Teletype Studies Part 1 from tehn on Vimeo.

We have inherited from the last century a whole language built from the archaic details of office machines.

And we use all of these for music. We patch together telephone cords between modules, via the tactile interface once used to connect calls. We type on keyboards and point with devices like mice. We have grids of pixels, constructions that once plotted the trajectory of missiles before they were repurposed for simply games about missiles (and email, and Facebook, and everything else). We use code, and language, and turn dials, and press light-up buttons.

What’s beautiful about the work of Brain Crabtree (tehn) on monome is the way in which all of this is reduced to its barest elements, like poetry.

Teletype Studies Part 2 from tehn on Vimeo.

Teletype Studies Part 3 from tehn on Vimeo.

In “Teletype Studies,” you learn how to use code, typing ultra-simple commands in order to make music that evolves algorithmically. But you also see the elegance of some of the important musical objects of our time. A small shelf of Eurorack modules connected by a lattice of cables produces sound. A monome grid acts as the world’s most minimalistic display/touch UI, its low-resolution grid blinking in time. A Roland Space Echo does a cameo with its rich delays. And the Teletype module and display sit mostly untouched, a few simple codes causing whole musical worlds to unfold. The cassette tapes, I assume, can be safely assumed to be nostalgic decoration, or perhaps a technological momento mori, reminder of the impending obsolescence of storage media and musical expressions themselves.

It’s all old, but new, but somehow both.

This is now how futuristic music looks today, precisely because it’s so mindful of the past. In some generations, you imagine someone will make this music in the way people pick up a baroque violin today. (Hopefully not in some post-apocalyptic bunker as one of the last surviving humans, but you get my point.) They’ll do so because typing some code and turning a knob and pressing a button are as second-nature as bowing a string.

tts3

It’s fun to read the tutorials and understand the structure even if you’ve no intention to buy the hardware. And it is oddly entertaining. In a line or two of code, you produce lists, or do some math, or create edges and shapes. All of it then turns into musical patterns – some frantic and nervous, some slow and, well, noodle-y.

And from the digital numbers and code, you’ll also be messing about with volts – there’s your analog bit. Turn knobs, produces voltage to run through wires, and the skeleton of the number and logic structure made in digital form turns into the analog synth-y stuff.

Teletype Studies Part 4 from tehn on Vimeo.

Teletype Studies Part 5 from tehn on Vimeo.

More:

Teletype [documentation, monome.org]

Teletype Studies

plus part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5. Part 6 coming soon.

and our previous coverage: This Teletype Eurorack from monome is the Nerdiest Module Ever (intended, truly, as my highest form of compliment)

teletype introduction from tehn on Vimeo.

modular-1p

  • Compare and contrast (and sample) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMvs1t1CEH8

    I wrote a music sequencer that used the KSR-33’s paper tape reader (about 10 cps) in high school.

    • Beautiful! Yeah, the Teletype thing is funny on one level – this is really about algorithmic code.

  • Compare and contrast (and sample) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMvs1t1CEH8

    I wrote a music sequencer that used the KSR-33’s paper tape reader (about 10 cps) in high school.

    • Beautiful! Yeah, the Teletype thing is funny on one level – this is really about algorithmic code.

  • Compare and contrast (and sample) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMvs1t1CEH8

    I wrote a music sequencer that used the KSR-33’s paper tape reader (about 10 cps) in high school.

    • Beautiful! Yeah, the Teletype thing is funny on one level – this is really about algorithmic code.

  • Eoin Coughlan

    monome are ridiculously overpriced. these videos only serve to highlight that. €1350 for what is essentially a sequencer

    • Wait a minute, it’s $480 for a powerful and unique sequencer module and they throw in a keyboard.

      You don’t need the monome here in order to use the module. (Are you including its price in your number above?)

      Now, Eurorack in general I think isn’t cheap – and that can be a great argument for, say, laptops, which remain very cheap even when loaded up with software. But that doesn’t have anything to do with pricing on the monome.

