tkrworksmixer

New Open Grid Gear: DJ Mixer Meets monome Grid in MIDI + OSC Controller

It had to happen — button triggering, as popularized by the monome, here meets a conventional two-channel DJ mixer. But the layout I must say is quite spare and lovely, the work of the Japanese-based PICnome project. Furthermore, it’s Open Source Hardware, covered as I have recommended by a ShareAlike Creative Commons license (with no commercial restrictions) and GPL v3. (The creator prefers the term “Free Hardware,” which I love theoretically but have avoided for fear of people demanding we mail them MeeBlips by sending us a self-addressed, stamped box.) With clean, subtle markings and a nicely-composed layout, it’s hardware …

READ MORE →

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 Controllerism.com 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 …

READ MORE →
ohmrgb_1

It Comes in Colors: An RGB Grid Controller from Livid, RGB Grid Roundup

Lovers of the grid for music control now get to reenact the scene in MGM’s The Wizard of Oz, stepping out of the world of black and white into one of color. The OhmRGB, the latest controller from Austin, Texas-based controller and custom hardware shop Livid Instruments, adds multicolor LEDs behind its array of controls. We’ve already seen red, green, and yellow add color feedback on Novation’s Launchpad (and of course the APC line from Akai). The Livid piece bests Novation’s three colors with seven possibilities. For those who prefer their grids to come with knobs, faders, and crossfader, the …

READ MORE →

In a Free Album, Community-Shared monome Samples Shine (Video and WINE Tips)

From the intrepid grid-playing monome producers comes a whole bundle of goodness: a free album, and along with it, a nice video that illustrates what’s happening on some of the tracks, some reflections on how 15-second samples can bind together a community of music makers, and even, as a bonus, some tips on running Windows software in Linux under WINE. (Whew!) Via Joshua Saddler, who illustrates his music creation techniques in the video at top, we learn of the monome Community Remix Project album, available as a free download via Bandcamp. (Full track lineup embedded below.) MCRPv10: MCRP​-​RP, by monome …

READ MORE →

A Tranquil, Twinkling Set of Synthesized Cycles, Made for arc’s Wheels

We looked at the arc controller, and interviewed creator Brian Crabtree, early this year. In a way, the design is as much conceptual, kinetic sculpture attached to a computer as it is music hardware. It’s not for everyone, but it does inspire some sound designers and composers whose work I love, giving it a secondary advantage – without owning one, I can still see people doing interesting things with it and find musical discoveries in their work. stretta in his latest video turns the controller into synthesized sounds that reference in the title of the piece the Dharma Wheels, the …

READ MORE →
monome128branches

On arcs and monomes, a Loyal Community Makes Music Together

Grids and roots – a close look at the monome 128. Photo (CC-BY) bm.iphone. They’re not great in number – only a handful of producers have monome hardware, scattered across the globe. And their obsession is unique, the boutique grid (and now encoder) creations of Brian Crabtree and partner Kelli Cain. But in the latest signs of how committed this community of artists is to using these hardware interfaces for DIY software and to doing it with one another, the monome community has been busy. They have a new compilation, the first experiments (via monome maestro stretta) with the new …

READ MORE →
hmusic1

Visions of Bleeps and Beats: Images and Video from Handmade Music

“Handmade music” has now been taken up by groups in cities around the world, without any central organization. It’s an open celebration of experimentation in music making and sound. Here, we get a look at the event series we’ve been running here in New York that helped spawn those others. Part of what I like about playing live is that it is unpredictable. We get to get together and try things, play wildly divergent styles of music, and explore ideas for what to play, all with a friendly group of people. So, here – thanks to the lovely videography of …

READ MORE →

Music, Like Clockwork: Modular Music Boxes with Rotating Wheels, Inspired by monome

Working with music in software means thinking a bit like a music box maker, using sequences to create note and rhythm machines. Nick Rothwell sends a project in which he literally engages the mechanical music box, with rotating electro-magnetic discs and a set of digital devices that recall their 19th-century predecessors. The designs are modular, interconnecting with one another into a little music box ensemble. And in another sign of the influence of the design of the monome, they explicitly nod to that hardware and its community as an aesthetic cue. (I have to admit, though, I’m more envious of …

READ MORE →
galapagoose

Grids, Chips, and Blips: Handmade Music NYC, Saturday 2/5 Lab + Party, Video Samples + Listening

Galapagoose plays a Brooklyn rooftop at the monome community tour in the fall. Now he’s back to celebrate the release of new software, and meets up with artists from across the digital music-making spectrum. Handmade Music is back on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with an epic lineup spanning digital synths to monomes to interactive installations to chip music. It’s a bit like stepping into the music tech world described on the Web. (For the vast majority of you outside NYC, hoping to have good documentation of recent events edited and available shortly.) We’re moving to Saturday night and …

READ MORE →
mlrv-screen-1

Hypersampling, Whatever Your Grid: Free mlrv2 Instrument, to monome and Beyond

Owing to a tradition that goes back to the first samplers and hip-hop pioneers, sampling and digital performance have become a kind of instrumental technique. You might play well, you might play poorly, but even working with samples, you can actually play. You can look at the simple design of the monome as the hardware embodiment of digital, a reflection of an array of pixels. You can see it as an extension of Roger Linn’s MPC and other drum machine concepts. It’s probably both those things. But since the monome itself makes no sound, it’s been software that has made …

READ MORE →