Thomas Leisner

About Beauty and Bright Ideas
October 12th, 2017

1. Unpluggedival 2017

For the first time I am organizing a festival instead of playing with my band at that festival. Together with my good friend Andreas Gerts who is already experienced in organizing events we invented the 1. Unpluggedival 2017 at our neighbourhood in Berlin. 

Andreas and I had already worked together at the Florakiezfest, where he was the main organizer and I was the responsible technician at the big stage of the festival. Since then we had the idea of organizing our own festival for music only. The result of it is this indoor festival, spread over ten locations and featuring nearly 40 acts on two evenings: October 20. and 21., 2017.


Look at the festival’s own website for details. By the way that website was realized by myself, as well as me developing of the festival’s logo. The idea for the logo came from Matthias Lopp of Graphscape, who also made the print design in correspondence to the website’s design. 

September 21st, 2016

Acrepearls Album Release

My current band Acrepearls just published their first release “Mikrokosmos” on Lalonova. The album features the band’s first team including Kai Mader – saxophone, Joh Weisgerber – bass and myself on drums. It was recorded in 2014 at Kanin near Potsdam.

December 24th, 2013

Das Lied der Krähe

Already ten years ago my brother Markus finished a book that has been available only electronically since. It now has come to a real life as a printed book, and you can get the printed as well as the electronic version right here.

“Das Lied der Krähe” (Song of the Crow) is a book about the great questions of life presented as a dialogue between a young woman and an old man. Markus had finished it in 2003 as a hand writing which I then typed and designed. Since then it was available in electronic form, but has been forgotten about, and I only found it when recently I cleared my computer’s hard drives.

As it would be a pity to really forget about that work, and as the development of printing technology made printing a book affordable, I decided to make it available as a printed book on my website now, ten years after it’s first release. If you want to buy it please use the form below to get in touch with with me. It’s 15 Euros plus 2 Euros for shipping. It has 280 pages and a soft cover as pictured above.

If you want to get an impression before buying you can download the complete electronic book here.

Download Download “Das Lied der Krähe”.


November 4th, 2012

TouchOSC Oxygen 8 Emulation

The attached file is for TouchOSC, the touchscreen control surface app for your mobile device. It emulates the functionality of the famous “Oxygen 8” keyboard when used together with Ableton Live.

The Oxygen 8 is a small Midi controller keyboard with a keyrange of two octaves and eight rotary knobs for controlling parameters in your audio software. It became popular as one of the first compact mobile studio solutions when everybody started to produce music on the go with a laptop. As one of the first devices of it’s kind, it offered power supply through the computer’s USB port.

This simple emulation has the Oxygen’s eight knobs. This fact in itself isn’t very impressive, but if you use it with Ableton Live and in Preferences/Midi you select “Oxygen 8” as a control unit, these eight knobs will be automatically mapped to the “Best Of Parameters” set of parameters predefined by Ableton for every device. So without any manual mapping you will have access to the most important functions of this software.

As a bonus the TouchOSC system is not only smaller and more light-weight than the original keyboard, but it has TouchOSC’s relative mode enabled, which means that you won’t have any parameter jumps when switching between devices and touching the knobs. And if you are missing the keys: Well, you may of course add them into some other tabs in the layout. Simply refer to my version of the “Keys” standard layout and copy and paste it to the Oxygen 8 layout.

Download Download TouchOSC Oxygen 8 for iPod



August 28th, 2012

Strange Fluid Magnet Video

With Strange Fluid we had a good time performing at Berlin’s Magnet Club last week, as you can see, or better hear, from this little quick and dirty bootleg video compilation.

August 22nd, 2012

Strange Fluid Hybrid Kit

With my band Strange Fluid I play a hybrid drumkit for more than ten years now, as the mixture of electronic and acoustic sounds belongs to the concept of this band. The symmetry of this drumkit is based on my personal preferences.

