The Monome is small and elegant, but there’s something to be said for traditional instrumental controllers like a keyboard. So why not combine them? David Phipps of the electronic jam band Sound Tribe Sector 9 did just that, and sends CDM this photo of the project in process. He’s off on a five week tour starting Friday, so it’ll be on hold for a bit, but even not-quite-done I had to share it. David writes:

i hope to bring ‘The Peaceblaster’ on tour in the fall. note the unashamed reference to our album available July 8th:)
i picked up a 5-octave fatar keybed and MKE electronics from doepfer via analog haven.  he carries 2-5 octave bare keybeds with simple channel/octave controls, all fatar (the highest quality italian-made keybeds you can get…and doepfer is the ONLY place you can order a
keybed from fatar without being a manufacturer). the 8 knobs and faders are the doepfer PKE, a super simple plug and play solution that could have been a midibox or arduino. add a edirol midi>usb cable, usb hub, and multi-voltage power supply and i’ve got one power plug, one usb
port, and midi out to drive hardware synths.
i’ve left room in the enclosure for a mac mini (or small form factor pc or linux box)…but that’ll be a stretch of my willpower to get it done.

I’d call it a keynome. (For the record, the product name monome rhymes with Ma Gnome, not Ma No May or ole.)

About that new album: it’s available independently through the artists. Their freebie add-ons are really interesting. The CD pre-order includes a coupon to watch a rehearsal online. But the Fan Pack is even better: aside from the CD, which includes fully-recycled packaging, it adds a 1GB STS9-designed flash drive with the digital album, video from DemocracyNow!, photos, screensavers, and the like, an autographed picture of the band, a handmade doll, a download coupon for a live show, a print with a box of crayons to color in your own design, a poster, a 7" vinyl, and other extras. US$99.99. Even if you’re not an STS9 fan, there are some good ideas for artists looking to make music purchases tangible again — especially if they have a fanbase this loyal. See their merch site for all the goods.

I especially like the crayons.


Sound Tribe Sector 9 vs. Monome: Video, 8by16

Building a Custom Monome Controller, with STS9’s David Phipps