monome.

… how can something that has no capability to make sound on its own be so inspiring and useful to a musician?

above: the monome64, a totally configurable input/output light/button box that works with Max/MSP, chucK, OSC (Open Sound Control) and MIDI. 

designed and built by hand by a couple in the catskills who are committed to open-source and sustainability (as well as a refreshing minimalistic aesthetic). with a really friendly and creative user community, there are loads of free applications for it that you can edit or add to. search vimeo for “monome” on to see what i mean.  

image from monome.org.

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