At the risk of becoming Create Digital Monomes, here are two things that make me very happy.

For anyone who thinks it’s too hard to get hold of a genuine monome, or any of those of you who got the kit and haven’t built a proper case for it, this is for you. FYXDESIGN has posted a terrific tutorial enclosing the monome 40h kit (8×8 grid) inside a custom case made from LEGO bricks. The project comes out of a group at New York University’s ITP digital tech school who saved money, beat the monome’s scarcity, and made lots of friends by group ordering a bunch of kits and then assembling them together as a group. The magic here comes courtesy of some smart design sense and a boon to prototypers everywhere, the LEGO Digital Designer software, free for Windows and Macs.

Xiaoyang Feng’s design work is in general worth checking out; if someone with his experience and skill is using LEGOs, you’ll want to take note.

Even if you’ve got a project that’s not a monome, this is clearly a fantastic way to whip up an enclosure in a hurry – and that “prototype” might be all you need. Bless you, LEGO!

With the step-by-step tutorial, this is child’s play, even for someone as tragically un-handy as me.

Build Monome LEGO Case Tutorial

In other news, here’s a lovely live video shot by duo elle p & iftah in, apparently, a bathroom (no reverb needed)! It’s a reminder that, even without velocity control, an array of buttons really can make a musical instrument. (In fact, making performance easier is part of the grand tradition of instrument design – see frets, the Autoharp, the piano, and so on.) In an age of overproduced music (sorry, Glee), it’s lovely to see the Internets striking back with live performance, warts and all, as a way of conveying authenticity and personality. Elle has in her lap another interesting DIY creation that’s not a monome. The duo describe it as a “pixiphone,” a “general purpose d.i.y grid controller based on an old siemens operator interfaced with arduino.” I’ll have to get more documentation on that.

Embedding is acting a wee bit screwy for me today, possibly on Vimeo’s end, but you can always go straight to the video.

candy for a 40h and a pixiphone from lp&i on Vimeo.