Late at night, you may hear them, a distant tapping of fingertips against pads and keys. They are the hackers, geeking away the late hours to make insanely-sophisticated custom musical contraptions, engineering some new forms of dance music or other electronic pattern.

Thilo Geertzen is the latest, back with an even more pumped-up edition of the step-sequencer-on-stereoids that is Lauflicht. Sure, big hardware vendors are hard at work on hardware/software integration, but this is the DIYer’s answer. It’s a plug-in that combines Renoise’s powerful tracker-derived music construction features with Novation’s popular, now affordable-as-ever Launchpad.

It’s bio-directional, fully integrated with the Renoise software, and now offers two sets of functionality. One is focused on keyboard function, the other uses a fancy matrix to assign steps to different parameters.

24 €, but a free trial version is available – and even works with the free version of Renoise and no Launchpad, if you want to see what this is about before you invest in one of those tools. Once you do have Renoise, you can operate on Mac, Windows, or Linux.

The action is best seen in the video, of course, but here’s how Thilo describes this to CDM:

The plugin for Renoise is a moving light, multitrack and multitimbral step sequencer with 8,
16 or 32 steps, turning your Launchpad into a hardware step sequencer. It was especially designed for playing live and to be capable of editing beats and patterns without the mouse. Besides the addition of a lot of smaller features and the implementation of user requests like grouped tracks support and better performance, the new version has two new core features. Both the control matrix and the keyboard mode enhance the workflow to produce creative drum patterns, bass lines and melodies.

With the control matrix it is possible to assign up to 8 parameters of your choice, like filter cutoff, velocity, delay or any other MIDI/VSTi parameter to every single step of the sequencer. To control all parameters in real-time, either the mouse or a MIDI controller can be used (e.g. Korg NanoKontrol2 or Behringer BCR 2000 or similar). Even the note value (including note length) of each step can be modified to change your melodies in a very fast and flexible way. Experimenting with the parameters in the matrix while the pattern plays will often give some unexpected and great results, which will boost the variety of your tracks.

The second core upgrade is the keyboard mode. It displays a virtual keyboard on your Launchpad and in the plugin to create and edit melodies and chords in an intuitive and easy way. The virtual keyboard has a range of one octave, and the octave number can be increased and decreased from 1 to 8. For chord creation, three different notes can be modified for every step. Sounds with long release can be cut with setting “note off”.

– 8, 16 or 32 steps
– unlimited tracks, unlimited patterns
– set up for each track a sample, sample bank, a vst instrument or a
Midi instrument of your choice
– chord mode: insert up to 3 notes in one track
– variable note resolution: 3 modes switchable (for example edit 1/2, 1/4 or 1/16 notes)
– quick clear: delete all steps of a track at once
– complete bidrectional Launchpad integration: all changes made with the Launchpad are visible in the software plugin at once – and vice versa
– autoload: new patterns are loaded into the plugin/Launchpad display
automatically on pattern change
– all parameters editable during play in the plugin in real time
– keyboard mode: create melodies with a virtual keyboard in an intuitive and easy way
– powerful controller matrix: assign up to 8 parameters to every single step, like filter cutoff, delay, velocity or any other controllable parameter and change them in real-time. Also the note values of the track can be controlled
– faster pattern reload, improved performance

The plugin costs 24 EUR and is available on There is also a free version available which is a fully functional plugin with all the features mentioned above, except the Launchpad features. Users who own already the plugin can update for free.

– Novation Launchpad
– The DAW Renoise (free or full version)
– Lauflicht Step Sequencer Launchpad Edition