For some time I have been following the phenomenon that is the monome. If you don’t know the story, it’s here in its entirety. In short, the monome is a configurable grid of backlit buttons that communicates with a computer via USB. On its own the monome is charming but can’t really do much…like Robin without Batman. However, when teamed with a laptop and accompanying software, the power of the monome can be overwhelming.

By retaining no secrets about the hardware or software details of the device, monome creator, Brian Crabtree has facilitated a growing community of monome users, from software developers to live performers. The list of software applications that define the monome’s function is always growing, meaning that its grid of buttons is never tied down to a single function. While music control is its main purpose, the device can also be used to control video, display text, play games, type……the list goes on.

In my intrigue I went ahead and purchased a 40h kit which is the guts of a monome without its shell. Impatience led me to house my assembled kit in a cardboard box for protection and immediate playability. Two years later and my kit finally has a cosy wooden enclosure that takes its inspiration from the limited walnut versions offered on the monome site. A CNC router took the pain out of cutting and finishing 64 holes and a manual flatbed router allowed me to cut the cherry wood to precision.

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