Monome-based music installation in DC

  • I've been meaning to post news about this here, 'cause it seems relevant. I'm gonna split this post into two sections. You can read the first one if you want, but the second one is the main reason I'm posting on monome's board.


    As a commissioned art project, my band Beauty Pill recorded an album this past summer as an exhibit in a museum.

    The project is called Immersive Ideal. The public was allowed to view and listen to us at work at all times. All the discussions, experiments, moments of tension/uncertainty, and of course the moments of discovery/success that constitute the making of any album were made wholly visible and transparent to anyone who took an interest.

    It was an interesting challenge. It was scary, but sometimes it's healthy to try things that scare you (within reason, of course).

    If you're interested, you can read more about this here: (page 18)


    The reason I'm posting here on is that the project is returning as an installation, which will feature the album along with a monome-controlled photo array of the making-of. The photos will be on three screens and the program was written in Max/MSP by Stephan Moore and Kelley Bell. I'm given to understand it's simple and stylish. I haven't seen it yet. (My job is the music side.)

    This installation will be in the same place where we recorded, so there is a significant component of "meta" to the whole thing.

    The music will be presented in an installation-only surround mix. (The album will be released after the exhibit closes in conventional stereo.)

    Here are the links for more info:

    THE EXHIBIT IS FREE and Artisphere is a really well-appointed place. If you're in the DC area, stop by sometime. The exhibit runs from January 7-22.

    If you're curious about Beauty Pill's music, I recommend you download "Ann The Word" from here.


  • Also, I described the monome as "a zen koan in physical form," which is maybe a bit over-poetic or hyperbolic, but I was having a hard time describing it succinctly.

    - c

  • so so good! i wish the exhibit ran longer, but i'm looking forward to sorting through the articles here.

    spectacular work and thank you for helping get our devices seen.

  • I should check this out.
    DC is close by.
    Hope the weather cooperates.

  • Thanks for the kind words, Brian!

    The exhibit may travel to other cities after our run at Artisphere. There seems to be some interest in this. Have to figure out how to make it make economic sense. We'll see.

    Some photos from the installation.


  • Interview with the Washington Post today. Talked about the monome's presence and role in the installation.

    Will post a link to the article when it's published.


  • might swing thru

  • Article which describes the monome a little bit.

    Also talks about the scientific origin of the title(!), which showed that writer did his research!

    I will continue to post monome-related pieces here as they appear.

    - c

  • Article about the process.


  • The Washington Post gives the exhibit "Editor's Pick" status.


  • fantastic to see all of the coverage, wish i could make it down in time.

  • @raja Thanks for the kind words about "Ann The Word." That song changed my life.


    People are finding it a sensual and inviting way to interface with photos. But it is little kids who REALLY get into it.

    It is very gratifying to watch.

    The exhibit will likely travel to other cities after its run at Artisphere.

    NPR "All Things Considered" is doing an extensive feature on the band and the project, which will air when the record comes out. I will make sure to link to that when it's available.


  • "Don¬ít be shy. Sit down at the table in the middle of the dark room. Look at the brass lamp with the red light. Press the small, plastic buttons on the top of the control box..."



  • Another interview. (More about the origin of the songs than the monome.)



    NPR podcast on the project with a new song called "Afrikaner Barista." This song has already been called "a six minute Coltranean mindfuck" --- --- which suits me fine.


    p.s. All Things Considered, another NPR program, is doing another feature on the project separate from this piece. I will publish that here when it becomes available.

  • This is the soundcloud to "Afrikaner Barista."

    Horn arrangement is a collaboration with the great west coast trumpeter and sound-experimenter, Chris Kallmyer.

    (According to this blog post , Chris and Brian Crabtree are friends, which I did not know. Which is cool! Small world!)

    Chris is exactly like Don Cherry if Don Cherry was a young, charming white kid who smiled a lot. And was living. So... not really like Don Cherry at all. But you get the idea.


  • Encouraging response!!/mattlemay/status/160083046278766592!/avgnotavg/status/160472025100595201!/morehumans/status/160090157700222979!/davelikestapes/status/160133070916300800!/realtrailofdead/status/160414758439354369!/miaverko/status/160070952879783936!/wheelpoint/status/160384304290082816!/jody_beth/status/160129013724086273!/willeastman/status/160539674929135616!/the_autoclave/status/160375361580961793!/mariageblanc/status/160359275917623296!/oneLOUDERash/status/160254216626126848!/digitallofi/status/160235408456826880!/natlyon/status/160150950399582210!/digitallofi/status/160239217404952577!/gallo_extreme/status/160038941649678337!/twwalsh/status/160052432926289920!/twwalsh/status/160140850599428096!/twwalsh/status/160140960481816576!/don_k_gunn/status/160127122852159489!/ColonelKSpeaks/status/160124256938762240!/Hugo_Tichborne/status/160825480675725312!/upchurchny/status/160827705242296320!/BrontoScorpio/status/160122389227773952!/AranEpochal/status/160078969868259328!/Waltimedes/status/160123527704494080!/americanspierit/status/160119761445986304!/Bedford_Falls/status/160072362543431680!/americanspierit/status/160120037582184448!/dontgetbored/status/160055355466977280!/hebakadryy/status/160049673036513280!/bob_ham/status/160402973078462464!/ejrc/status/160044628576448512!/AndyTrebing/status/160066573900591104!/LMagMusic/status/160044894994432002!/heykatebrown/status/160051228951318528!/chrissink/status/160774977220657153!/BabyStew/status/160035328139337729!/imLeor/status/160039066241470464!/pararatheband/status/160028910304763905!/bob_ham/status/160402821185941506!/natoism/status/160527195490631680!/jesshopp/status/161270615544840192!/calamateur/status/161901429496348673!/twwalsh/status/162244330763988992!/digitallofi/status/160767693283270656

  • We are now looking for a way to have the installation travel to galleries in other cities.

    Beginning meetings about that now.

    I will post news here as soon as there is any.


  • David Byrne and Beauty Pill.

    I don't know about you, but I'm thinkin' tour.

    He would open for us, of course.

    - c

  • The album from this project is released in a couple of weeks.

    There is a special compact disc design as well as coke-bottle clear double vinyl.

    It's good.

    - c

  • Me, discussing our love affair with the monome.


  • My bandmate Jean in Beauty Pill practice.

  • chad! i didn't realize you knew our friend chris kallmayer. just saw him in SF a few weeks ago.

    very much looking forward to the release.

  • I love Chris so much! Brilliant guy. He arranged the horn quartet in the song "Afrikaner Barista." I wish he was a full-time member of our band!

  • Ha! I know Chris as well!
    (via Walker Art Center in Minneapolis)
    small this country.