Watch the fusion of analog and digital in monome teletype videos

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 …


This Teletype Eurorack from monome is the Nerdiest Module Ever

Yo dawg I heard you like teletypes so I put a teletype in your module in your Eurorack so you can type while you teletype while you patch while you monome. monome’s Brian Crabtree has an exceptional way of finding the essence in musical computation. The original monome grid you can think of as a reduction of the very spirit of a display – in 8 by 8 pixels. His arc encoders did the same, but with lit wheels. aleph was a kind of computer; more recent modules brought inventive compositional ideas to that format. And now, he’s put a …


USB is the new CV: monome meadowphysics as Modular, in New Video

meadowphysics possibilities from tehn on Vimeo. Here’s a lovely new monome demo, demonstrating their meadowphysics module interfacing between Eurorack hardware (that’s the stuff with the cables and knobs and things) and monome (that’s the stuff with the light-up grid). Call your family and random strangers and tell them that today you’re really stoked about “rhizomatic cascading counters,” which is what this is. (In more technical terms, let’s go with “chimey note-y thing.”) I’ve heard people who don’t like computers much complain that USB is some sort of source of planned obsolescence. On the contrary, with serial and standard class-compliant implementations …


white whale Makes your monome Into an Amazing Modular Step Sequencer

It seems everyone is getting in on modular gear these days, thanks to the Eurorack format. But many of these modules are variations on a theme – new models of old classic modules, existing synthesis components and filters that have just been reborn as a module. monome white whale, shipping this month, is something different. Connect a monome grid controller to a modular, and suddenly that array of light-up buttons becomes a probabilistic sequencer. It’s live performance oriented in a way too few modules are. The results are surprising and lovely. The solution isn’t cheap – you need a monome …


Beautiful New Music from tehn, the Maker of the monome [Interview]

Brian Crabtree, alongside partner Kelli Cain, nicely exemplifies a lot of this site’s raison d’ĂȘtre over the the past ten years. Artmaker and toolmaker are indistinct roles; they’re both flipsides of the act of making. The monome, the invention for which Brian is best known, is at first blush nothing more than a box of buttons. It’s even lifeless until connected to a computer. But in its design is a statement that draws a thread from the design of tools to the design of music. Ideas about compositional technique are embodied in the software; notions of aesthetics are evident in …


Watch the Wonders of Grids, as monome Makers Defend Minimal Design

As electronic musical instruments have evolved, it’s been surprisingly easy to point to specific designs that lead others. Creators do often reach the same cluster of ideas at about the same time. But the specifics of how those ideas catch on have very often coalesced around one iconic instrument. Bill Hemsath’s layout, with Bob Moog, for the Minimoog became the standard for monosynth keyboards with knobs. Roger Linn’s design for velocity-sensitive pads, and eventually the MPC 4×4 grid, became the standard for drum machines. And Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain I think deserve credit for making the 8×8 grid the …


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 …


In Videos, a Battle of Controllers and Live Electronic Performance

In a competitive show of virtuosity, artists at an event in San Francisco over the summer battled to show that live electronic and laptop performance can be physical. It’s dance music that makes the artist sweat, and not just the audience. Hosted by the new blog with San Francisco’s LoveTech and Slayer’s Club communities, the West Coast Championship Controller battle saw some fierce competition from some top names in live laptop music. The events itself was back on June 25, but this week, full video documentation has become available, so those of us who couldn’t be there can get …


Music from Numbers: An Eclectic, Free (CC) Compilation of Numbers Station-Inspired Tracks

Photo (CC-BY) Chris M, of a Very Large Array. Number stations, making their appearance in the post-war radio landscape, were shortwave radio stations of streams of symbols, mysterious to their listeners and apparently code. Here, the idea of lost and indecipherable broadcasts inspires a wonderfully-varied collection of reflective artists, in a free, Creative-Commons licensed compilation by PublicSpaces Lab. That Barcelona-based netlabel has been reliably curating some of the smartest, most forward-thinking music collections around. This time, the artists are impressive not only in their output but in their range of backgrounds and extra-musical sources of inspiration. [PS025] Various Artists – …


Listen: Monome-Made Music, from tehn to Daedelus

makingthenoise (mtn); photo by Joshua Schnable. It’s actually paradoxical to talk about music “made” on the monome. The monome, the open controller, is after all, a grid of buttons. It has no sound of its own. But as such, perhaps its design as a blank canvas – without any indication of how a single button may function, without a screenprinted logo or name – that allows computer musicians to project upon it whatever they wish. The monome, more than any other object designed since the emergence of computer performance, is emblematic of what digital music can be. It’s an empty …