Fol Chen x monome x Machine Project present the Tetrafol

The crew at monome dropped through an email saying that there were some models of the gs64 and gs128 available to ship straight away – and whilst I’m not technically minded or making enough to be able to buy one, it did get me back on their site which I used to obsess over.

On it was a very cool little video based around a new device called Tetrafol, designed in conjunction with a group I know not much about called Fol Chen and Machine Project, who we should all be learning about on a daily basis – but more on them another time.

Priced at $100 it was finally something from monome that I could actually afford (or at least could if it wasn’t December). It’s a wooden pyramid of sorts whose inner workings pick up on movement and space, and manipulates the sound recordings based on the motion and orientation.

Evidently Fol Chen have been recording with it already, and claim to have invented something that they themselves see as a studio instrument. Whilst I totally disagree with this line of thought about it being a ‘practical instrument’, it is pretty unique, stylish and new way to mess about with samples. While being quite gimmicky I’d rather see this used live than an iPad.

They ship with Fol Chen created samples loaded in, but the real joy is going to come from uploading and tweaking sounds you’ve used previously to experiment with it properly. Check the video below for a proper outline. As with most monome projects the plans are open source so if you’re so inclined you can build or further explore the electronics yourself.

Fol Chen has joined forces with Monome and Machine Project to bring you the Tetrafol.

The Tetrafol is a hand-held tangible electronic sound toy. Circuits enclosed by a wooden tetrahedron detect orientation and motion-gestures to modify the playback of a collection of Fol Chen’s micro-compositions, allowing the user to explore sound through physical manipulation.

The battery-powered device has its own internal speaker but can additionally be hooked up to a headphone or amplifier.

The circuit and firmware are based on open-source hardware and is itself published as open-source, allowing anyone interested to learn about its deepest inner-workings.