The perfect symmetry of this setup means there is no preference of right or left. It allows me to play everything with my right or left hand or foot at any time. It helps me to get equal performance on both sides which always was my first goal in drumming. It also was part of the concept for Strange Fluid from the beginning, as it helps to play unusual combinations that occur when using electronic equipment.

The electronic part on this latest update of the drumkit for our 2012 concerts is not quite obvious to see on these pictures. Of course the self-built pads on the outsides allow for playing samples. But the most interesting part is hidden in the acoustic instruments, the sound of which is beeing picked up by microphones and can be used as is.

Using my self built Quadra Pad switch in the top middle of the set, I can now add up to two layers of samples onto the acoustic sound and spice up the whole thing by using time-based and colour-based effects, usually delay and distortion. The Quadra Pad controls the software on my laptop and indicates by red lights if a layer of effect is currently active.


August 16th, 2012


A view back into my past. For twelve intense years I have been touring Europe with the hungarian speed folk band Transsylvanians.

July 12th, 2012

LogicTouch Design Mod

TouchOSC comes with two grown-up controller layouts, one for Ableton Live and the other for Apple Logic. These control surfaces interact with the application via MIDI remote scripts which allow for bidirectional communication and automapping of parameters to controller elements. The one for Logic is an officially supported control surface for Apple Logic and is called LogicTouch.

LogicTouch offers extensive control over many parameters of your Logic project, including functions for transport, automation, channel strip parameters, channel equalizer and effect parameters. The iPad version even allows for control over software instruments parameters on a separate page and for controlling sets of eight channels at once.

Given these facts it’s no surprise that it’s big fun and a great help to work with LogicTouch, and just as my Neutrum Design Mod for Logic makes Apple Logic look more elegant and clean, this Neutrum Design Mod for LogicTouch makes LogicTouch look like it was made for it.

The Neutrum Design Mod for Logic and how it relates to the modified design of LogicTouch.

Creating this design modification was relatively easy – and just so is installing it – because TouchOSC comes with an excellent editor for creating your personal controller layouts on your computer. TouchOSC Editor allows for changing the colours of interface elements and also for uploading your creations to your mobile device.

This means that after downloading Neutrum Design Mod for LogicTouch to your computer, you simply need to open the layout for your device in TouchOSC Editor and send it to your device in order to use it. You may overwrite the existing files and in case you want to return to the original layout you may get it back from the same place where you got TouchOSC Editor.

Download Download Neutrum Design LogicTouch Mod

July 2nd, 2012

LiveControl Design Mod

LiveControl is a MIDI Remote script that allows you to control Ableton Live directly from your iPad or iPod using TouchOSC. It supports full automapping of parameters and bidirectional communication between Live and your touch device.

LiveControl is a sophisticated little piece of software, it’s fantastic and big fun to use. Best of all it’s free, and the wonderful TouchOSC is incredibly cheap. So if you use Ableton Live and have a touchscreen device, using TouchOSC together with LiveControl gives you a powerful wireless remote controller system for nearly nothing!

As you may know if you have heard about my Neutrum Design series of design modifications, I am a bit sensitive about colours. This is why I changed some colours in the layout of LiveControl to fit my preferred colour scheme for Ableton Live, a skin called “Klinikal Ninja”.

I found this skin on the web, and unfortunately I can’t give credit to the one who made it, because I could not find any link. But as this skin was free to download I guess he or she will be all right with sharing it. Look at the picture gallery below to get an idea of it. It’s great especially in dark rooms, such as a club or concert stage.

For LiveControl I changed some colours to make it fit the black and red colour scheme of the Klinikal Ninja skin. Also the clip launcher section was a little too nervous for my taste, so I stopped the “stop” buttons from blinking whenever a clip in this track is playing. I also made it possible to show grey clips, which is very important for Neutrum Design.

