I recently visited Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain at their loft in Philadelphia. Located within earshot of the rattling El train, their home also doubles as the laboratory for their unique digital creation, the Monome. Part looping station, part scientific gadget, the Monome is a simple white square filled with several rows of buttons that can be programmed for a myriad of sounds, samples and functions. “People have used it as a drum machine, sequencer, as an egg timer…” said Crabtree. The open-source software can be used and altered by anyone.
Crabtree and Cain assemble most of the Monomes at their loft, a daunting process that involves countless hours of wiring and soldering. A new Monome, the 256, was about to be released to the public when we visited. Crabtree assembled one for us on the spot. Click the video below to watch several performances and some of the other creations Crabtree and Cain cooked up including silk-screened shipping boxes, felt electronics, and a mud oven for cooking homemade pizza!