A frequently asked question around these parts is, what’s next for JazzMutant’s Lemur? The dedicated multi-touch hardware showed that touch could be a powerful means of interacting with music and visuals, years before “iPhone” and “iPad” became household words. But now, make no mistake about it, new, cheap hardware is moving in on the Lemur’s turf.

I’m in regular touch with JazzMutant, so I can assure you, when they’re ready to talk, we’ll have some information. Right now, they aren’t sharing anything publicly. But I can tell you they’re in active development mode, and that many artists continue to use the devices in performance. One advantage of this being standalone hardware is that it does promise a certain amount of longevity. Glitch Mob have worked out an amazing performance with a set of Lemurs, all plugged into one machine running Ableton Live – hope to talk to them about that, so let us know if you have questions.

What I can share is this video by Dusty Kid, which shows tighter integration and clip launching capabilities with Ableton Live. Our friend Michael Chenetz of the awesome max4live.info is all over this one. Clip launching on Live isn’t new, but the integration here is more seamless and usable than what we’ve seen in the past. I’ll let you Live gurus analyze this video to work out what’s going on, as that’s the extent of what I can say.

It’s an unofficial video, not one from JazzMutant, but it’s a decent teaser. For the record, on the Mutants’ own site, they describe “the secret project Jazzmutant have been working on… the next level of integration with Ableton Live.”

I know many readers here now have their eyes on the iPad, because it’s at a price more people can easily afford. But it’ll nonetheless be interesting to watch these different rivals. There’s no reason, for instance, a Lemur programmer can’t learn from what iPhone developers are doing, and visa versa. And I suspect the Lemur and iPad/iPhone alone won’t be the only candidates.

From reader Clockwise Carter, here’s a (different) Live clip launcher, for more ideas for how this software-hardware combination could work.

  • prodavid

    Lovely as this software development is, it makes no odds to the 90% of users who can't afford a Lemur. Perhaps jazzmutant only exists for the purpose of taunting computer music students?

  • CPU

    The cost of Lemur is due to the fact that they are not cheep to manufacture – after all, the controller is basically hand crafted to withstand the demands of a live performance environment. As far as the OSC software – it is the most flexible creative OSC programming platform currently available, over any other OSC 'app' I've encountered. As cool and cost effective as the pad may be – IMO, it's not a purpose built controller for live performance. That is, unless you're preforming a Starbucks tour 😉

  • synthetic

    Maybe they should fast track a less rugged, more affordable version for studio use and announce it before iPad ships. I'll buy one if they get the price point to a reasonable level, and for all the excitement over iPad a lot of other people will too. It doesn't seem like a Lemur should cost more than a Euphonix Artist controller.

    Perhaps they'll have some news at Messe?

  • The new clip Launcher is amazing… check my personal video:

  • http://www.clockwisecarter.com/video.html <<Sorry Links not working

  • tchan

    hopefully all will be revealed on sunday (feb 14) at music alive rotterdam:

    http://jazzmutant.com/news.php http://www.music-alive.nl/

    we'll also have a live blogger in attendance:


    feels like a micro macworld for digital musicians. i'm hoping for a "one more thing" moment 😉

  • There is definitely some cool stuff to come. The rumors are flying all over the place. I think what you see is just the tip of the iceberg! It should be interesting. Definitely keep checking CDM and max4live.info for more news as soon as it is available.


  • Well, look, we have basically four categories of choice (aside from handhelds): Lemur, iPad, "slates" in the 5"-10" range (running Android, Linux, and Windows), and laptops (running Linux, Windows). I think you'll have something for every price range, but quality is an open issue.

    New Lemur hardware would definitely be welcome, but scale is the issue. It's a music-specific sort of device, and this isn't a big electronics company we're talking about; it really is challenging. And even a lot of the mass-market, non-Apple multi-touch screens I've seen have been lacking on quality.

  • Quality is definitely a consideration. The Lemurs are known for their durability. The cases are solid metal and the screens are virtually scratch proof. It is going to be interesting to see how these other multitouch platforms play out. I am surprised that google has not announced a tablet sized android and/or ChromeOS device. Supposedly those two OS's are going to merge at some point.