      • Apeirophobe

        This is way more than a sequencer and for a Eurorack module is very reasonably priced imho. Aside from that, it is one of the most inspirational and fun to use pieces of hardware I’ve acquired. The syntax is very simple but at the same time very complex compositions can be created. I don’t own any other Monome hardware by the way but this integrates very nicely with the rest of my modular, my Analog4 via Synapse and my Mac via Expert Sleepers.

        • chap

          This absolutely everything but overpriced. Apart from all creative uses you can make, this thing can replace so many modules and could be much expensive just for this reason.
          And it is surprisingly extremely fun to code.

      • Eoin Coughlan

        Yeah the price I was looking at included the monome unit. In hindsight perhaps it’s not that highly priced.

    • lumpy

      Euro rack stuff in general is over priced. if you break down the BOM, the markup on most modules is greater than the iPhone. Some modules are absurd… it’s like $10 worth of parts selling for $400. Monome stuff at least is very polished and pro.

      • c0rpse

        Do you think the iPhone should have a higher markup than a Eurorack module? The iphone is not a luxury good, it’s mass market. And the BOM is only a portion of the cost of the module. BOM, Faceplate, PCB, Knobs, and assembly. That doesn’t even include costs on R&D, which I doubt any of the company factor in. Take the time to run the numbers on building and selling your own module. It will not make you rich. These people do it for other reasons.

        • Right, exactly – I’m mystified by people who believe any goods should be sold at the cost of their BOM. Let’s apply this metaphor to food.

          “The markup on this hamburger is greater than the cost of materials of the feed used on the animal.”

          “Right, because I figured in the cost of owning the land, the labor costs of working the land, the costs of processing and packaging and shipping the meat to you, plus everyone paid in that operation, and then at the end of the day made sure I could eat and feed my kids.”

          • Vincent

            I am currently saving up and planning to build a modular. Which modules are so badly built then? Or is this just bs? I had my heart set on MakeNoise and Endorphines modules…

          • c0rpse

            To my knowledge, there aren’t any modules with widespread failure. Usually when someone calls a module badly built they are referring to the knobs being wobbly, which in reality is not an issue at all. I would suggest buying 1 or 2 modules at a time, used. You will inevitably end up selling some modules you try. Finding a setup that works for you can take a while.

        • lumpy

          Well, I’m an EE and have run the numbers and built modules, MIDI controllers, robots, etc.

          I’m not sure exactly how I feel. Yes, I think the iPhone markup is justified as it defined the smartphone and is a premium piece of kit. But I know what you mean about economies of scale.

          Under the hood of most euro rack modules is just a bunch of off the shelf consumer parts you can buy from Mouser. It’s electronic circuits and concepts that have been around for almost half a century. The knobs and faceplates are the most expensive part.

          I get what you’re saying but I just don’t really agree. Most eurorack stuff is not cutting edge. It’s Apple I level electronics in 2015, if that.

          • Real talk

            When you start making these 99 dollar cutting edge eurorack modules holler at your boy. Until then you’re just trolling.

          • lumpy

            Where did I say 99 dollars? I said a $400 module is made out of $10 worth of electronics.

      • Do tell me more about this $400 module with $10 in parts, because that person is a business genius.

        Unfortunately, I … don’t think you’re right about that. 😉

      • Derpatron9000

        It cost less than 1 USD to FAB your CPU, why should it cost more than 1 USD? Research, development, testing, building the FAB plant capible of mass producing the CPU, documentation, paying people who do all this, shipping…….. should I go on?

        • lumpy

          You don’t need to go on. I’m well aware of the costs behind consumer electronics, both boutique and mass produced.

          • brian crabtree

            Please don’t spread misinformation under the guise of professional authority.

            One day, when/if I have time, I’ll write up a long article describing the reality of small manufacturing over the last decade.

