Finally taking the plunge

Today was the day, I guess. I picked up my first monome gear: a white whale (thanks @doublecoolbossman!) and a grid (on Reverb, the version with the accelerometer).

This was a long-time coming. I joined lines a couple years ago and met fellow Chicagoan, @dan_derks. I wasn’t sure where I was going with my music practice, but knew then I needed to expand beyond guitar and effects pedals.

I remember several years ago, I saw a video of Atticus Ross (of NIN) working in the studio, and he was using this super minimalist aluminum slab with white buttons to sequence a wall of modular synths. I searched the interwebs and landed on monome. From there, I found videos of studies and lessons about using the various Eurorack monome gear — must have been ISMS, aleph, maybe white whale, meadowphysics…

Anyway, I remember watching the white whale lessons at some point in the last few years and having my mind blown… you hold this grid button, and you turn this knob, and it records where you turn the knob. (I’d later learn than Elektron has a similar concept they call Parameter Locks, and Ableton Push can facilitate a similar workflow.) This way of building a composition just clicks with my brain.

What ultimately drew me to pick monome as an instrument investment is the simplicity of the product design coupled with this wonderful community. I’ve tried computer-based gear like Push and Maschine, and I’ve tried DAW plugins and all that. I want to do more with sound than my guitar and effects pedals will enable, but I don’t want to be forced into the file system and project structure of other tools. The support I’ve seen folks on here provide each other is really remarkable. Even with all the technology involved in platforms like crow, norns, and teletype, I feel like this community provides so much to one another, that if we dream it up, we can make it happen.

At any rate, I just wanted to say hi and share my story.


Welcome. It’s a brilliant community you’ve joined. There is lots to learn but this place is ripe with guiding lights.


Any chance you still know where that video is??? I’d love to see it.

As for expanding your sound and getting in with Monome, welcome! I have returned to music making 3 months ago after a 10 year hiatus. The Norns brought me in, the same way the grid did 10 years ago.

It’s so much fun. You’re gonna have a blast. If there’s anything I can suggest here on Lines is just ask questions. Ask TONS OF QUESTIONS! This is really complex and difficult stuff, with almost NO guard rails. It’s so inspiring how open it all feels, how every mistake can be your next masterpiece. But hot darn if it doesn’t take a lot of work to understand ones own style within this format.

Best of luck, have fun and welcom!


Thanks! I dug up the video. It was a piece Moog did promoting his use of the System 55 on the score he and his brother did for the documentary Almost Holy.

Shots of them jamming start around 4:00 in, with the grid making an appearance around 4:30.