"Chemical Etudes" for Monome and SuperCollider

Please allow me to share a new piece I finished titled “Chemical Etudes”.

It’s a continuation of my work in which I use a Monome256 as a controller and audiovisual instrument.
I’ll premiere this piece next Saturday, June 23 at the Wow! Signal Festival in Vienna.
The software behind it is SuperCollider.

I hope you will enjoy it!



My god that is unreal!

This is exactly the kind of vague dream I have when I dream about the profound possibilities of the grid.

I’ll ask a couple obvious questions:

Do you know what the buttons will do when you press them?

What do the buttons do?

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Thank you, Andrew.
There are altogether 5 sections in this piece. How the buttons react is different in each of them but it’s clearly defined. Therefore I know what will happen when I press a button.
At the same time, the piece is based on game principles. There are specific rules how I have to react in each section. Failures to react adequately are as much part of the piece, so there is a constant contest between the player and the system.


What I love about this, apart from the outrageously interesting sounds, is looking at what you’re doing and the lights and trying to decode how that corresponds to the audio. It’s a fun little puzzle, not immediately obvious but not so mysterious as to be inscrutable.

This is really fantastic work!

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this is stunning work— i’m completely floored.

do you have a website with other works?


Thank you and thank you for your interest.
Here’s my vimeo channel with various audiovisual works: https://vimeo.com/channels/cicichannel

There’s another monome256 piece on the second page of this channel.


this is ridiculously cool. Any chance you plan on open sourcing it? Particularly interested in the sound design used here. Thanks for sharing regardless!


Wow that’s incredible really great work so unique!

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@rbxbx I don’t want to share the code. Not because I consider it a secret but rather because it would mean that I need to clean up the code, which is quite disorganized at this point. Hope you understand.

The synthesis is very simple, though. The short notes are all sine or saw waves that are folded at moving thresholds. The sustained notes are pure frequency modulation, partly with very high indices. At some points I’m applying ring modulation on the main mix.

I’m using changing harmonic grids on the buttons all based on intervals in just intonation. For example stacked pure thirds on the horizontal rows and stacked pure fifths on the vertical rows. Each lit led causes a pitch. It’s the rather big density of pitches which causes the somewhat special timbre, not so much the synthesis.


Thanks for explaining further! Your wish to not share is totally understandable :slight_smile:

I’ll have to play around and see what I can come up with.

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Very interesting.

This has me thinking about using Processing to draw graphics on a 16 x 8 window and then sending that info to the grid! I’ll try it for sure when I have time.

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