          • lumpy

            I don’t appreciate being told that I am spreading misinformation. I do happen to know what I’m talking about as this is my industry, too. It would be interesting to read your article, though.

          • brian crabtree

            “I said a $400 module is made out of $10 worth of electronics.”

            There are probably less than a handful of eurorack modules with a $10 BOM, and those typically substantially under $100 retail.

            For a $400 module (that we make) you’re off by an order of magnitude. That degree of mis-estimation qualifies as trolling.

            Also use your real name.

  • Eoin Coughlan

    monome are ridiculously overpriced. these videos only serve to highlight that. €1350 for what is essentially a sequencer

    • Wait a minute, it’s $480 for a powerful and unique sequencer module and they throw in a keyboard.

      You don’t need the monome here in order to use the module. (Are you including its price in your number above?)

      Now, Eurorack in general I think isn’t cheap – and that can be a great argument for, say, laptops, which remain very cheap even when loaded up with software. But that doesn’t have anything to do with pricing on the monome.

      • Apeirophobe

        This is way more than a sequencer and for a Eurorack module is very reasonably priced imho. Aside from that, it is one of the most inspirational and fun to use pieces of hardware I’ve acquired. The syntax is very simple but at the same time very complex compositions can be created. I don’t own any other Monome hardware by the way but this integrates very nicely with the rest of my modular, my Analog4 via Synapse and my Mac via Expert Sleepers.

        • chap

          This is absolutely everything but overpriced. Apart from all creative uses you can make, this thing can replace so many modules and could be much expensive just for this reason.
          And it is surprisingly extremely fun to code.

      • Eoin Coughlan

        Yeah the price I was looking at included the monome unit. In hindsight perhaps it’s not that highly priced.

    • lumpy

      Euro rack stuff in general is over priced. if you break down the BOM, the markup on most modules is greater than the iPhone. Some modules are absurd… it’s like $10 worth of parts selling for $400. Monome stuff at least is very polished and pro.

      • c0rpse

        Do you think the iPhone should have a higher markup than a Eurorack module? The iphone is not a luxury good, it’s mass market. And the BOM is only a portion of the cost of the module. BOM, Faceplate, PCB, Knobs, and assembly. That doesn’t even include costs on R&D, which I doubt any of the company factor in. Take the time to run the numbers on building and selling your own module. It will not make you rich. These people do it for other reasons.

        • Right, exactly – I’m mystified by people who believe any goods should be sold at the cost of their BOM. Let’s apply this metaphor to food.

          “The markup on this hamburger is greater than the cost of materials of the feed used on the animal.”

          “Right, because I figured in the cost of owning the land, the labor costs of working the land, the costs of processing and packaging and shipping the meat to you, plus everyone paid in that operation, and then at the end of the day made sure I could feed myself and my kids.”

          Come to think of it, I literally know some modular makers with kids. Sheesh.

          • Vincent

            I am currently saving up and planning to build a modular. Which modules are so badly built then? Or is this just bs? I had my heart set on MakeNoise and Endorphines modules…

          • c0rpse

            To my knowledge, there aren’t any modules with widespread failure. Usually when someone calls a module badly built they are referring to the knobs being wobbly, which in reality is not an issue at all. I would suggest buying 1 or 2 modules at a time, used. You will inevitably end up selling some modules you try. Finding a setup that works for you can take a while.

        • lumpy

          Well, I’m an EE and have run the numbers and built modules, MIDI controllers, robots, etc.

          I’m not sure exactly how I feel. Yes, I think the iPhone markup is justified as it defined the smartphone and is a premium piece of kit. But I know what you mean about economies of scale.

          Under the hood of most euro rack modules is just a bunch of off the shelf consumer parts you can buy from Mouser. It’s electronic circuits and concepts that have been around for almost half a century. The knobs and faceplates are the most expensive part.