Above: The pages of the LiveControl Design Mod for iPod

Above: The pages of the LiveControl Design Mod for iPad

To install this design modification you need to upload the modified LiveControl layout to your device and to replace some script files inside the Ableton Live application folder with the modified ones provided by the download below. A readme file will give you all the information you need. If you also want to use the Klinikal Ninja skin, the installing instructions will show you the way to the skins folder, too.

Download Download Neutrum Design LiveControl Mod

The download contains all the files you need for the design modification on iPad or iPod, as well as detailed instructions on how to install them on Mac or PC. However I could only try and test it on a Mac with my iPod. I hope it will serve you on PC and iPad as well.


May 12th, 2012

Strange Fluid No Pope Live

With Strange Fluid we released a live video of our new album’s first track “No Pope”, taken from our last show at Spartakus, Potsdam.

January 24th, 2012

Strange Fluid Bootleg Video

What a night! Music was flowing continuously from dark dubstep to straight drum’n’bass into the early morning. If you want to peek into it, have a quick look at this bootleg video taken from our show with Strange Fluid at the Supamolly.

January 14th, 2012

Strange Fluid Making Of

We produced a “Making Of”-Video of our new album’s first song “No Pope”, which shows a little of our studio work at Lauter Leben, where we retreated for a week to get the recordings done.

October 14th, 2011

Mainstage Design Mod

This design modification gives Mainstage the same „desaturated“ look that comes with the Logic design mod. Buttons, icons, meters and much more have been reworked to get to a neutral appearance of the whole interface, so you can concentrate on the colours you‘re actually working on in your layout.

Mainstage is the live performance application that comes with Apple‘s Logic Studio software bundle. It allows you to use all the powerful software instruments and effects you have within Logic live on stage or in a studio or rehearsal situation, providing an interface that is optimised for exactly that purpose.

Download Download Neutrum Design Mainstage Mod

The innovative concept of recreating your hardware midi setup as an individually designable graphical representation on screen before adding your sounds to those elements gives you extreme flexibility in creating exactly the interface you need for your performance. The other great innovation is that you can have all the songs for a performance in one big „concert“ file, allowing you to switch between songs on the fly.

As with Logic the general design as well as the concept is great, but some individual parts and components drop out of that overall scheme and have a disturbing influence, at least in my humble opinion. I reworked those elements, as far as that was possible by the applications design concept, using some tricks, so to my eyes they now integrate well into the whole interface design and give it that „Neutrum Design“ look, providing optical understatement and clarity and focusing on what‘s important.


September 29th, 2011

iPhoto Design Mod

In Apple’s photo software iPhoto it‘s impossible to hide neither the sidebar to the left nor the toolbar at the bottom of the window. The new neutral icons help focusing on the colours in your pictures, without getting irritated by the design of the software itself.

Download and try this design mod if you like the screenshots in the web gallery. A detailed explanation on how to install the mod is included with each download.

I should mention that I have made this one, as well as the mod for iWeb in my previous post, for the versions of these applications that I use. These are not the very latest updates, I use iWeb 2 and iPhoto 7, but I am quite shure you may use the mods on earlier or later versions just as well. As always, don’t forget to make a saftety copy of your application before installing the mod, and you can simply try it.

Download Download Neutrum Design iPhoto Mod

In some cases folder names in the install path may have changed with an update of the software (like with the Logic Design Mod, where I provided separate downloads for Logic 8 and 9), but normally file names for the pictures stay the same. So if you can‘t find the right folder immediately, just do a search for some file names.


September 28th, 2011

iWeb Design Mod

So here we go with another Neutrum Design Mod. For reasons of continuity the Mods for Mainstage should have followed that for Logic, but as I am working with iWeb and iPhoto all the time to write and design this blog, I quickly desaturated them, too, and I do enjoy it every day since!

As with the other Neutrum Design Mods this one adds desaturated Colours to the application interface of iWeb. In graphic applications a neutral design is especially important, because when you work with colours in your document you don‘t want to get confused with colours of the interface which don‘t match.