  • @Michael: Google hasn't announced them, but other vendors did at CES – Asus, for one. I think a lot of these devices may also branch out between Windows 7 and Android. And you'll almost certainly be able to install (non-Android) Linux on them. Chromium is just way, way too young yet.

    I'm not quite sure why people expect Google to behave like Apple; I don't think they will. The NexusOne is even more about making a device that Google was more involved in; at its heart, it's still an HTC phone, and it still is being clearly positioned by Google as just one among many, not the competition-squasher people feared.

    Anyway, I'm concerned about whether these low-cost Android devices, for instance, do higher-quality multi-touch input. Being limited to two touch points is something you can live with. (Heck, even ONE you might be able to survive.) Having multiple touch points that generate erroneous sample data or don't track accurately is NOT something you want to live with.

    I expect they'll get it right eventually, but if a lot of these cheaper devices ship with inferior touchscreens, the music market certainly isn't going to stick around, and they may acquire a "ghetto iPad" impression that is difficult or impossible for them to shake. We'll see.

  • Actually, they have released concept photos for a Chrome OS tablet some time ago:

  • empolo

    On the tracker front, Renoise is scheduled to add native OSC support later this year (we've already seen what it can do with a LaunchPad). If TouchOSC is updated to take advantage of the extra screen real-estate on the iPad, a Lemur is going to be a hard sell for a good portion of folks at its current price. Just my opinion.

  • @Keston: indeed, but that's just a concept. 😉 It's way too soon to know what an actual Chromium device would look like. I expect first we'll get Android devices, and given that they already have WebKit browser(s), you do have to wonder whether Android won't wind up being more useful than Chromium.

    @empolo: Yes, and for the same reason, if other vendors don't get their act in gear, I think Apple will capture the bulk share of developer and user mindshare on the creative applications, and there will be little energy to put into things like Android. There's a narrow window of opportunity, and it's closing.

    On the other hand, if a Windows or Linux tablet could support proper multi-touch, you wouldn't need OSC. You could just run it Renoise on the tablet. 😉

  • I feel like the Glitchmob should be spokespeople for Lemur. I've been keeping my eye out for solid, capable, multitouch screens (more than 2 points preferable). While I simply can't justify the price of a Lemur, I feel like they are at least worth the money that I can't afford. If Glitchmob tours with those things, they have to take a beating. It's good that Jazzmutant is talking up GM's use of them. Any touchscreen that will take MPC level abuse over and over again is probably worth the thousands it costs.

  • Oh yes – the Lemur is definitly worth the money. I don't regret any cent i spent on it.

  • @Peter Kirn: I agree that Android will be a better than Chrome OS for time sensitive music apps. For now I'm still pining for a proper multitouch computer that I can run Ableton on. 😛

  • @Keston: Well, you're going to get your wish. Even the new HP Slate is slated (ahem) to run Windows 7. So we'll have little tablets that run Ableton, FL Studio, Reason… the list goes on. And at least one mainstream plug-in (Circle) was designed with touch in mind.

    Now it's just a matter of whether these vendors ship machines with decent specs and screens that work. Once they do that, software devs can do the rest – and do things not currently harder to do on iPad/iPhone and Android. To anyone who says, "ah, but then they won't have multitouch-savvy interfaces" — I think a fullscreen interface in Windows or Linux can solve that. (Heck, on Linux you can replace the whole windowing environment if you want.)

  • Floor

    Hurrah! I have been hearing this M4L Lemur rumour. Can’t wait!

  • In that case I may have to take a closer look at Windows 7. It's been so long since I almost completely abandoned using Windows for OS X. Of course I'm also dreaming of Ableton Live on Linux…

  • James Y

    Ummmm…..why is everyone making this "next level compatabilitiy with abelton live"

    I mean, live is great and all, and I do use it….


    but, why does everyone think the next level of development is just in abelton live?

    I want a device that performs beautifully with whatever software I want to perform with….


  • Floor

    I agree. Lemur is worth every penny. This is the one controller I keep coming back to.

