around the clustering functionality. If page snapshots are to be the mechanism to switch between songs, they need to store more information, such as tempo, cluster definition (in conjunction with arbitrary clustering of pages in a grid row), cluster repeats set to zero, etc.

    Sorry for the long post!



    Individual page load is about to make its way into Octopus.
    For the rest, it really boils down to your style.
    Both Nemo and Octopus are built with user interaction in mind.
    If playback is your main concern you may not be at the right tool.


    Well there’s some great info on this thread, thanks everyone for taking the time to respond.

    There’s a lot to take in here so first off I have a couple of simple questions.

    1) Does slaving the Nemo to the midi clock of another device limit it’s functionality in any way?

    2) Can you change pages with a cc or pgm change from another device?

    3) How long does it take to export and reimport SYSEX for a single state? ( just a very rough figure would help)

    4) How big is a single state once dumped to SYSEX? Does it depend on content or is it a fixed size?


    Post edited by: monobass, at: 2008/10/09 21:05


    1) No. And for clarification – this used to be the case on OS versions prior to 1.60, with regard to the internal resolution. That restriction has been successfully removed.

    2) Not currently. On Octopus you can, using PgmChange, but not on Nemo. Reason is, we are looking for a better way to do it, which will find its way into both machines.

    3) Do you mean a full machine state? That will depend on the number of written pages (i.e. non-blank pages) contained. Transmiting a page takes on the order of 5 seconds, and transmitting the global settings takes on the order of 10 seconds. Depends on your MIDI interface settings, too.
    On a side note, you do not have to stop the sequencer for the sysex intake, if that matters in any way to your setup.

    4) Similar to 3 – it depends really on the number of pages writen. A page is 10K and the global data is 16K.


    Thanks gseher.

    The way I’m thinking I could work well with a Nemo is to use both the Nemo and an MPC1000 to do all my midi sequencing. This would mean I would need to merge the outputs of both the MPC and the Nemo to send it to the same chain of equipment

    So that way if the MPC was the master I could sometimes switch to a blank page on the Nemo while I play a preprepared section on the MPC, then move back to the Nemo again. I’d see the Nemo as sequencing probably 95% of the time. But that 5% of pre-prepared material is vital to my music.

    So that’s why I asked about external pgmchange, this would really help my workflow with the Nemo if the MPC is sometimes the sequence master. When I go to a prepared section on the MPC I could automatically switch the Nemo to a blank page.

    I am concerned about the fact that pages can only be restored to their original location, but I imagine I could work around that. All my concerns about making music with the Nemo are gone.

    But.. and there’s a big but.

    The use of Sysex as the storage format is a major turn off for me.

    I’ll be totally honest, in a unit costing €1400 (which actually has a USB connection onboard) this seems like a very inflexible and antiquated choice. The use of sysex for OS update and non critical tasks at home is fine… I am used to this and comfortable with it.

    But to add a Nemo to my gig setup would require an extra piece of equipment to recall states via sysex. I really hope you guys think hard about this one because it seems a major compromise to me.

    I have total respect for the project and it’s an incredible achievement for a small company. I really hope this is something which can be addressed.


    Also I meant to say.. A modern and quick USB storage format would make the issue about reloading pages only to their original slots irrelevant for me.


    Hi Gabriel,
    :angry: I do not realy like what you wrote about "predefined Pages/Structures" for a Live Gig ….the Octo or Nemo being not the right tool. Of Course Octopus and also Nemo are live interacting tools but setting up a performance from the scratch with x… people sitting or dancing in front of you….its quite risky. I agree to Ripe that a pre-structured and song-orientated preperation is often needed. But to remember weeks later, what you have programmed ….uuuhh.

    Please do not understand my words wrong…I love my Octopus.


    Yeah, didn’t reply to that one, but I strongly disagree as well. It may be OK for one song to "wing it", but to create an entire set with multiple songs and transitions, something more structured is needed.

    Of course within the confines of that structure you get all the benefits of "live Octopus/Nemo tweaking".

    If you don’t structure stuff for maximum impact, you get what I consider, long-winded, live "wanking" where the only excitement comes from "dropping the kick" ;)


    Post edited by: ripe, at: 2008/10/21 18:23

    Post edited by: ripe, at: 2008/10/21 18:47

    Adam Wilson

    Omg, mutiny! ;)

    Post edited by: robert, at: 2008/10/21 19:48


    ripe wrote:

    If you don’t structure stuff for maximum impact, you get what I consider, long-winded, live "wanking" where the only excitement comes from "dropping the kick" ;)

    Hey, I’ve done gigs where everyone is glum if extensive live wanking is not on the menu! :sick: A lot depends on the type of music you’re doing – but for pretty much any kind of dance music, even chillout these days, structure is important, sometimes obsessively so (I’ve discovered through experience).
    Personally I’m still searching for the ultimate live dance sequencer in hardware. I’ve resisted gigging Ableton, although I use it at home.


    Yes, of course wanking has it’s place :)

    I guess my context would be at a club or event where you are "competing" with DJs, who get to cherrypick the most exciting parts of all the best music!

    Of the shows I can remember (of my style) some of the best were:
    Speedy J
    Zombie Nation (from the MP3s I’ve heard)
    Daft Punk (barely live set, better than their DJ skills)
    Spacelings and Bassheads (never got popular I guess)
    FSOL (if you call that live)

    some of the worst "wanking" (not to say the artist is bad!)
    Autechre (early 1994)
    Acid Junkies (don’t care for their music either)
    Plastikman at Mutek (I wanted to like it)
    Prototype 909 (sometimes good tho)
    Jeff Mills (really just 909 supplementing DJing)
    Hardfloor at times

    again, most of the artists listed I really enjoy official releases, just not live sets, just personal opinion.

    Anyways, as it relates to the Octopus/Nemo, I don’t think anyone was suggesting just using it as a MIDI playback sequencer, but having a basic structure using page sets and clustering allows for freedom to tweak some synth knobs in addition to sequencer tracks :)



    Yeah, I know where you’re coming from. Personally, it’s been my quest to try and show audiences that live, improvised electronic music cannot and should not equate to the obsessive perfection that DJs bring us.

    The distinction is increasingly blurred anyway as DJs and ‘live’ acts can be seen lined up behind their laptops with no obvious relationship between what they do and what you then hear. If a DJ and a live act both hit play on Ableton and then twiddle a few controllers or fiddle with knobs on the mixing desk, how on earth can we compete on anything like a level playing field? These guys might be checking their email for all the crowd knows or cares…

    Sorry, a bit OT I guess.

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