          I get what you’re saying but I just don’t really agree. Most eurorack stuff is not cutting edge. It’s Apple I level electronics in 2015, if that.

          • Real talk

            When you start making these 99 dollar cutting edge eurorack modules holler at your boy. Until then you’re just trolling.

          • lumpy

            Where did I say 99 dollars? I said a $400 module is made out of $10 worth of electronics.

      • Do tell me more about this $400 module with $10 in parts, because that person is a business genius.

        Unfortunately, I … don’t think you’re right about that. 😉

      • Derpatron9000

        It cost less than 1 USD to FAB your CPU, why should it cost more than 1 USD? Research, development, testing, building the FAB plant capible of mass producing the CPU, documentation, paying people who do all this, shipping…….. should I go on?

        • lumpy

          You don’t need to go on. I’m well aware of the costs behind consumer electronics, both boutique and mass produced.

          • brian crabtree

            Please don’t spread misinformation under the guise of professional authority.

            One day, when/if I have time, I’ll write up a long article describing the reality of small manufacturing over the last decade.

          • lumpy

            I don’t appreciate being told that I am spreading misinformation. I do happen to know what I’m talking about as this is my industry, too. It would be interesting to read your article, though.

          • brian crabtree

            “I said a $400 module is made out of $10 worth of electronics.”

            There are probably less than a handful of eurorack modules with a $10 BOM, and those typically substantially under $100 retail.

            For a $400 module (that we’d make) you’re off by an order of magnitude. That degree of mis-estimation qualifies as trolling.

            Also use your real name.

  • Eoin Coughlan

    monome are ridiculously overpriced. these videos only serve to highlight that. €1350 for what is essentially a sequencer

    • Wait a minute, it’s $480 for a powerful and unique sequencer module and they throw in a keyboard.

      You don’t need the monome here in order to use the module. (Are you including its price in your number above?)

      Now, Eurorack in general I think isn’t cheap – and that can be a great argument for, say, laptops, which remain very cheap even when loaded up with software. But that doesn’t have anything to do with pricing on the monome.

      • Apeirophobe

        This is way more than a sequencer and for a Eurorack module is very reasonably priced imho. Aside from that, it is one of the most inspirational and fun to use pieces of hardware I’ve acquired. The syntax is very simple but at the same time very complex compositions can be created. I don’t own any other Monome hardware by the way but this integrates very nicely with the rest of my modular, my Analog4 via Synapse and my Mac via Expert Sleepers.

        • chap

          This is absolutely everything but overpriced. Apart from all creative uses you can make, this thing can replace so many modules and could be much expensive just for this reason.
          And it is surprisingly extremely fun to code.

      • Eoin Coughlan

        Yeah the price I was looking at included the monome unit. In hindsight perhaps it’s not that highly priced.

    • lumpy

      Euro rack stuff in general is over priced. if you break down the BOM, the markup on most modules is greater than the iPhone. Some modules are absurd… it’s like $10 worth of parts selling for $400. Monome stuff at least is very polished and pro.

      • c0rpse

        Do you think the iPhone should have a higher markup than a Eurorack module? The iphone is not a luxury good, it’s mass market. And the BOM is only a portion of the cost of the module. BOM, Faceplate, PCB, Knobs, and assembly. That doesn’t even include costs on R&D, which I doubt any of the company factor in. Take the time to run the numbers on building and selling your own module. It will not make you rich. These people do it for other reasons.

        • Right, exactly – I’m mystified by people who believe any goods should be sold at the cost of their BOM. Let’s apply this metaphor to food.

          “The markup on this hamburger is greater than the cost of materials of the feed used on the animal.”

          “Right, because I figured in the cost of owning the land, the labor costs of working the land, the costs of processing and packaging and shipping the meat to you, plus everyone paid in that operation, and then at the end of the day made sure I could feed myself and my kids.”

          Come to think of it, I literally know some modular makers with kids. Sheesh.

