Pauk (Pau Cabruja) using a Monome 256 attached to a guitar strap, photo by Lara
Jaruchik. Courtesy monome Community Tour

The monome is coming to your town. Unlike tours organized by commercial product vendors, a grassroots effort by monome users pledges to share the music made with the monome and give back to a larger community.

It’s hard to explain the monome. It’s part tool, part lifestyle. And its openness comes in large part from the community of artists who use it, and embrace the controller’s sustainable production and unique design. In fact, it’s hard to explain just what a monome is: this USB-connected grid of light-up buttons is, by design, a blank canvas. It’s what the community has brought to that canvas that has made the monome a surprise revolution. That passion sometimes even makes it an object of ridicule – but let the monome artists show your their chops and love, and all but the coldest hearts melt.

Organizer Frank Rose shares some thoughts on the monome tour.

And since it is as much about the users and their music, we’ve got some music for you to hear. (If you’re using Chrome/Chromium, you can easily queue up all these tracks using the wonderful ExtensionFM – anyone have something similar on Firefox?)

The tour kicks off in Boston, but eventually leaves American shores for Canada, Austria, and Spain – and more dates around the world are in the works. (Got a lead on a venue in your town? Give a shout.)

09.03.2010 – Boston, MA
09.04.2010 – NYC, NY
09.06.2010 – Daytona, FL
09.07.2010 – Houston, TX
09.11.2010 – Boulder, CO
09.12.2010 – Denver, CO
09.13.2010 – Sante Fe, NM
09.15.2010 – San Diego, CA
09.16.2010 – Fullerton, CA
09.17.2010 – Los Angeles, CA
09.18.2010 – Santa Cruz, CA
09.19.2010 – San Francisco, CA
09.21.2010 – Portland, OR
09.22.2010 – Seattle, WA
09.24.2010 – Toronto, ON
10.01.2010 – Edmonton, AB
10.16.2010 – Linz, Austria
11.05.2010 – Barcelona, Spain

Each city has a different lineup (which to me is part of the appeal), and dates are changing, so keep your eyes on their site for the latest:

There are workshop/build days in Boulder and Santa Fe, as well.

The tour also will be accompanied by a compilation 2-disc, 33-track, international music release, all made with monome and initially available only at the tour stops – so go hear some live music.

Frank Rose shares more details with CDM:

We created a compilation that will be available exclusively at tour dates and if there’s any left over, I’ll sell them on the website. Proceeds will go to the performing artists. Any profit afterwards, in the community spirit, will be given away to some deserving charity. 33 songs on 2 discs, featuring only monome community members including Daedelus and Edison.

Schpligidy (Tanner Christiansen) brought up the idea of putting together a tour in April. Tanner got busy, and I took up the role of energizer and got the ball rolling. People signed up to play, others volunteered to organize events in their town. I don’t have alot of experience booking shows so I went forward, as I do with most things, just winging it. It’s worked out fairly well, with some bumps.

The goal is really just to tour and have fun. I think the result, for me anyways, is that I’ll actually meet some of these folks I’ve only talked to online. Of course, we all want to share our own personal creations with a greater audience. The monome is just a thread that all of us have in common. It’s used more as a vehicle for the tour rather than a mechanism for proselytizing.

I’ll get to catch up with the NYC lineup: Portable Sunsets, Makingthenoise, NO SIR E, The Alpha Nerd, Watson, %, Galapagoose, Cigarette Operahouse.

Hear the music…

Note that TheAlphaNerd’s music is all available free, via a Creative Commons license.

Jittery Fingers by TheAlphaNerd

Watson – Fields at Home by watson

MicrowavedBulletsDon’tKillAliens PeopleDo by _raja_

Go to sleep slowly (short mix) by noiseflowr

Noiseflowr also has a remix of the lovely Caribou Sun track:
Caribou – Sun (noiseflowr organistic mix) by noiseflowr

More tracks, for listening exclusively on SoundCloud:

And for access to everything in the monome community:

  • Josh

    looks like the closest one to me is CO or TX, both about a 12 hour drive 🙁

  • Excite!

  • flying lotus

    All i want to know is how that kid brings the 'BOOMBOX' on an airplane?

  • ha! just tell them its a modernist mood lamp.

  • TheAlphaNerd

    Thanks for the shout out!

    Can't wait for the show

  • Dang, no Chicago show! Maybe I'll find a way to go out for the Barcelona show. I wish!


  • James

    YESS they are coming to houston…I'm so happy and will totally be there Whooo Hooo!

  • edison

    history in the makin!
    mega ups to watson
    @fly lo
    actually never had TSA wink at it…
    they always get nervous about the kaoss pad though…. hmmmm

  • Where's PAris's dates????

  • @EATYone

    workin on it!

  • Yeah, if anyone is disappointed that this is missing your town, it may not be too late to find a venue and a few artists and work with the existing effort to make it happen.

  • pauk

    Yeahhh, just give us a date and a place to play and we will be happy to visit paris 😉

  • Some wonderful musics here – great tool, too!

  • Philip

    The tour website doesn't mention Boston on the list of cities…

    Peter, do you know where in Boston it will be?

  • I love the idea of getting the audience involved in the planning stages. If you bill us, we will come? Something like that.

    @flying lotus, i have been consistently amazed at how tolerant (or incompetent?) airport security have been to lugging monomes around in carryon. My 40h doesnt have a bit of branding on it, must look like a bunch of wires to the xray, 'its dj equipment' has been all that ive needed to say to be on my way. Always been a pleasant surprise, to be honest…

  • @Philip

    Unfortunately, we weren't able to book something on that day. We will be having an informal meetup and BBQ!

  • Philip


    That sucks! Where can I get info on the meetup/BBQ? Is anyone invited, or is it just for the monome crew? (I don't have a monome, I just dig electronic music :P)

  • drop me a line at frankwrose at gmail – i'll talk to the host.

  • lunchbox photo credit:
    mattie bills

  • bah humbug! why don't they invest in a factory and mass produce these (or at LEAST figure out a way to make more than 10 at a time) so they aren't expensive and hard as hell to obtain…

    that would do more for ANY community.

  • @J-chot

    they're typically made 100-200 at a time. if you're ready to buy when they're released, you can get one. there's always a few for sale at any given time on the forums. it's just not an on-demand product. the makers chose to source their products locally and not from producers where you cannot know how they make their products. its like the farmer's market of electronics!

    also, building one is a way to obtain it more cheaply. and fun!

  • We'll be throwing up visuals with some other talented artists for Nonagon and Edison at the San Francisco event. We have ohm64's though … Hopefully they'll still let us in the building!

    xxx C-S xxx

  • circle six

    The Denver and Boulder shows are this weekend!!! come out early to the boulder show, i'll be doing a arduinome workshop, showing all the guts and helping to walk through the process of building and using your own arduinome.

    love yourself, listen to good music. and see it this weekend.

    more info,