megagrid

Meganome: A Massive Super-Monome Capable of Jazzy Rhythmic and Melodic Robotic Feats

Minneapolis-based artist Patrick Flanagan is no ordinary drummer or electronic musician. His rig does everything the hard way – and the results are fantastic. With robotic drum kit mechanically playing acoustic drums, his fingers command complex feats of rhythm and melody from an oversized, custom grid controller. There are idiomatic musical possibilities unlocked by software he’s built in Max/MSP and Java. Repeat increments, of the sort found in drum machines, produce complex rhythmic figuration on multiple drums – partly because, unlike the dumber implementation on drum machines, it’s possible to play multiple repeat increments at the same time. (In other …

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Grids for Visuals: OhmRGB, Block Meet Vdmx, More Options from Livid

Livid Instruments is now best known as a “music” controller maker, but the DNA of the company comes from live visuals. Accordingly, the OhmRGB looks a bit like a visual controller – banks of faders on the left and right of a grid, crossfader, and groups of parameter controls all give you a hint that you might use this for two-channel visuals. The makers of Vdmx have a terrific, detailed tutorial on mapping OhmRGB to their popular semi-modular Mac visual software. Two Channel Video Mixer template for Livid OhmRGB Slim It’s just a test, but there’s also some wonderful mayhem …

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Bhoreal: RGB Grid as Open Source Hardware – Kit or Ready-Made, Wired or Wireless

We are Bhoreal from MID New Media Design on Vimeo. Grids are suddenly everywhere – in music control, but also in visuals and art. And they’re lighting up in RGB. But Bhoreal promises to do some things other grids aren’t. Whereas the monome is a truly beautiful, handmade and rare object, its rarity – by design – means it’s hard to get. And readily-available commercial products aren’t open source, and while they fit certain needs elegantly, they’re designed to stick to those needs rather than allow easy modification. Bhoreal is this kind of blank-slate, do-anything colored grid you can turn …

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In Drawings, A Producer Looks at Big Acts’ Live Laptop Rigs, Deadmau5 to FlyLo

In a charming set of schematic doodles, self-described hip-hop producer deejers has assembled an exquisitely-researched compendium of live laptop rigs from top music acts. In the lineup: Flying Lotus, Skrillex, Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Daft Punk – a reasonable sampling of artists playing big shows live on the US circuit. And, oh, yes, deadmau5, who despite claiming that everyone just presses play, has put together a fairly impressive controller setup with monome, Maschine, Lemur, and Pioneer EFX-1000. (Just one of those four controllers could let you assemble a track from scratch, let alone all four.)

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Stepping Through Music, Interactively: Drum Kits and Monomes Navigate Notes

Left to right, beginning to end, the same in a loop — there’s no reason music has to work this way once you’ve got a computer. But if you associate generative or algorithmic music with some sort of magical black box machine you switch on, an automaton spitting out notes while you sip tea and stroke your beard, think again. Here are two examples that use interactive structures as a way to make music more live, not less. One is the latest creation from the ingenious mind of monome creator Brian Crabtree (who, perhaps unexpectedly, seems to have redirected the …

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arc2

Reinventing the Wheel: Engineering arc2, Digital Instrument from monome Creator [Gallery, Interview]

Engineering a production instrument is a kind of study in compromise. For mass-produced musical instruments, it’s a fusion of practicality and economics, made affordable by a mass-market supply chain. What makes the monome creations special isn’t just that they look beautiful; the art isn’t aesthetic only. They are uncommonly uncompromising. They’re designed in such a way that tells a story about materials, one that weaves connections between suppliers – many of them local suppliers – and focuses the experience of the device on the interface. They have the kind of obsessive attention to detail associated with the finest acoustic musical …

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King Britt, performing in the garden. Photo:

The Bee and The Stamen: Complete Live Stream, King Britt Interview, As Nature Meets Electronic Music

For just a moment, take your mind somewhere a bit different. First, imagine the computer as part of nature, not something separate from nature. And then, put your head inside the mind of a bee. (You might not want to operate heavy machinery, just in case you start to imagine you’re seeing things through a compound eye.) That’s the journey we’re on with King Britt, the veteran producer from Philadelphia. He’s remixed everyone from Miles Davis to Tori Amos, but now, he remixes the world of the bee. And given how small we ultimately all are, perhaps that’s a worthy …

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Switched On Bees.

King Britt’s The Bee and the Stamen Premieres on CDM Next Week; Ask Questions, Watch Live Preview

KING BRITT 10:10 REHEARSAL x DATA GARDEN from King Britt on Vimeo. King Britt’s next album is one that explores a sonic future – and now it has its own future, too. At a time when music may seem disposable, this is a limited release that will literally blossom when discarded, with seed paper that you can plant. CDM is exclusively hosting the streaming debut of The Bee and the Stamen next week, which calls for a brief preview here to kick off discussion of the intersection of nature and electronic sound. (See the rehearsal vid, complete with monome, Maschine, …

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Phoebe in the studio. Photos for CDM courtesy the artist.

Listening, Behind the Scenes: Phoebe Kiddo, Traveling Through Earth and Space

The enchanting, carefully-handcrafted music of Phoebe Kiddo is yet another example of the wonders coming from under-the-radar digital artists in the production Renaissance now underway. We got to host Phoebe on our MusicMakers party last month in Berlin – full coverage of that show, with video, coming soon. Now, Phoebe tells CDM a bit about making music as a globe-trotting nomad, and how she works with monome live and in the studio. Phoebe’s music mixes taut beats and delicate, low-fidelity timbres with dense arrangements and spacey dubs. Her voice cuts dreamy melodic lines across introspective grooves that can then accelerate …

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Dueling Grids: A Duet for monome and MPC [Live Set of the Day]

Ocelot – Beyonica (Live) from Tim Shaw on Vimeo. Let’s again step back from the world of the industry to the realm of individual musicians and how they make tools make sounds. Tim Shaw’s music is a beautiful illustration of the ways in which brain and musical imagination can be connected to fingers and sound. In his new project Ocelot, Tim pairs with Jeramy Bradfield and makes a sweet, square-based duet. Tim’s grid of squares comes from the monome and Ableton Live; Jeramy turns to the Akai MPC and effects pedals. (I assume the guitar we see gets used elsewhere …

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