  • Did you guys see this?

    Max 5 external for iPhone / iPod Touch

    On iPad this will totally rock!!!

    I've said this a bunch of times Lemur's only future is as a software company. Hardware sucks as a business model anyway… lose the hardware…excel at software!

  • HEXnibble

    Well, Lemur is worth the investment for those who can afford it.

    For the rest of us, there's the iPad and similar tablets that are starting to come out. The iPad is capable of everything that the Lemur can and even has a higher resolution screen (1024×768) compared to the Lemur (800×600).

  • pussyface

    will the ipad with ableton control surface app be sort of the same thing at 1/3 of the price?

  • iPad will cost $499 and the good software will be less than $20. But I don't think anyone will come out with as detailed software that Lemur has. It has some pretty fancy features.

    But as a Ableton Controller/ Clip Launcer, iPad will rock! Currently even iPhone rocks as it can fetch clip names and such.

    Really looking forward to see Lemur App in appstore 😉

  • mat

    Hey, I own a Lemur and do template development (see http://music-interface.com). Lets say it clear, I love this dinosaur!

    And the m4l integration will be great!!!

    On one hand I understand people who think it is too expensive, on the other hand we spend much more money for hardware years ago…

    The Ipad, Iphone (and other touch-phones) are not compareable: Less touchpoints (you might not need ten, but using 4 fingers is quite normal), worse editors (TouchOSC is great, but decades away from the Jazzeditor…which could be even better too), no physic of the objects, etc.

    So if people asking me if the Lemur is still "relevant technology", I say a clear "yes".


  • No matter what Jazzmutant guys do.

    Days of lemur are counted !!

    They only have one great way to survive, port lemur software for Ipad, and sell at lower price example 99U$

    Who not pay 99U$ for lemur software on ipad?

    Now the power of lemur, "the hardware" just die, all what they have is a wonderfull software…

    Nothing personal with lemurs guys, is just the reality!

  • I forgot comment…….

    That wonderfull software they created, can be cloned very very soon and probably improved.

    I repat the power of lemur, is the hardware, now with powerfull multitouch hardware available, undreds of brilliant minds can create solutions, equal or better.

    Is only a question of time.

    Of course if they find the way to sell lemur to hardware to really low price, they can survive without sell software.

  • wheel


    thats it then.

    put that on an iPad (and BTW this is $5 … so indeed "less than $20") … and anyone who knows a tiny bit of max will be able to make myriad specific control surfaces for specific tasks. i've been waiting for this for years. killer.

    not to take anything away from the lemur, which has a lot of specific stuff going on that is well hip, and will remain so for those using it, but the enormous price difference and the large (and, thanks to max4live, currently quickly expanding) max community will, IMHO, make the iPad/Max (with for some, though not all, M4L) combination the killer Lemur/KaosPad/EtchASketch-like thingo out there.

    Peter, though I am ususally fairly closely in tune with your take on bleeding edge tech releases, I thought (though I couldn't agree more with you on the open/closed/appstore issues that you highlighted) that you seemed to have missed the significance of the iPad a little. Despite all those issues, and that, yes, it is just a very big iPod touch … I think it's a real game changer … surely the release of hendersounds c74 app makes that clearer than ever … no ? (not trying to highjack the lemur thread, just saying … 😉

  • I can do better with just my iphone and touchosc: clip launcher, devices control page, returns control etc….beautiful m4l patch touchcontrol :

    By the way, why all these video demonstrations have this terrible music? All this technology for that! Damn, Dusty kid go back to your bedroom and enjoy playstation!

  • Actually, wheel, if you read my post, my concern was that the iPad would dominate the development landscape for controllers and the like – and that it would be popular. My whole concern was that it would be a game changer, and as a result, would do damage to open alternatives (open as in, open like Mac, Windows, and Linux PCs, not just open source) .

    One device I think is fairly safe, though, is the Lemur, because it doesn't *need* to sell a whole bunch of units — it's a niche product.

    The really interesting question will be what JazzMutant's parent Stantum does to bring the screen technology on the Lemur to the wider OEM market, because then we could have more than just a one-horse race with the iPad.

