Mateo Mena is an “Electronic Luthier” whose work includes modular electronics, bioluminescent sound and light patterns and artisan sequences.
We begin with a range of transparent electronic cubes which can be connected together to generate, modify and control electronic sounds. Within the Generators category you’ve got simple waveform oscillators and noise sources, for Modifiers you have filters, distortion EQ and other effects and for Controllers you have envelopes and sequencers. They can snap together in different ways giving you all sorts of routing possibilities.
The naked and transparent nature of the electronics and their lighting makes for a very engaging desktop instrument. They are transparent for a reason – all the electronics inside is done on a breadboard and so you can get your hands dirty and modify the circuits in any way you choose by simply pulling components out and putting in new ones.
His Instagram Reels contain animations that use art from various pre-20th century sources and are definitely intriguing.
This beautiful looking instrument is inspired by the Ctenophora phylum, marine organisms that are capable of generating their own light. Medusa generates both like and sound sequences with a touch interface and is built in walnut, olive and acacia woods with brass inlays.
This is an interpretation of an ancient French instrument. A Serinette was an obscure mechanical instrument from the 18th century that contained a cylinder with metal inlays and coded melodies that turn via a crank. Sounds a lot like a music box. Mateo has created a lovely small wooden box in the style of a Serinette that lets you create a sequence of notes where you can control the speed, tone and envelope.
If any of Mateo’s projects or instruments interest you then your best bet is to get in touch via Instagram where he has Serinette’s for sale for €850 and maybe persuaded into building other things for you.