Reconstructing The Eraser with the monome from makingthenoise on Vimeo.

Via Monome virtuoso Matthew Davidson (aka Stretta, the man who has built a lot of the patches that give the Monome its unique personality), here’s a video that really demonstrates how the Monome turns a set of buttons into a way of arranging and performing music. Adam, aka makingthenoise, covers Tom Yorke’s “The Eraser” using a Monome 40h, Ableton Live, and the SevenUp Live software setup.

(You may remember makingthenoise from the East Coast Monome Jam, a Princeton convergence of Monomes and the musicians who love them.)

The killer ingredient here is Adam’s SevenUpLive, a Java application that combines 8 different Monome apps in one and integrates more tightly with Ableton Live.


On the software page, you’ll find a full file pack to recreate The Eraser as in the video.

It’s AES this week in California; I won’t be there, because I have a family engagement. But what I find interesting is that this homespun way of controlling music is very different from the typical studio/mixer paradigm you’re likely to see at a trade show. It may be a better model of the actual music.

Monome on CDM

  • Man, that's cool!
    But far from intuitive.

    How in the hell are you supposed to remember what everything does?

    From the look of it, some of the buttons are assigned essentially as "template selectors", once one is selected, all the rest of the buttons do completely different things. Not only that you get combinations of buttons changing the template too. And none of the buttons are marked, and are visually indistinguishable from the others apart from their grid position!

    Holy user interface hell!

    I know people do it all the time … but being on stage with something that has an interface as ambiguous as that would freak me the hell out. It'd be so easy to lose your way with it … in front of people!

  • @plurgid: I hear you; I think in this case they're not so worried about that because Monome users already know each of these layouts. What this does is put them together. So it's very intimidating if you haven't used them before, less so if you have. If you were just getting started with Monome, you'd probably take it one template at a time … just like practicing an instrument.

  • 'cept say … holding down an Em chord on my guitar doesn't change the guitar's tuning, it's tone or turn it into a step sequencer.

    Though … heh … that would be kinda cool.

    I think I'm beginning to see what the monome-heads are digging on so deeply.

  • I really like the concept of using buttons to trigger different templates. This allows one small controller to control a huge amount of features that would otherwise take an ungodly large and expensive controller or a mouse. I used this in a PD looping patch i've been working on to allow a Oxygen-style, 2 octave, 8 knob keyboard to control all functions of the software.

  • dead_red_eyes

    I've got to agree with plurgid. That shit looks FAR from being intuitive. Yikes.

  • woohhooo. not too shabby.

  • ive never known what to say to people that marvel at the complexity of monome interfaces. Like any instrument, practice is critical, but it's fairly easy to clump and memorize the layout. I dont think its any harder than memorizing the layout of a guitar, or a knobstudded xone mixer. Remember, most videos focus on the controller end, there is often an onscreen gui for the monome application. Having that as a reference while learning the layout is helpful…

  • This is awesome! It also makes me wonder how thom yorkes tracks was made.

  • Sebastien Orban

    The more interesting thing with those kind of interface is that you can (and got to) invent your way of playing music.
    I like this idea–but well, like most people I've learn to follow fixe scheme, so the day when I could do this, I think I will be fucking lost !

  • The interface of this controller is just incredible. it's simple and nice. doe sevenUp work with the arduinomeserial??? Do all the monome apps also work with the arduinome???

    Greets Hundertmark