          • Vincent

            I am currently saving up and planning to build a modular. Which modules are so badly built then? Or is this just bs? I had my heart set on MakeNoise and Endorphines modules…

          • c0rpse

            To my knowledge, there aren’t any modules with widespread failure. Usually when someone calls a module badly built they are referring to the knobs being wobbly, which in reality is not an issue at all. I would suggest buying 1 or 2 modules at a time, used. You will inevitably end up selling some modules you try. Finding a setup that works for you can take a while.

        • lumpy

          Well, I’m an EE and have run the numbers and built modules, MIDI controllers, robots, etc.

          I’m not sure exactly how I feel. Yes, I think the iPhone markup is justified as it defined the smartphone and is a premium piece of kit. But I know what you mean about economies of scale.

          Under the hood of most euro rack modules is just a bunch of off the shelf consumer parts you can buy from Mouser. It’s electronic circuits and concepts that have been around for almost half a century. The knobs and faceplates are the most expensive part.

          I get what you’re saying but I just don’t really agree. Most eurorack stuff is not cutting edge. It’s Apple I level electronics in 2015, if that.

          • Real talk

            When you start making these 99 dollar cutting edge eurorack modules holler at your boy. Until then you’re just trolling.

          • lumpy

            Where did I say 99 dollars? I said a $400 module is made out of $10 worth of electronics.

      • Do tell me more about this $400 module with $10 in parts, because that person is a business genius.

        Unfortunately, I … don’t think you’re right about that. 😉

      • Derpatron9000

        It cost less than 1 USD to FAB your CPU, why should it cost more than 1 USD? Research, development, testing, building the FAB plant capible of mass producing the CPU, documentation, paying people who do all this, shipping…….. should I go on?

        • lumpy

          You don’t need to go on. I’m well aware of the costs behind consumer electronics, both boutique and mass produced.

          • brian crabtree

            Please don’t spread misinformation under the guise of professional authority.

            One day, when/if I have time, I’ll write up a long article describing the reality of small manufacturing over the last decade.

          • lumpy

            I don’t appreciate being told that I am spreading misinformation. I do happen to know what I’m talking about as this is my industry, too. It would be interesting to read your article, though.

          • brian crabtree

            “I said a $400 module is made out of $10 worth of electronics.”

            There are probably less than a handful of eurorack modules with a $10 BOM, and those typically substantially under $100 retail.

            For a $400 module (that we’d make) you’re off by an order of magnitude. That degree of mis-estimation qualifies as trolling.

            Also use your real name.

  • michaelbarreto

    Well I looked at this commentary that is way off the original subject?. I wanted to say that I appreciated the look into the methods and geeked out on the visuals. So often when I listened to electronics in music in my youth, I would have only a liner note to go on to map visuals to what I was hearing. In my extreme youth, I mistakenly believed that a Solina String Ensemble was a fourteen foot tall physical stringed instrument. Didn’t have internet back then, and the only book on synthesizers that I had access to was written by Roland about their Model 100.

  • michaelbarreto

    Well I looked at this commentary that is way off the original subject?. I wanted to say that I appreciated the look into the methods and geeked out on the visuals. So often when I listened to electronics in music in my youth, I would have only a liner note to go on to map visuals to what I was hearing. In my extreme youth, I mistakenly believed that a Solina String Ensemble was a fourteen foot tall physical stringed instrument. Didn’t have internet back then, and the only book on synthesizers that I had access to was written by Roland about their Model 100.

  • michaelbarreto

    Well I looked at this commentary that is way off the original subject😜. I wanted to say that I appreciated the look into the methods and geeked out on the visuals. So often when I listened to electronics in music in my youth, I would have only a liner note to go on to map visuals to what I was hearing. In my extreme youth, I mistakenly believed that a Solina String Ensemble was a fourteen foot tall physical stringed instrument. Didn’t have internet back then, and the only book on synthesizers that I had access to was written by Roland about their Model 100.