It took some years until applications like Photoshop or Illustrator changed their palettes and frames to a neutral colour scheme, and all that time I wondered how professional designers could work with an application like that. Well they had no choice, like I had none so far, but for a designer those colourful surfaces are just what a permanent noise or tone in an audio application would be for a composer or sound designer.

Download Download Neutrum Design iWeb Mod

You can see how the new interface looks like by clicking on the slideshow thumbnail above and you may download and try the mod yourself by clicking the download link below. From time to time I find some detail I missed, so I will add some updates to the download eventually without further notice, so you will always get the most recent version there. Tell me how it works and feels for you. I am very happy with it every time I look at it.

September 21st, 2011

Logic Design Mod

With this very entry I‘m happy to present the first part of a new series called „Neutrum Design“. It is my approach to desaturate the interface of the applications I‘m working with, in order to set back what belongs to the background and thus to focus on the work itself.

I‘ve always been very sensitive to the design of the applications I use, for they are more or less my „home“ for the time I‘m working with them – a surrounding, I kind of „live“ in for quite a lot of my time, and which certainly has an influence on my work.

Logic 9 Neutrum Design Mod

This first entry of the Neutrum Design Series deals with Logic Pro, Apple‘s flagship audio application. Logic had become a new face with the introduction of version 7 some years ago, presenting the new single-window concept and a very elegant neutral design – except for the colours of many knobs, faders, buttons and icons, which I guess haven‘t been reworked by the designers who created the new design.

Those interface elements remained the old way, which was, and still is until today, – well, let‘s say very „joyful“. Most colours are very bright and saturated in order to catch your eye for one important function. But without a good general concept, for the next function a colour will be needed that is even more catchy, which leads to an application interface that‘s not clear, but confusing and even hurting to the eye in some cases.

I find that in most cases there even is no need for colour, highlighting in greyscale just would do. So, that‘s exactly what I went for: Desaturating the interface, so it becomes more or less grey, just like the new design framework introduced in version 7. Since I saw Logic 7 for the first time I wanted to do this, and now I‘m very happy to present to you my result: Neutrum Design Mod for Logic!

Above: Neutrum Design Mod applied to Logic 9

The download link below gives you all you need to install the design mod for Logic 8 or 9. A read me file will show you how to install the data into your Logic application package. It is the same content for both versions, only the folders are name differently for Logic 8 and 9. The locations are clearly indicated in the installation folder hierarchy.

Above: Neutrum Design Mod applied to Logic 8

I have also added a Logic song file with some tweaks to avoid some disturbing colours that couldn‘t be changed for technical reasons. You may adjust this to your liking and use it as a template to keep your interface clean. It also contains the notation colours you may have noticed on the pictures to the right. The custom colours for the Logic colour picker can be installed using the colour palette file.

Download Download Neutrum Design Logic Mod

So go ahead and give it a try, and feel free to tell me your opinion about it. This is just the first part of a series of design mods. I already prepared mods for Mainstage and Soundtrack from the Logic Studio package. But there is also a very large and comprehensive set of icons for all of these applications to come, which is nearly finished just yet. So watch out for this!


July 26th, 2011

White Sculpture

“White Sculpture” is a demo video of my girlfriend’s performance we made for the World Sculpture Festival in the Netherlands later this year.

We spent some time at my friend’s place outside Berlin and filmed this video one sunny afternoon. The next day I cut the pictures first and improvised some music on them afterwards. To me Katharina in this performance looks like an alien who just landed on planet earth and wonders what’s going on here.

So it came to my mind to use a set of sounds called “Sonic Fiction” by Jeremiah Savage. Jeremiah designed these sounds for Native Instruments Kore, so while looking at the video I played on the keyboard with one hand and turned some knobs on my Kore controller with the other to get the smooth transformations in sound you hear on the video.

In order to watch the video in fullscreen mode, click the small button in the lower right corner. Click here to visit the website of  Katharina Kröner.