The original Monome 40h music (and other media) controller has been replaced by new models, led by the new 256, a 16×16 grid. The buttons are smaller, retaining the approximate size and form factor of the original, but you get more buttons, a wooden case, and other improvements. Pre-orders are set for September 26. Lots more info on the Monome site, but most of all, I want to share two things of beauty. First, there’s Kelli’s gorgeous box design, which may qualify as the prettiest musical instrument packaging I’ve ever seen. (I think it needs a Mycelium-inspired Processing sketch to go with it.)

Monome 256 packaging

Second, there’s Brian (tehn) playing a really lovely piece entirely built of Wurlitzer samples. I’m really into his musical imagination, and the instrument design seems to perfectly compliment it.

tehn with two fifty six from tehn on Vimeo.

I think we’ll get to see Brian (hopefully also Kelli) and the 256 in person at the next Handmade Music night from CDM, Etsy Labs, and Make, on Thursday, September 27. I’ll be sure to get some photos and/or video, as well. Locals, keep your eyes peeled for coverage in the next issue of Time Out New York of that event — quite a lineup we’ve got emerging (and, of course, as always everyone is welcome to show up with projects and surprise us).

  • Jim

    Brian (tehn)'s piece was probably composed out of samples from the wurlitzer he plays, not a rhodes.

  • Wow, great musical performance from Brian. I wonder if people will view it as "cheating" that you can load up an entire library of pitched sounds but only those in a certain key so that you never play a "bum" note?

    Anyway, you can see the obvious advantage of more buttons here! Great stuff.

    Also, what video player / service is that? It's great quality compared to Youtube and how it hides the transport controls so you get 100% pure video is a nice touch.

    It seems connected to CDM so is it embedded on your servers?

    Me out for now!

  • @Myles: It looks and sounds like Brian's using mlr with live input. I don't know if you're familiar with Monome hardware and software… mlr is a live sample cutting/looping application which can be downloaded from Listen after he reaches over and plays the piano then returns to the 256 – you can hear him play what sounds like the recorded motif in altered form.

  • Erm, yes, seeing as that IS a Wurlitzer, sounds like a Wurlitzer, and has the Wurlitzer logo, I'm going to chalk this up to the various decongestants I'm on. 😉

    mlr, definitely, it's good stuff — and also suggests ways in which you could build your own Max / Pd / Reaktor / whatever software for your own purposes.

  • Oh, and the video is from

    That's totally unconnected to CDM, and it's Brian's choice, not ours — but it also happens to be, by far, CDM's current fave for video services! I expect once we start adding some new video content we'll use that rather than roll our own Flash player; it's just too nice.

  • >he reaches over and plays the piano

    LOL… I meant Wurlitzer, too!

  • Damon

    Well, now I am a bit embarrassed.

    I have been a bit negative about so many of these alternative controllers. But my mistake was in concluding that everyone who is creating these things, has an intention of mass marketing them. With that in mind, I assumed most of these genuinely clever controllers just did not have something that would likely appeal to a mass market. It did not occur to me that some folks simply create them for fun, and have no intention of marketing them. Whoops! I failed to consider that people make these things with more than 1 intent. My bad.



  • ed

    The packaging is great. It's nice to see a small operation that pays attention to details.

    The music piece makes me want to buy a wurly.

  • forget about the monome – great table/bench! industrial steel, i'll buy one of those. 😉

  • Here's a gorgeous video example of mlr, the live loop cutting app Brian's using above. What's going on in Joe's video is more immediately obvious than in Brian's. I don't think what Joe is doing with his Monome 40h, laptop running mlr and instruments in this video comes even close to musical "cheating."

    Check it out: