The Monome‘s clean-slate grid of light-up buttons has proven a huge hit, not only among musicians but multimedia artists in general. It’s been such an Internet sensation that many people assume some significant company is behind it. In reality, part of the clarity of the design comes from the homemade approach to design and construction, and the personality of its two primary co-creators — Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain. Our friends at — specifically, resident videographer saguirl — got a chance to shoot some video in their loft.

“People have used it as a drum machine, sequencer, as an egg timer…” said Crabtree. The open-source software can be used and altered by anyone.

Crabtree and Cain assemble most of the Monomes at their loft, a daunting process that involves countless hours of wiring and soldering. A new Monome, the 256, was about to be released to the public when we visited. Crabtree assembled one for us on the spot.

Watch closely for some videos of Brian’s performance from the CDM Handmade Music event, co-hosted with and Make Magazine. I have some videos I’m going through from those events, too; not fantastic but I’ll post soon.

This Handmade Life: A Moment with the Monome [Etsy’s The Storque online mag]
Monome-tagged stories on CDM

By the way, if you’re curious about 256 assembly, there are some interesting updates over on

  • Joe Bicker

    Monomes, squishy oscillators and pizza!?!?

    I want to visit them!

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  • Damon

    Those people are way too hip, swank, and cool for me. At least there was no rock climbing or kayaking over water falls.

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  • james

    not too hip and cool actually, they seem like nice people. brian goes out of his way to help all kinds of people. took time out to provide me with info on something completely beyond the call of duty.

  • @James: I second that. The growing Monome community all sharing and helping each other started with Brian and Kelli themselves. Their open attitude created the initial space for everyone to expand in. It's wonderful.

    @Joe: Monome goes for high quality, so you know that Monome pizza has to be damn good!

  • I wonder… Did anybody recognise the keyboard? What is it called?

    Should be a simple one for you guys here 🙂

  • Just forgot: Some similar sosunding instruments qould be cool too!

    Thanks a million!

  • The keyboard looks like a Wurlitzer 200B.

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