Photo: Gary Kibler for CDM.

At long last, the Yamaha Tenori-On, the unusual sampling/sequencing instrument bestrewn in light-up buttons, is getting its worldwide release.

And it’s going to be an amazing party.

Launch cities:

  • Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany
  • Paris, France
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • New York, NY
  • San Francisco, CA
  • (most appropriately) Tokyo, Japan

The tour kicks of in Frankfurt first on March 12, then hits the other towns April 8 – 25, finishing where the Tenori-On was born: Tokyo.

Launch artists:

  • Toshio Iwai, the man from whose brain the Tenori-On sprang
  • Jim O’Rourke, composer/improvisor/producer extraordinaire (perhaps best known for his association with Sonic Youth)
  • Atom Heart, aka Senor Coconut aka Atom Heart aka various other things
  • Pole, the DJ and electronic artist great
  • To Rococo Rot, German post-rocker trio
  • Robert Lippok, who counts “set designer” among his credits and co-founded To Rococo Rot
  • Sutekh, who spans electronica to noise collage, and mate Safety Scissors, the San Fran contingent
  • Andi Toma of Mouse on Mars fame
  • The Books, representing New York and generally All Things Awesome — I need to put them on continuous loop on Winamp just so they wind up on the top of my profile, where they belong
  • I am Robot and Proud, Toronto electronic soloist, toured with Mum and Caribou, and an all-around great computer man
  • Nathan Michel, experimental electronicist and DAT politics collaborator. Oh, and Nathan just got his PhD in music composition from Princeton last year, meaning he’s yet another person who finished his PhD before I did. Dr. Michel, congrats.

TENORI-ON Global Launch Event

I’ll be covering NYC, of course, with an awesome lineup (Toshio Iwai / Robert Lippok / Pole / Sutekh / I am Robot and Proud / Nathan Michel / Safety Scissors). But I’d love to pick up some of these other cities and do global team coverage. If you’re interested, drop a line.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I know when you’ll actually be able to buy it?


Do I know where?


Do I know how much it will cost?

No. I’m hoping less than the initial UK launch when it goes global, as that was the hope. In the UK, it costs GBP599, which, when you translate to the ridiculously weak dollar is, um, a lot.

Is this better or worse than the Monome?

They’re different. Stop trying to compare them. Get both.

  • tenori-on it's still a sexy object; I just hope the price will be cut …

  • Well, and I'm just glad to get to go to one of these parties — around Tenori-On, there's a sort of celebration of electronic music happening. 🙂

  • dead_red_eyes

    Peter, you lucky bastard. I'd kill to be at one of those parties, and to play with the Tenori-On of course!

  • Well, I haven't actually gotten an invite…(cough, Yamaha!)

    Seriously, I'd love to have some worldwide team coverage of this, so if anyone is near any of these other cities, let me know. Tokyo in particular seems like a must-have. The Tenori-On finally gets to come home. 😉

  • guidedbyVOIP

    sounds like a hell of an affair.

  • suxor

    can someone explain the hype to me? i played with this thing about a year ago, and it seemed to me like a quite cool toy, but more like a "guitar-hero-handy" for elector-nerds? im one, too, dont get me wrong, but value for money is bad. the sounds are msp, and the grafix are nice but still..

  • _object.session

    aww, cmon. no los angeles? i wouldn't expect santa barbara, but i was crossing my fingers for los angeles when i looked down the list . . .

    is there much hype for this? i hear most of my music-tech enthusiasm from cdm (which has an understandable amount of coverage) and my friends (who haaven't mentioned it, unline the monome). there is about 0% chance i'll buy one of these any time soon, though. (but then again, i don't even own a midi keyboard/fader box, which are very important for what i do).

  • wick

    the tenori -on for $1,200..ouch.. i hope they low the price. if is gonna be a product manufacture for worldwide distribution..lets see how it goes

  • timonsteri

    The first time I saw this…thing, it immediately reminded me of the very last scene from Predator:

  • If anyone in Berlin has one and will let me play with it for a few minutes let me know.

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  • Jools

    I am selling my tenori-on.

    Like new with box, accesories…

    I can send pictures.

    You can contact me on jools at free dot fr

  • OrT

    Peter, I'm close (enough) to Paris, if you need coverage there (and it's not during office hours), I might plan a small trip.

    You got my mail if you need me.

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  • jaro

    I'm going to japan next week. Do you know where the address to buy tenori in japan? I'm going to buy one. Thx for the info! 😀

  • manofmusicproduction

    jaro, its not available outside the UK yet. You can't get it in Japan for some time.

  • dc

    Don't expect a price drop. In fact, from April 1st the UK retail price rises to £629.00 inc v.a.t.

    Of course, it's possible that this is an April fool's joke and the price will actually be dropped on that date but I don't think that's likely.

  • glitch

    Well, they had the Tokyo event (last one on their whistlestop tour) this Friday evening past. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it because, while I am in Japan, I'm strapped for available cash and couldn't afford a trip halfway across the country.

    Anyway, now that we've finished experiencing the Yamaha Tenori-On "Worldwide Rollout", does anybody know where in the world (UK excepted) one might actually be able to *buy* one of these @#$%! things?