    And my general feeling is, NO one-horse race is ever a good thing, no matter how good the product. Competition and choice are healthy.

  • Chad

    The moment that Lemur owners are dreading is coming.

    2008: "Wow. What… is… THAT?!"

    2010: "What's that, an iPad?"

    – c

  • Steve Elbows

    Maybe I am unlucky and have a bad unit but I dont think the Lemur multitouch technology is very good really, obviously I dont have an iPad yet but I anticipate it will feel better and be less prone to error (though again maybe I am unlucky and my Lemur is malfunctioning, making my experience non-typical).

    I dont think the issue of making great multitouch user interfaces should be underestimated – tablets failed in the past partly due to poor UI. There is hardly any music software which is well placed to have a UI that makes sense, they can all learn a thing or 2 from various OSC things like the Lemur and OSC iPhone apps.This is also primarily why I relish the Lemurs demise despite owning one, its too expensive to attract enough people to do too much UI innovating, and with the Lemur and other offerings it is not possible for 3rd parties to design new UI elements, only rearrange existing ones and do some scripting.

    Whatever happens, the future is very bright in this domain, no matter which hardware wins so long as there is more flexibility and affordability in future.

  • HEXnibble

    "The Ipad, Iphone (and other touch-phones) are not compareable: Less touchpoints (you might not need ten, but using 4 fingers is quite normal)"

    @mat: You're misinformed about the multitouch capabilities of the ipad/iphone. The iphone can register 5 fingers.

    And if you're comparing the Lemur with touchOSC, you're being very short-sighted. There's already a Max bridge app for iphone/ipad and there will many more to come and you won't have to wait "decades" for them to surpass Lemur.

  • @HEXnibble: Actually, I believe the Lemur has ten touchpoints, so that is ten to the iPhone's five… not that you can squeeze five fingers on an iPhone. I don't know what the count is on iPad, but perhaps also five?

    I don't think this matters a whole lot to people, of course, beyond about four.

  • HEXnibble

    Yeah, I'd imagine anything more than four or five would not matter for most people. I realize Lemur can do ten touchpoints. It just sounded like mat's comment insinuated that iphone couldn't even do 4 fingers, which many people who've never used the iphone/ipod touch have assumed.

  • Peter, if you get in touch with Laura Escude, I am sure she can get you in contact with The Glitch Mob!

    You should have her contact info already, but I can help you with that if not.

  • @Le K – hahaha, at least it isn't only me that's noticed that. The last few vids I've seen for the Lemur shows some prat with a complex setup they've clearly spent time on but just in order to make some shite house/trance/minimal dross.

    As a proud Lemur owner for the past two years I have to say that I've already thought about buying an iPad and breaking free of the restrictions of the Lemur… the only real problem is that I probably won't be able to find anyone to buy my Lemur off me 🙂

  • mat


    Thanks for the info and sorry. 4 or 5 touchpoints are really good and enough for most interaction things.

    The max-ipad bridge is quite new, I wasn´t aware of that. Great!

    These 2 facts changes my perspective a lot…

  • Lemur can do more then 10 points! And its relevant – for example if you use a touchscreen keyboard!

  • Pingback: Audio Cookbook » Blog Archive » The Slate Race is Official()

  • More iPad, iPhone/Touch goodness…


  • Last weekend Gareth Williams (JazzMutant) did a presentation on this next level integration with Live during the Music Alive 2010 Event, Rotterdam (Hilton Hotel). This is a first official statement from JazzMutant how powerful this thing is. To be honest, I just can't wait to put my hands on (all 10 fingers).

    I've made a videoclip (two parts) on YouTube.

    Check 'm out through my site: vvi-world and/or Youtube: Part I and Part II

  • Last weekend Gareth Williams (JazzMutant) did a presentation on this next level integration with Live during the Music Alive 2010 Event, Rotterdam (Hilton Hotel). This is a first official statement from JazzMutant how powerful this thing is. To be honest, I just can’t wait to put my hands on (all 10 fingers).